Lawsuit Aims To Silence Voice of Critic in UFO Debate
Written By: C. O’Shaughnessy
In Unfounded Lawsuit
Sean David Morton, who has promoted himself as "one of America’s
greatest psychics" and as the "world’s foremost UFO researcher",
has filed a one-million dollar defamation lawsuit against
Morton was the subject of a series of ufowatchdog.com articles,
most notably ’The Shameless Psychic and His Prophecy of Lies’ in
which many of Morton’s claims were called into serious question.
Morton was invited to directly comment on the story, which was
later published in February 2001. Morton failed to respond to
several invitations for comment, including a posted open
invitation on the ufowatchdog.com website.
In his lawsuit, Morton alleges all information pertaining to him
published by ufowatchdog.com is "false", including an
autobiography and a list of production/writing credits both
authored by Morton himself. This leaves the question of why
Morton would actually claim something written by him is false.
ufowatchdog.com editor Royce J. Myers III calls the lawsuit
"completely meritless and an absolute abuse of the judicial
system." Myers further added, "Mr.Morton is simply trying to use
the courts by trampling on the First Amendment in an attempt to
silence one of his numerous critics."
When asked about Morton’s claim of being libeled, Myers said,
"Mr. Morton’s allegations are pure fantasy, as are the vast
majority of his UFO and psychic claims. Mr.Morton was invited to
comment and has, by choice, continually failed to respond or
comment. Mr.Morton has been aware of ufowatchdog.com since it
debuted in February 2001. You can’t hold someone else
accountable for your own failure to speak up."
"Mr. Morton apparently will go to any length in trying to silence
someone with something to say about him, as he has named
ufowatchdog.com’s webhost as a defendant, which is ludicrous.
Thanks to Mr.Morton’s baseless lawsuit, the webhost has shut
down the Ufowatchdog.Com website. The webhost has nothing to do
with the content of the website. The lawsuit is clearly
retaliatory and intended to stifle any debate about Mr. Morton’s
public claims about UFOs, the paranormal, and his alleged
credentials. Essentially, he’s trying to scare anyone from
engaging him in the eye of the public and apparently is under
the assumption that issues pertaining to UFOs and the paranormal
are one-sided debates solely for him to participate in." Myers
Prominent Los Angeles civil rights attorney Carol A. Sobel,
representing UFOWATCHDOG.COM, responded to the complaint. On
February 20, 2003, Sobel filed a motion to have the lawsuit
dismissed on the grounds that Morton is "...prevent[ing]
Defendants from engaging in protected expressive activities -- namely calling into question [Morton’s] self-proclaimed
national expertise on extraterrestrial life, UFOs, and the
Filed under a special California state law enacted in 1992 to
combat what the California Legislature called "...a disturbing
increase in lawsuits brought primarily to chill the valid
exercise of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech", the
state law protects people from defamation and other SLAPP
(Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) lawsuits. The
motion allows for the lawsuit to be quickly dismissed when such
complaint arises from the exercise of First Amendment petition
and free speech rights on an issue of public interest.
Sobel noted in the motion to dismiss the lawsuit, "The existence
of extraterrestrial life is unquestionably a matter of great
public interest. People all over the world are engaged in
research to answer the question of whether such life exists.
Needless to say, this matter is quite controversial, bringing
with it vehemently contrasting positions based on scientific and
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for March 14, 2003 at
8:30AM in L.A. Superior Court in department E at 825 Maple Ave.,
Since early 2001, ufowatchdog.com has been a news source for
both UFOs and the paranormal. Most notably, ufowatchdog.com has
challenged a number of the claims made by well known UFO
personalities, has provided commentary on the UFO and paranormal
fields, as well as having exposed UFO hoaxes all in an effort to
further more rational and scientific debate regarding issues
such as UFOs and the paranormal.
Contact: [email protected]
Release compiled by C. O’Shaughnessy