View Full Version : Refresher on WPBA Announcement
10-11-2002, 06:20 PM
WPBA ANNOUNCES CHANGE IN BOARD OF DIRECTORS
February 8, 2002 (Charlotte, NC) &#8212; The Women's Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) announced today that the WPBA Board of Directors, in a unanimous vote, dismissed Dr. Diana Sorrentino with cause from the WPBA Board of Directors and has relieved her of all duties, under the WPBA bylaws Article V, Section 7.
Article V, Section 7 of the WPBA bylaws states &#8211; "Any one or more members of the Association may be removed with or without cause, at any time, by the vote of 2/3 of the members of the board of directors present and voting at that meeting called for that purpose."
"This has been an unpleasant process for the entire board but we are committed to furthering the goals and objectives of the WPBA," said Jan McWorter, WPBA President. "We would like to thank Dr. Sorrentino for her service and wish her well in her future endeavors. We are also pleased to announce that the new Secretary of the WPBA Board of Directors is Ms. Candi Rego. Candi has worked well serving in the capacity of Regional Tour Program Director and we are confident she will be excellent in her new executive position. The Board is currently in discussion on filling the open Board position and plans to do so immediately."
I heard a different side of this story from a WPBA player last night and in the short conversation we had i was convinced that they are in the right, and With what TomC just posted makes me really belive it.
How ever i dont know Doc.Ds story so i should just stay shut and hope they work it out, but i think Doc.D is not gonna win this and the WPBA will come out looking good also they will have a new Format thats sounds really fair to all the players.
I think you are missing two very critical points:
1. There were three communications from the BOD. Two of them were displayed at BD and the one Tom showed was the initial press release. There was a second unsigned one received after the first one. The third was a letter sent to WPBA members, signed by 4 BOD members and made public by one of the Association members. That letter contained particularly scathing accusations as well as some nasty and mean spirited opinions that are only opinions and are not verifiable facts.
2. The bylaws of the WPBA contain no mechanism for the BOD to remove any of the elected members of the BOD. The bylaw that was cited is clearly for the purpose of allowing the BOD to remove any member of the Woman's Professional Billiards ASSOCIATION from that "Association". Thus, if you are considered to be sharking excessively at tournaments (a la Jean B.) they might vote to remove you. If you disrespect the Association (a la the Pearl and the UPA) they can remove you. Blatant gambling at an event might get you removed and they don't even have to reveal or state that they have cause. This does not apply to the removal of Board members from the Board who I believe don't even have to be members of the "Association". The fact that they capitalize the word "Association" is legal proof that the bylaw referrs to the members of the WPBA in general and not the BOD.
As far as I know Dr. D. is still in the "Association" and so she was never removed per the particular bylaw that was cited. Even if they did remove her from the "Association" they cannot legally remove an elected member of the BOD from the Board. Otherwise any member of the Board could get together with a few others, throw the president out and take over. Can you imagine Dick Cheney trying that?
Ken~~I am not a lawyer; I just play one in court.
10-12-2002, 12:48 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Ken:</font><hr> I think you are missing two very critical points:
1. There were three communications from the BOD. Two of them were displayed at BD and the one Tom showed was the initial press release. There was a second unsigned one received after the first one. The third was a letter sent to WPBA members, signed by 4 BOD members and made public by one of the Association members. That letter contained particularly scathing accusations as well as some nasty and mean spirited opinions that are only opinions and are not verifiable facts.<hr></blockquote>
<font color=blue>Disclaimer: I culled this from azbilliards forum....</font color=blue>
This was posted by an Anonymous WPBA member.
"Hold on to your britches folks. Got a letter in the mail yesterday from the WPBA Board of Directors, signed by Jan McWorter, Pres, Kelly Oyama, VP, Candi Rego, Sec (or should I say our NEW Secretary), and Monica Webb, At large.
BTW, a friend of mine played in a tournament this weekend with Dr. D. and she told me that as of today Dr. D. still hasn't received an explanation from the Board.
Here's the first 2 paragraphs which states the official reason. (Please excuse any typos as I will probably stop to occasionally puke.)"
"I'm writing to inform you of the dismissal of Dr. Diana Sorrentino "with cause" from the WPBA Board of Directors."
(now before I continue...can you notice that already there is a discrepancy here? It states "I" am writing to inform you. Yet it is signed by 5 board members. I guess someone, maybe our beloved Pres. is taking great joy in this?)"
"After gathering significant documentation, the WPBA Board has concluded that Dr. Sorrentino has shown an unwillingness to respect the WPBA organization, its management structure and it's operating procedures, and has been consistently disrespectful of and confrontational with her fellow board members. Through her persistent disregard for communication protocols of the WPBA, she managed to intercept and redirect information flows to and from the WPBA, and established methods by which business communications could take place behind the Board's back. By doing so, she created confusion for our sponsors, our members, and many others. When confronted, Diana was deceitful in her response and her further actions evidenced an unwillingness to reform. Her performance as Secretary has also been greatly disappointing."
10-12-2002, 01:47 PM
It would be nice to see what the lawsuit documentation states.. it is available.. someone needs to get a copy.. maybe one of our CCBers in NY can request a copy and let us kwow..
It sure would end a lot of this stupid speculation from un-qualified lawyer wannabees.
Usually you have to go to the court and pay in cash for each page you want copied. There has been a lot of useless speculation but there is also a lot that can be said from what we now have:
1. Dr. D listed her membership on the WPBA Board as an accomplishment at her professional website.
2. The Board has no right to remove an elected member of the Board (the cited bylaw does not give them that right).
3. The Board published in writing the claim that they had removed her from the Board which they cannot legally do and is therefore incorrect.
4. They have damaged her professional reputation by committing a tort against her (defamation).
5. She need not prove actual damages since the law can find that her good reputation is essential to her ability to make a living and that the illegal public "dismissal" has diminished that ability.
This is all without even getting into what she did or did not do and whether or not they had good reason to be dissatisfied with her work as secretary. That's an entirely separate issue and could be addressed in an additional count of libel.
The Board's proper course of action was to shift her secretarial duties to someone else and permit her to serve the rest of her term only voting and participating in discussions. They need not take note of any of her ideas and her one vote couldn't hurt them. Instead, they have published in writing that she was disrespectful and that she lied. They will have to prove that with more than just their own sworn statements. The burden in on the Board, not Dr. D. who has her evidence in print.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Tom_In_Cincy:</font><hr> Ken,
It would be nice to see what the lawsuit documentation states.. it is available.. someone needs to get a copy.. maybe one of our CCBers in NY can request a copy and let us kwow..
It sure would end a lot of this stupid speculation from un-qualified lawyer wannabees. <hr></blockquote>
The press release on the MN Billiards website has a telephone number and contact person for more information. I for one will call for whatever is available.
Saddened & Upset
I may not win any admirers with my post, but every now and then someone has to play devil's advocate. Quite frankly, I don't see why this entire controversy keeps popping up when it clearly is between Dr. Sorrentino and the WPBA. Only those involved know all the facts and the truth, whatever it may be, is going to be somewhere in the middle of the stories presented by each side.
With all due respect, Ken, I think you may be a bit off-base with your #4 statement: "They have damaged her professional reputation by committing a tort against her (defamation)." I fail to see how her dismissal from the BOD has anything at all to do with her professional reputation as a business consultant. If the BOD had stated, "We don't think Diana Sorrentino is a good consultant because of her actions as a BOD member," THEN a defamation issue might arise. Also, depending on the state laws, yes, she would have to prove that any statements made by the BOD about her have indeed hurt her ability to make a living in her chosen profession. It's all fine and well that she listed being a WPBA board member on her professional website, but it hardly counts as a bullet on her curriculum vitae.
Also, given that each state has its' own employment laws (assuming that employment law applies in this case), it is quite possible this entire situation falls into the "at will" category. By "at will" I mean that in a lot of states an employer can fire an employee for any reason whatsoever and it is perfectly legal. Your boss can fire you for wearing a shirt s/he doesn't like and you have no legal recourse whatsoever unless you have some sort of employment contract with that person or company. The WPBA might very well be within their legal rights to dismiss Dr. Sorrentino for the smallest reason, real or imagined.
I am pointing out "for instance" things, not trying to get into a heated debate of the WPBA/Sorrentino situation. Personally I don't see what either side has to gain by not reaching some sort of amicable resolution that doesn't involve press releases, lawyers and debates on the CCB. As my mother always said, even if you are getting run out of town, smile and everyone will think you're leading a parade.
RedH <~~~~ gonna sit back now and wait to thrashed for this post.
You are quite correct in questioning whether of not there is an actionable defamation involved in this matter. I simply pointed out that she has listed her membership on the Board at a website that is used for professional purposes. The Board has published the claim that they have removed her for cause, Whether this is likely to result in any harm to her reputation is something that a jury can consider.
As far as her having to prove damages, you apparently differ with the opinion of the Associate Dean of the Yale University Law School. Although what I said about proving damages may appear to be my "opinion" it is, in fact, a sentence virtually quoted directly from his book. They have called her a liar and the argument can be made that this would damage her reputation. She depends on her reputation in her business.
It's still up to a jury to determine if her reputation has been seriously harmed. This is no slam dunk for either side.
Dr. D will do well if she gets a finding that the BOD acted illegally, has her position restored, receives $1.00 in damages and does not get hit with a $20,000 penalty for filing a frivolous lawsuit.
10-13-2002, 09:00 AM
Post deleted by bluewolf
The opinion you got from your brother, the attorney, is worth exactly what you paid for it. I suggest you pay him his hourly rate and have him research the matter a bit further or do it yourself. It is not rocket science.
1. He is quite correct that it is necessary to prove what was said. I hope we can agree that the BOD has said what we have been shown in their communications to BD and maybe even in that letter to their members.
2. It is indeed very useful to prove that the statements made are untrue. Like I said, this is not rocket science.
3. Now this is what your brother should have spent 10 minutes looking up. Malicious intent need be proven only if the statements made are actually TRUE but they are being spread with the intent to harm one's reputation.
As I stated earlier, it is not necessary for a professional person whose reputation is essential to her ability to make a living to prove actual damages.
The opinions stated here are not those of the author of this post. They are taken directly from the writings of the Associate Dean of the Yale University Law School. I sincerely hope that if you have an opposing opinion you quote a source that is better versed in this area of the law than your brother, the attorney. And please, don't bother to tell me what you think. If you have real FACTS that will disprove what I have said I would be interested in hearing them.
Having said that, when you get in front of a judge it all goes out the window. The fact is, Dr. D has very little to win, if anything, and a lot more to lose. I wish there was some real way to gamble on this. I would give five to one on the money that she will drop the case or it will be thrown out.
Libel is a pretty complicated concept. Below is more than you ever wanted to know about the terms used in the courts and info about libel laws and defenses when charged with libel. It is taken from a University of Houston Media Department website.
ACTUAL MALICE is what plaintiffs in the public eye have to prove in order to win a libel case. Actual malice is the act of publishing or broadcasting statements with prior knowledge of the inaccuracy of the statement or a reckless disregard for the truth.
A CHILLING EFFECT refers to a situation where speech is stifled or limited by an individual's or group's fear of punishment. For example, the threat of an expensive legal suit might prompt self-censorship and have a chilling effect on free speech. For more details, see CHILLING THE INTERNET ? Thomas Hazlett and David Sosa. March 19, 1997. http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-270.html.
DEFAMATION is the result of an attack on the reputation of a person or organization; it includes attacks on a person's honesty, integrity, or virtue which result in public contempt, ridicule, or financial injury.
FAIR COMMENT: this common law defense guarantees the freedom of the press to express statements on matters of public interest, as long as the statements are not made with ill will, spite, or with the intent to harm the plaintiff.
GENERAL DAMAGES refer to personal losses which result from damages to a person's reputation.
LIBEL PER SE describes statements which are widely understood to be harmful to a person's reputation. For example, referring to an individual as an alcoholic or criminal, or any description which would lower the reputation of that individual in the eyes of others. These words are harmful and libelous.
LIBEL PER QUOD statements are interpreted as non-harmful except when seen in a particular context. For example, an individual is reportedly seen patronizing an adult novelty store. While this statement in itself may not be libelous, the fact that the person is a Catholic priest would be; the reputation and lifestyle of the individual would be adversely affected by this kind of statement because of his occupation.
LIMITED PUBIC FIGURE is a private citizen who has voluntarily thrust him or herself into the public eye over a particular controversy to influence the resolution of a public issue. May have to prove 'actual malice' to win a libel case.
MALICIOUS FALSEHOOD is similar to defamation, but proof of damage is not necessary as with defamation -- defendants must only prove the statement was false and published maliciously.
PRIVATE PERSONS are not in the public eye and do not have direct access to media. These people do not need to prove 'actual malice' in a libel case.
PUBLIC FIGURE refers to any person who receives frequent media attention, or is well-known in a particular area. Public figures who make claims of libel must prove 'actual malice' to succeed in such a case.
PUBLIC PRINCIPLE refers to the heavier burden of proof carried by public figures such as entertainers and politicians than that carried by private citizens. Public principle is grounded in the belief that these persons ought to expect a thorough examination of their public actions. Also, public figures have an advantage over private citizens because they have access to the media to respond to criticism.
PUNITIVE DAMAGES are awarded to plaintiffs to punish the defendant. In a standard libel suit, if the plaintiff is a public figure they must show that the statement was made with 'actual malice'; private people are only required to prove negligence.
REPORTER'S PRIVILEGE protects the fair reporting of facts, as long as they are not libelous.
RETRACTION is an attempt by the plaintiff to correct a defamatory statement by a published or broadcast admission of guilt. The retraction of a defamatory statement may, in some states, lessen the awarded damages.
SLANDER is a separate charge from libel; it is a false and unprivileged verbal statement which does not originate in print.
SLANDER OF GOODS is a version of malicious falsehood in which the plaintiff's goods are spoken of in a negative light, leading to a defamation of the good.
SLANDER OF TITLE is a rare form of malicious falsehood in which the plaintiff abuses the title of, or falsely entitles the defendant or his or her ownership of property. Calling a local sheriff the Sheriff of Nottingham (after the infamous criminal Sheriff of Nottingham in The Tales of Robin Hood) would be a 'slander of title.'
SPECIAL DAMAGEs: plaintiffs who seek additional damages, called special damages, are required to prove the libelous statement caused specific monetary losses.
TRUTH in the questioned statement is the absolute defense to any libel case
Libel suits usually result from stories that allege crime, fraud, dishonesty, immoral or dishonorable conduct, or stories which defame the subject professionally, causing loss of reputation or financial strength to an individual or business.
The only complete and unconditional defense to a libel claim is proof that the statement is true. Quoting a source accurately isn't enough; the defendant must convince a jury that his statements or the material in the statements he or she quoted are substantially correct.
A defendant can protect the alleged defamatory statement if the statement came from privileged sources; that is, from public records or statements at meetings of public bodies.
The Neutral Reportage Defense allows news organizations to report false accusations made by non-governmental organizations and/or individuals which have a history of responsible behavior.
A plaintiff may not recover damages for a defamatory publication to which he or she consented, or which he or she authorized, procured or invited.
In most states, public officials or figures as plaintiffs are required to prove negligence or actual malice on the part of the publisher. To prove actual malice, a person needs to show that at the time of publication or broadcast, those responsible for the story either knew it was not true or had a reckless disregarded for the truth.
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