LIV Golf member files $250M defamation lawsuit against media outlets

A little more than a month after Patrick Reed’s attorneys refiled a $750 million defamation lawsuit – adding Golf Channel’s Damon Hack, Shane Bacon, as well as Golfweek, columnist Eamon Lynch and its parent company, Gannett – a new $250 million suit has been filed against a number of other prominent golf media members and organizations.

According to a release from Reed’s attorney, Larry Klayman, the new suit includes author Shane Ryan, Hachette, the New York Post and Fox Sports, as well as Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson and the organization for whom he works. Golfweek confirmed with the Middle District Court of Florida’s Jacksonville Division that the suit was filed this week.

Ryan has written two books that are cited in the release: ‘Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour,’ and ‘ The Cup They Couldn’t Lose: America, The Ryder Cup, and The Long Road to Whistling Straits.’

The release said this of Ryan:

One of the earliest and perhaps the most hateful and unhinged of the defendants to defame, falsely injure and tortiously interfere with Mr. Reed, his family, and his colleagues is Shane Ryan, who wrote a book, ‘Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour,’ and in his newly released book, ‘The Cup They Couldn’t Lose: America, The Ryder Cup, and The Long Road to Whistling Straits,’ compounds and republishes the alleged false and very damaging attacks.

In the Complaint, Shane Ryan is alleged to be pathologically obsessed with harming Mr. Reed and his family and colleagues, and given his well-known incestuous relationship with those on the PGA Tour, his latest book is part and parcel to the deluge of defamatory statements that have been published not just by the Defendants in this case, but also regurgitated with actual malice by Brandel Chamblee, Damon Hack, Shane Bacon and Eamon Lynch, commentators on NBC’s Golf Channel, which according to PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan is the PGA Tour’s partner. Chamblee, and the others are Defendants in a related suit styled Reed v. Chamblee, also filed in federal court in Jacksonville, Florida. See Reed vs. Chamblee, et. al, Civil Action No. – 3:22-cv-01059 (M.D. Fl.) .

The original suit was seeking in excess of $750 million in damages. In civil cases, plaintiffs have to prove whether a defendant is liable, not whether a defendant is guilty. The suit was filed by Klayman, a Florida-based attorney who has been on the losing end of a number of defamation lawsuits, including one in which Arizona politician ‘Sheriff Joe’ Arpaio sued several national media outlets, alleging they defamed him and impacted his attempt to win a U.S. Senate seat.

‘My client, his family and colleagues have been made the whipping boy of cheap and dishonest journalists in the golf media, like Shane Ryan, who feed at the trough of the PGA Tour, a tour that historically mistreated Mr. Reed. Indeed, my client’s move to LIV Golf was primarily due to this mistreatment, where adequate security was not even provided at PGA Tour events, where hostile fans vilified and threatened Mr. Reed, his wife, caddie, and coach, thanks to the rank defamation and other alleged illegal acts of Defendants in these two recently filed lawsuits,’ Klayman said in the release.

‘Mr. Reed, on behalf of himself, his family, and colleagues, simply will not take it anymore and he is fighting back in the courts to not just redeem his rightful reputation for honesty and superior golf achievements and successes, but also to protect his loved ones from the likes of Shane Ryan, Doug Ferguson and the rest of the jackals who make their sorry and pathetic living spreading lies and false information about him. These types of journalists, publishers and networks give the good ones a bad name, by publishing and broadcasting false information to the masses for their own financial gain to generate readers, viewership, clicks, and for no other reason than to use Mr. Reed callously and cruelly as a tool to make money, no matter how harmful it has been or will be to his career, his family, colleagues and his life.

‘Let it be known that anyone who emulates Shane Ryan and the other defendants in these two lawsuits, in order to make a cheap profit and harm Mr. Reed, his family, and colleagues, will be held accountable under the letter of the law.’

The original suit, which named Brandel Chamblee and Golf Channel, said the group had ‘conspired as joint tortfeasors for and with the PGA Tour, it’s (sic) executives and it’s Commissioner Jay Monahan, to engage in a pattern and practice of defaming Mr. Reed, misreporting information with falsity and/or reckless disregard for the truth … purposely omitting pertinent key material facts to mislead the public, and actively targeting Mr. Reed since he was 23 years old to destroy his reputation, create hate, and a hostile work environment for him … ‘

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