By Max Hrenda
On April 8, Judge Thomas Seeley dismissed a defamation allegation in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Schuettler and his wife, Melanie, against County Mayor Leon Humphrey.
Seeley’s decision came a little more than five months after dismissing two other allegations in Schuettler’s suit – one alleging abuse of process, and another alleging malicious prosecution.
Schuettler said he was not informed of the court date for the most recent proceedings, and, as a result, will appeal Seeley’s decision.
“I didn’t receive proper notification of the hearing, and I didn’t have a chance to present my evidence,” Schuettler said. “I’m planning on appealing it, and that’s all I can say right now.”
Humphrey, on the other hand, said Seeley’s decision proved Schuettler’s claims were “without merit.”
“I think the order speaks for itself,” Humphrey said. “The only statement I would make is that the judge’s order makes it clear that there was no real basis for the complaint.”
The suit stemmed from the events of July 12, 2011, when Schuettler was arrested on a charge of theft over $1,000 by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The charges stemmed from Schuettler’s cell phone records, which showed his signal had resonated in parts of North Carolina when he was supposed to be working in Carter County.
In the subsequent grand jury proceeding, the charges against Schuettler were dismissed after testimony showed that cellphone towers do not accurately pinpoint a phone’s location.
After the case was dismissed, Schuettler and his wife filed suit against Humphrey and the county, claiming that a personal vendetta motivated Humphrey to research Schuettler’s phone records and report them to TBI.