Livestock inspector seeks dismissal of civil suit

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Former extension agent brought case

By Stephen Lega

State livestock inspector David Thompson visited former Marion County agriculture extension agent Ed Lanham Jr.'s farm March 20, 2008. That led to a search warrant being executed on Lanham's property.

Following that search, newspaper articles were published and criminal charges were filed (one of which was dropped) against Lanham.

In response, Lanham filed a civil defamation lawsuit against Thompson, The Lebanon Enterprise and Donald Brockman, a Campbellsville veterinarian who examined Lanham's horses after the search warrant was served.

Clint Quarles, an attorney for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, filed an answer on Thompson's behalf May 14. Attorneys for Brockman and the Enterprise previously filed answers.

All the defendants have requested that the case be dismissed.

According to Lanham's complaint, the defendants published "defamatory statements ... causing damage to [Lanham's] person, reputation and employment." Lanham's complaint also specifies the defamatory statements were published on or about March 21, March 26 and Dec. 10, 2008.

News stories about the search and examination of Lanham's horses noted that Brockman evaluated 32 horses on Lanham's property. Brockman was quoted as saying that a majority of the horses had a body condition score of three or below. Horses normally score between five and seven, according to Brockman.

The story also reported that Lanham considered the allegations "hogwash," and he was quoted saying that he did not have a single unhealthy animal.

A trial is pending against Lanham in Marion District Court. He is facing a charge of second-degree cruelty to animals.

That trial is scheduled for June 19.