LOS ANGELES, June 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rev. Rick Eisenlord, the pastor of Good Shepherd Church Pasadena, filed a federal suit for libel, slander and unfair business competition against an LGBT organization he founded, Pasadena Pride Center, and the woman who took over after "asking for his resignation or threatening to seek to force him out in a vote."
The U.S. District Court suit, which was served on the defendants Wednesday, claims PPC and Liz Schiller "willfully, with malice and without privilege" made false statements that "have caused ... damage to Rev. Eisenlord, his reputation, his Church, and his new organization, the San Gabriel Valley Gay and Lesbian Center, which he created to broaden the geographic reach of his ministry."
"The result has been an enormous and unjustified distraction that has forced Rev. Eisenlord to expend resources and time that could have been allocated to ministering to the neediest in the LGBT community," the suit says.
Rev. Eisenlord explained, "I'm steadfast in my commitment to provide faith-based services to those in need. I've followed this path since I was ordained in the mid-1970s, and I will not stray from it now. The well-being of our beneficiaries in the LGBT community is too important."
The dispute in part involves ownership of the PPC name and various property. The suit points out that Rev. Eisenlord founded Good Shepherd Church Pasadena, registered the domain name pasadenenapridecenter.org to himself and the Church, and created the logo and other items ultimately used by PPC prior to creating the organization as an offshoot of his Church in 2011.
"At no point from the creation of PPC to Rev. Eisenlord's forced resignation (in 2013) was an intellectual property assignment agreement ever created or implemented granting ownership of name, internet domain, mailing lists or other items to PPC," the suit says.
The suit cites "false and libelous" statements made by PPC and Ms. Schiller on the organization's Facebook page and in the media, adding that PPC and Ms. Schiller "knew that the statements were false or acted with reckless disregard for the truth."
Despite multiple demands that the defamatory statements be retracted and removed, PPC and Ms. Schiller have refused, the suit says.
Rev. Eisenlord's "good reputation in the community and the general public" has been damaged by the "libelous and slanderous" statements, the suit says.
Unless restricted by the court, PPC and Ms. Schiller "will continue to engage in unfair and misrepresentative conduct" that "will cause additional damage to (Rev. Eisenlord's) business, professional reputation and goodwill, leading to irreparable harm," the suit says.
The suit says Rev. Eisenlord is entitled to general damages for loss of reputation, shame and emotional distress, plus special damages for harm to his property, business, trade, profession or occupation.
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