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Jury awards no compensation in Vives v. Hull case

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Hull's legal debt totals $135,000

By Carol A. Clark

The jury deliberated nearly five hours Thursday and another five Friday before rendering its verdict in the Thomas Edward (Ted) Vives v. Linda Hull civil case.

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Neither party received compensation in the lawsuit or counter suit.

Vives, a registered sex offender, had sued Hull claiming she damaged his standing in the community by making false statements about him.

Hull counter sued, claiming Vives conducted acts of harassment, vandalism and intimidation against her.

The jury rendered its verdict at 1:50 p.m. Friday from Santa Fe District Court where it had convened that morning after hearing testimony all week in the Los Alamos Community Building.

The jury’s verdict addressed several questions.

On Vives’ claim against Hull for false light invasion of privacy:

Question one — Did Hull publish any communication containing a false statement of fact about Vives? The jury answered yes.

Question two — Did Hull know that the statement of fact was false or did she negligently fail to recognize that it was false? The jury answered no.

On Vives’ claim against Hull for malicious abuse of process:

Question one — Did Hull misuse the legal process by actively participating in the criminal prosecution of Vives following the incident at the Coffee Booth on April 12, 2007? The jury answered no.

On Vives’ request for punitive damages:

Question one — Were the acts of Hull willful, wanton, reckless or grossly negligent? The jury answered no.

On Hull’s counterclaim against Vives for malicious abuse of process:

Question one — Did Vives misuse the legal process by filing this lawsuit against Hull? The jury answered no.

On Hull’s counterclaim against Vives for intentional infliction of emotional distress:

Question one — Was the conduct of Vives extreme and outrageous under the circumstances? The jury answered no.

On Hull’s counterclaim against Vives for assault:

Question one — Did Vives engage in any act, threat or menacing conduct at the Coffee Booth on April 12, 2007 that caused Hull to reasonably believe that she was in danger of receiving an immediate harmful or offensive contact to her person? The jury answered yes.

Question two — Did Vives intend his conduct to create a reasonable apprehension in Hull of immediate harmful or offensive contact to her person? The jury answered no.

On Hull’s request for punitive damages:

  Question one — Were the acts of Vives either willful, wanton, reckless or grossly negligent? The jury answered no.

Attempts to reach Vives’ attorney Paul Mannick for comment were unsuccessful.

Hull’s attorney Paul Grace discussed the verdict in a telephone interview from Santa Fe Friday afternoon.

“We’re very happy that the jury did not believe that Linda was doing anything with the intention to hurt Mr. Vives. Her intention is and always has been to make sure the children in our community are safe,” Grace said. “The fact that the jury did not believe that Linda had done anything wrong by speaking out should give people the courage to stand up to bullies and not to be afraid to speak out on issues of public importance.”

Hull sought to recoup $135,000, which her lawyer told jurors was her legal debt as of Thursday to defend herself against Vives.

Hull has battled Vives for five years, speaking out when she thought he was violating school sex offender policies, which she vigorously lobbied for Los Alamos Public Schools to enact.

Upon hearing the verdict, community members opened the Linda H. Hull Legal Fund account #0116095801 at Los Alamos National Bank and had already contributed some $200 by 6 p.m. when the bank closed Friday.