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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 36 Filed: 08/08/2017 Page 1 of 11

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HINDS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI


FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT

TODD JASON MIDDLETON


AND COURTENAY MIDDLETON PLAINTIFFS

VS. CIVIL ACTION NO.: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK

TOM L. OSTENSON DEFENDANT

TOM L. OSTENSON DEFENDANT/COUNTER-PLAINTIFF

VS.

TODD JASON MIDDLETON


AND COURTENAY MIDDLETON PLAINTIFFS/COUNTER-DEFENDANTS

COUNTERCLAIM OF TOM L. OSTENSON1

Tom L. Ostenson, (Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff) files this his counterclaim

against Todd Jason Middleton and Courtenay Middleton (Plaintiff/Counter-

Defendant and collectively, Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants), and states as follows:

I. SUMMARY OF ACTION

1. This is a case involving abuse of process and/or malicious prosecution

and defamation by Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff seeks

monetary and punitive damages from Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants for their

conduct.

II. PARTIES

2. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff Tom L. Ostenson is, and at all times herein

mentioned was an individual residing in Madison County, Mississippi.

1
Due to privacy concerns, the referenced exhibits herein are not attached but have been submitted to
the Court for an in camera inspection

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3. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants, Todd Jason Middleton and Courtenay

Middleton, are, and at all time herein mentioned were individuals residing in Hinds

County, Mississippi.

III. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

4. At all times mentioned herein, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff was a

shareholder and member in good standing of the River Hills Club of Jackson, Inc.

(River Hills) located in Hinds County, Mississippi.

5. At all times mentioned herein, Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants were at-

will contracted employees of River Hills.

6. The incidents that gave rise to the filing of the First Amended Complaint

(Complaint) by Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants occurred on or about December,

2016, and up to the date of their filing of their Complaint in this judicial district.

IV. STATEMENT OF FACTS

7. Beginning in December, 2016, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant, Courtenay

Middleton, began an aggressive pattern of behavior towards the daughter of

Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff, including directing questions (and making innuendos)

in public about the infidelity of her marriage, which was false and which

Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant knew was false, and perpetuating rumors among River

Hills members to the detriment and damage to the reputation of the daughter of

Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff. Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs son-in-law and

daughter subsequently resigned their River Hills membership primarily as a result

of the aggressive pattern of behavior of Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Courtenay

Middleton.

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8. Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs son-in-law notified Plaintiffs/Counter-

Defendants of his familys resignation of their River Hills membership.

Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants responded with profanity laden threats, slander and

accusations of conspiracy against Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs family.

9. In early January, 2017, Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs wife was

confronted by Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Courtenay Middleton at an area retail

store. During this encounter, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant accused

Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff as well as his family, of conspiring against the

Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants. The nature of the alleged conspiracy was never made

known to Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.

10. Within a few days following this confrontation, Defendant/Counter-

Plaintiff sent a text message to the Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants requesting a

meeting to discuss their recent actions towards his family members. No immediate

response was received.

11. On January 13, 2017, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff telephoned

Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant TJ Middleton but did not receive an answer and left a

voicemail requesting a meeting in order to put these matters behind them.

12. On January 15, 2017, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff received a text

message from Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant TJ Middleton indicating that his family

was experiencing difficulties and they would not meet with him to discuss their

actions towards Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs family.

13. On January 25, 2017, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff met with the River

Hills direct supervisor of Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants to discuss

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Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants behavior. The supervisor indicated a course of

waiting to see if everyone calmed down and if things would blow over. The same day,

Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff sent a follow-up text message to the same River Hills

supervisor indicating he would contact the River Hills General Manager if the

aggressive negative behavior towards Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff and his family did

not cease immediately. The aggressive negative behavior towards

Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff and his family did not subside.

14. The very next day, January 26, 2017, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant TJ

Middleton sent a profanity-laden Facebook message to Defendants/Counter-

Plaintiffs daughter-in-law that was libelous of Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs son-

in-law.

15. In late January, 2017, Defendants/Counter-Plaintiffs SUV was keyed

while parked in the River Hills parking lot. Someone had written the initials CTJ

on the windshield of his SUV. The perpetrator was never identified.

16. On March 3, 2017, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff and his son-in-law met

with the Board President and Supervisor of River Hills to outline the

Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants aggressive and aberrant behavior towards

Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff and his family members. At the conclusion of the

meeting, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff was told that a written complaint against the

Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants was required by the bylaw of River Hills.

17. On March 6, 2017, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff submitted a written

complaint. Exhibit A.

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18. Following an investigation authorized and conducted by River Hills

Board Members, on March 18, 2017, the River Hills Board proposed a compromise

solution of the employment dispute involving Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants which,

on information and belief, would have allowed them to continue employment with

River Hills. The Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants refused the solution proposed by

River Hills.

19. On March 22, 2017, River Hills announced that it had terminated

Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants in accordance with the terms of their at-will

employment agreements.

20. On April 4, 2017, Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants filed their Complaint

against Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff, alleging tortious interference with business

and/or contractual relations.

21. On May 18, 2017, Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants filed their First

Amended Complaint against Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff adding the additional

cause of action of the intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

V. FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION - Abuse of Process and/or Malicious Prosecution

22. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff incorporates by reference, as though fully

repeated herein, Paragraphs 1 - 21, inclusive, of this Counterclaim.

23. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants are attempting in their Complaint to

pervert the legal system against Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff for personal monetary

gain.

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24. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants have the ulterior motive of extorting

money damages from Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff based on a sham Complaint when

the basis for the lawsuit has never and alternatively, no longer exists.

25. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants owed Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff a duty

to exercise reasonable care to avoid bringing or continuing to bring a false lawsuit

against him. Litigants are expected to initially investigate their claims before filing

a lawsuit so that they have a sound basis at the outset to make particularized factual

allegations in the lawsuit and to dismiss their lawsuit when circumstances during

the litigation are altered or changed.

26. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants have breached the duty of good faith by

failing to investigate their claims when there never existed an employment contract

between the named parties nor did Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff terminate the

employment contracts of Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants, yet Plaintiffs/Counter-

Defendants seek employment contract related damages from Defendant/Counter-

Plaintiff.

27. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants have been asked to dismiss their lawsuit

but have failed and/or refused to do so and continue to abuse the legal system for

their own personal monetary gain.

28. Due to a settlement reached between Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants and

their employer, River Hills, there are no remaining issues of material facts or relevant

legal issues in dispute.

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29. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants should be estopped from presenting any

oral or written objection, statement, motion, or any other writing in this matter due

to their failure/refusal to dismiss their lawsuit.

30. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff has suffered damage, loss and harm,

including but not limited to his reputation and his privacy.

31. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff would state that the aforementioned

damages, loss and harm are the proximate and legal result of the abuse of legal

process by the Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants.

32. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff was injured by the actions of the

Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants, in an amount as demonstrated below.

VI. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION Defamation

33. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff incorporates by reference, as though fully

repeated herein, Paragraphs 1 - 32, inclusive, of this Counterclaim.

34. The statements made by Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants in their

complaint were false and/or misleading.

35. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants knew the statements were false and/or

misleading and acted intentionally in causing them to be verbalized and published in

and through social media.

36. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants were negligent and acted recklessly in

making false statements concerning Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.

37. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff was injured by the publishing and the

broadcast of the false statements on social media by Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants.

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38. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff has lost multiple productive hours (at least

300 hours through the filing date of this Counterclaim) in defending against this

fraudulent lawsuit brought by Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants, suffered economic loss,

hardship, and has suffered a strained relationship with River Hills, culminating in

his resignation of club membership effective June 27, 2017. Exhibit B.

39. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants have made multiple and/or caused to be

made false statements verbally and on social media that are in the public eye and

record.

40. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants false statements were made in bad faith

with reckless disregard for the truth and Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff has suffered

damages as a direct result of Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants actions.

41. Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants published or caused to have published

the false statements verbally and in social media with reckless disregard as to

whether the statements contained therein were false or not or with respect to the

consequences to Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.

42. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff was injured by the actions of the

Plaintiffs/Counter-defendants, in an amount as demonstrated below.

VIII. THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION Punitive Damages

43. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff incorporates by reference, as though fully

repeated herein, Paragraphs 1 - 42, inclusive, of this Counterclaim.

44. The actions of the Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants were intentional,

malicious, wanton, reckless and willful for the purpose of causing Defendant/Counter-

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Plaintiff to suffer humiliation, a loss of privacy, damage to reputation, observing

family members suffer and a loss of valuable and productive time.

45. As specified below, the actions of the Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants

have caused injury to Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.

IX. DAMAGES

46. As a direct and proximate result of the actions of the Plaintiffs/Counter-

Defendants as detailed above, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff has been forced to incur

time and expense in defending this litigation.

47. As a direct and proximate result of the actions of the Plaintiffs/Counter-

Defendants as detailed above, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff has been forced to resign

his club membership with River Hills.

48. As a direct and proximate result of the actions of the Plaintiffs/Counter-

Defendants as detailed above, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff has been forced to defend

a Declaratory Judgment Action filed by his insurance carrier, Amica Mutual

Insurance Company.

49. Sanctions under the Litigation Accountability Act of 1988, as revised,

and Rule 11 of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, for filing and maintaining a

frivolous lawsuit for the purpose of harassing Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.

WHEREFORE, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff Tom L. Ostenson prays:

A. That this Court enter judgment in his favor on all counts of this counterclaim;

B. That this Court award him damages in the amount of $1,500,000.00, including,

but not limited to, his uncompensated time as an attorney in defending against

this action, the increase in his home insurance premiums as a result of re-

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rating by his insurance company resulting from defending Ostenson from the

date of the filing of Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants Complaint for the

remainder of his life, the damage to his reputation, being forced to observe the

suffering of his family and sanctions under the Litigation Accountability Act of

1988, as revised, and Rule 11 of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure;

C. That this Court further award him punitive damages and attorneys fees; and

D. That this Court award him any and all other relief to which he may appear

entitled.

This, the 8th day of August, 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

TOM L. OSTENSON

By: _s/ Tom L. Ostenson_____________


Tom L. Ostenson, (MSB #3945)
Ostenson Law Firm
239 Lake Circle
Madison, MS 39110
tloaim@gmail.com
Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 36 Filed: 08/08/2017 Page 11 of 11

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that on this day, a copy of the foregoing Counterclaim was filed
electronically. Notice of this filing will be sent to all parties by operation of the Courts
electronic filing system. Parties may access this filing through the Courts system.

Louis Watson, Esq.


Nick Norris, Esq.
Watson & Norris
1880 Lakeland Drive, Ste. G
Jackson, MS 39216
Attorneys for Plaintiffs

Walter D. Willson, Esq.


Randy L. Dean, Esq.
WELLS MARBLE & HURST, PLLC
Post Office Box 131
Jackson, MS 39205-0131
Attorneys for Defendant

This the 8th day of August, 2017.

_s/ Tom L. Ostenson_____


Tom L. Ostenson

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 35 Filed: 08/08/2017 Page 1 of 5

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HINDS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI


FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT

TODD JASON MIDDLETON


AND COURTENAY MIDDLETON PLAINTIFFS

VS. CIVIL ACTION NO.: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK

TOM L. OSTENSON DEFENDANT

DEFENDANT TOM OSTENSONS REBUTTAL MEMORANDUM

In their Opposition, Plaintiffs, Todd Jason and Courtenay Middleton (the

Middletons) assert that the Motion to Seal of Tom L. Ostenson (Ostenson) should

be denied because Ostenson did not provide specific reasons to justify sealing the

record; that to seal the record would mean the court having to seal nearly every case

where there are allegations of misconduct, financial information and other sensitive

information; that discovery responses are not filed with the court; that a protective

order and/or order to seal individual documents should be employed; and that to grant

Ostensons motion will result in the court being inundated with similar requests.

Specific Reason(s) justifying Sealing of Court Record

Ostenson wishes to seal the record because of the public attention that has and

will continue to be drawn to this case. This public attention is not only detrimental

to Ostenson and his family members, but is potentially damaging to the Middletons,

their daughter, and their other family members. There continues to be a high degree

of interest in the developments of this litigation. Following the filing of Ostensons

motion to seal, the filing was promptly reported by a Jackson area blogger, generating

a number of inaccurate and unfavorable comments and postings. Ostenson and his

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 35 Filed: 08/08/2017 Page 2 of 5

family members have been subjected to public scrutiny and ridicule with comments

and innuendos in response to the motion to seal. This second posting provides a sound

basis and justification for the Court to grant Ostensons request to seal the case record

and all pleadings against the disclosure of confidential, personal and private

information and data.1 Because the pleadings that have been filed and will be filed in

this proceeding will contain reference to confidential, personal, private financial and

other sensitive information and data, the most efficient and practical manner in

which to shield this information from public scrutiny is to seal the case record and all

pleadings and documents.

Future Requests to Seal the Record

The Middletons in their response, rely on a United States Supreme Court case

that states that the public has a right to inspect judicial records and thus, the same

standard should be applied here. However, in this same decision, the United States

Supreme Court recognized the larger issue that denial of access to judicial records

may also be appropriate for the protection of privacy interests. Nixon v. Warner

Communications, 435 U.S. 589, 598 (1978). Here, privacy interests will be irreparably

harmed if the entirety of the court record is left open to public inspection.

Ostenson appreciates the fact that the public has a right to the inspection of

judicial records, but that a court may deny this access when the information could

lead to use for scandalous, inappropriate or libelous purposes. Ostenson is not

1The sensitive types of information could foreseeably include such matters as criminal, domestic,
medical, pharmaceutical, and substance abuse in relation to the allegations of the Middletons First
Amended Complaint.

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advocating that this court should seal every case when there are allegations of

confidential, personal and private information and data at issue. Instead, Ostenson

proposes the balancing of the publics common law right to access against the privacy

interests favoring nondisclosure. SEC v. Van Waeyenberghe, 990 F.2d 845, 848 (5th

Cir. 1993); Franklin v. Law Firm of Simon, Eddins & Greenstone, L. P., 2012 WL

5931690, at *3 (5th Cir. June 15, 2012). Ostenson believes that the court should apply

caution and rule in favor of nondisclosure as opposed to public access. Ostensons

proposal would be much more cost effective and more adequately serve to maximize

the courts resources than the Middletons suggestion that a party seek either a

protective order or order to seal individual documents. As stated in Ostensons

primary motion, while Ostenson believes the best approach would be to seal the entire

court record file and all pleadings, Ostenson proposes, in the alternative, that should

either party wish to file any discovery in the case, that they do so under seal with

submission of documents to the Court for an in camera inspection.

Filing of Discovery

The Middletons are correct in their opposition that responses to written

discovery are not filed with the court, only notices of service. However, what the

Middletons neglect to mention in their response is that written discovery exchanged

between the parties may become a part of the record when a motion to compel and/or

dispositive motions are filed with the Court. Ostenson seeks protection from this type

of disclosure of pleadings and other documents which may contain personal

allegations that could cause harm and embarrassment to not only Ostenson and his

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family members but also the Middletons, their daughter, and their family members.

The pleadings and other documents containing these defamatory allegations should

be sealed to prevent any further harm to the parties.

Conclusion

There is a clear and compelling reason to grant Ostensons motion to seal the

case record and all pleadings against a disclosure of confidential, personal and private

information and data. For these reasons, Ostensons Motion to seal record should be

granted.

This, the 8th day of August, 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

TOM L. OSTENSON

By: s/ Walter D. Willson


Walter D. Willson (MSB # 7291)
Randy L. Dean (MSB # 6011)

OF COUNSEL:

WELLS MARBLE & HURST, PLLC


Post Office Box 131
Jackson, Mississippi 39205-0131
Telephone: (601) 605-6900
Facsimile: (601) 605-6901
E-mail: wwillson@wellsmar.com
rdean@wellsmar.com

Tom L. Ostenson, Esq.


Ostenson Law Firm
239 Lake Circle
Madison, Mississippi 39110
Telephone: 601-898-2685
Email: tloaim@gmail.com

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CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that on this day, a copy of the foregoing Rebuttal


Memorandum to Motion to Seal Case Record, Pleadings, and Documents was filed
electronically. Notice of this filing will be sent to all parties by operation of the Courts
electronic filing system. Parties may access this filing through the Courts system.

Louis H. Watson, Jr., Esq.


Nick Norris, Esq.
Watson & Norris, PLLC
1880 Lakeland Drive, Ste. G
Jackson, MS 39216
Attorneys for Plaintiffs

This, the 8th day of August, 2017.

s/ Walter D. Willson
Walter D. Willson

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 17 Filed: 05/25/2017 Page 1 of 6

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HINDS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI


FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT

TODD JASON MIDDLETON


AND COURTENAY MIDDLETON PLAINTIFFS

VS. CIVIL ACTION NO.: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK

TOM L. OSTENSON DEFENDANT

MOTION TO SEAL CASE RECORD, PLEADINGS, AND DOCUMENTS1

Defendant Tom L. Ostenson (Ostenson), by and through counsel, hereby

files this Motion to seal the case record, and any other pleadings or papers filed in

the case record of this matter and states the below:

Background Summary

1. Plaintiffs T. J. Middleton and Courtenay Middleton (the Middletons)

were employed by River Hills Club of Jackson, Inc. (River Hills) as the Director of

Tennis Development and as the Tennis Coordinator, respectively.

2. In March of 2017, the Board of Directors of River Hills voted

unanimously to terminate the employment agreements of the Middletons.2

3. The Middletons filed their Complaint in this action on April 4, 2017

and filed their Amended Complaint on May 18, 2017.

4. The Motion to Seal Case Record, Pleadings and Documents is being

filed without waiving Ostensons right to compel arbitration.

1 Due to privacy concerns, the referenced exhibits herein are not attached but have been submitted
to the Court for an in camera inspection.
2 River Hills is a necessary and indispensable party to any proceeding regarding the Middletons

claims against Ostenson.

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The Court Record, Pleadings, and Documents Should be Sealed

5. Ostenson and his attorneys are cognizant of the fact that all pleadings,

orders, judgments, and other documents filed in the record in this case are readily

available in electronic formats accessible through the Courts Mississippi Electronic

Courts (MEC) system. Subsequently, private, personal, confidential, financial and

other sensitive information and data that previously was only available by a review

of the Courts physical file is now available via MEC. Ostenson is seeking that both

the electronic court record available through MEC and the physical file be sealed by

this Court.

6. It is anticipated that pleadings and other documents filed may contain

inappropriate and salacious factual allegations by Plaintiffs regarding Ostenson

and his family members. Ostenson asserts that these highly personal and harassing

allegations are false and defamatory and have caused harm and embarrassment to

himself and to his family members. The pleadings and other documents containing

these false allegations and defamatory allegations should be sealed to mitigate the

harm and help prevent any further scandalous and libelous accusations by

Plaintiffs from being made.

7. Because the pleadings that have been filed and will be filed in this

proceeding will be replete with references to private, personal, confidential,

financial and other sensitive information and data, the most efficient and practical

manner in which to safeguard this information from the public domain is to seal the

case record and all pleadings and documents. Ostenson believes that maintaining

the confidentiality of the case record, and any other pleadings or papers filed in this

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matter is in the paramount best interests of the parties. Due to the nature of the

proceedings, there exists an overriding privacy interest that overcomes the right of

public access and supports sealing the court record file.

8. Recently, on May 18, 2017, the Middletons served a comprehensive set

of written discovery upon Ostenson which included twenty (20) interrogatories by

Plaintiff JT Middleton, twenty-five (25) interrogatories by Plaintiff Courtenay

Middleton, fifty (50) requests for admission and twenty-eight (28) requests for

production. Exhibits A D. The Notices of Service were electronically filed with

this Court through MEC on May 18, 2017. [Docs. 11, 12, & 13].

9. The personal and confidential nature of the information being sought

and requested in these interrogatories, requests for admission and requests for

production provide the Court with a compelling and reasonable basis to seal the

court record file and all pleadings. Many of Plaintiffs discovery requests are

implicitly and apparently intentionally defamatory. There exists a substantial

probability that Ostenson will be prejudiced if the court record is not sealed at this

junction of the litigation. In the alternative, Ostenson would request that should

any discovery by either party be filed in the court record, that it be filed under seal.

10. After the filing of the Complaint on April 4, 2017, Ostenson discovered

that on April 5, 2017, a Jackson area blogger had posted the Complaint.3 Exhibit

E. The release of this Complaint to a Jackson area blogger has damaged the

reputation of Ostenson and his family members and subjected them to unjust public

ridicule as illustrated in the approximate 116 mostly negative and libelous

3 Ostenson was not served with the Complaint until April 21, 2017.

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comments posted in response to the Complaint. Additionally, the Complaint was

released to and published on a national tennis website frequented by Plaintiffs.

Exhibit F. These events provide a clear and compelling reason to grant Ostensons

request to seal the case record and all pleadings against the disclosure of private,

personal, confidential, financial and other sensitive information and data.

Good Cause Exists to Seal the Court Record, Pleadings and Documents

11. Ostenson asserts that the court record, pleadings and documents

should be sealed because they contain false and defamatory allegations concerning

Ostenson and his family members. While the public generally has a right to inspect

and copy judicial records, the right is not absolute. SEC v. Van Waeyenberghe,

990 F.2d 845, 848 (5th Cir. 1993); Nixon v. Warner Commcns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589,

597 (1978). Specifically, courts have supervisory power over their records and files

and access may be denied where court files may become a vehicle for improper

purposes. Id. Importantly, the interest in secrecy is compelling where the

information could be used for scandalous or libelous purposes. Id. Courts must

balance the publics common law right to access against the interests favoring

nondisclosure. Id. at *28 (citing Van Waeyenberghe, 990 F.2d at 848. See Franklin

v. Law Firm of Simon, Eddins & Greenstone, L.P., 2012 WL 5931690, at *3 (5th Cir.

June 14, 2012).

12. Given that numerous pleadings regarding the Middletons claims

would remain available to the public, the balance clearly favors sealing the court

record so that false and defamatory allegations do not create any additional harm to

Ostenson and his family members.

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13. Prior to the filing of this motion, counsel for Ostenson conferred with

counsel for the Middletons regarding the necessity for this motion. Counsel for

Ostenson would represent to the Court that counsel for the Middletons opposes the

relief sought in the motion.

Conclusion

Because both good cause and compelling reasons in favor of sealing exist,

Tom L. Ostenson respectfully requests this Court order the Clerk of Court to place

the case record and all pleadings under seal due to it containing private, personal,

confidential, financial and other sensitive information and data.

This, the 25th day of May, 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

TOM L. OSTENSON

By: s/ Walter D. Willson


Walter D. Willson (MSB # 7291)
Randy L. Dean (MSB # 6011)

OF COUNSEL:

WELLS MARBLE & HURST, PLLC


Post Office Box 131
Jackson, Mississippi 39205-0131
Telephone: (601) 605-6900
Facsimile: (601) 605-6901
E-mail: wwillson@wellsmar.com
rdean@wellsmar.com

Page 5 of 6
Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 17 Filed: 05/25/2017 Page 6 of 6

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that on this day, a copy of the foregoing Motion to Seal Case
Record, Pleadings, and Documents was filed electronically. Notice of this filing will
be sent to all parties by operation of the Courts electronic filing system. Parties
may access this filing through the Courts system.

Louis H. Watson, Jr., Esq.


Nick Norris, Esq.
Waston & Norris, PLLC
1880 Lakeland Drive, Ste. G
Jackson, MS 39216
Attorney for Plaintiffs

This, the 25th day of May, 2017.

s/ Walter D. Willson
Walter D. Willson

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 20 Filed: 06/08/2017 Page 1 of 2

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HINDS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI


FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT

TODD JASON MIDDLETON AND


COURTENAY MIDDLETON PLAINTIFFS

v. CASE NO.: 25CI1 :17-cv-00207-WLK

TOM L. OSTENSON DEFENDANT

AGREED ORDER

THIS CAUSE has come on for hearing on the Unopposed Motion of Plaintiffs,

Todd Jason Middleton and Courtenay Middleton , for an extension of time through July

14, 2017, to serve its responsive pleading to the following motions filed by Defendant in

the above matter:

(1) Motion to Seal Case Record, Pleadings and Documents [Dkt. 17];

(2) Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration and Dismiss the Complaint [Dkt.

18];

(3) Defendant's Motion to Stay Proceedings, Including Discovery, Pending

Ruling on Motion to Compel Arbitration [Dkt. 19].

The Court, having considered the Motion, finds that it is well taken and should be

granted .

IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED, that the Plaintiffs' deadline to file its responsive

pleading to Documents #17, #18 and #19 is extended through and including July 14,

2017 . bi-t -.
SO ORDERED, this the f day of J~ ,2017.

CI~JU~DGE
Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 20 Filed: 06/08/2017 Page 2 of 2

SUBMITTED BY:

/s Louis H. Watson. Jr.


Louis H. Watson , Jr. , MSB #9053
Nick Norris, MSB #1 0157 4
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
WATSON & NORRIS, PLLC
1880 Lakeland Drive, Suite G
Jackson , MS 39216
(P) (601) 968-0000
(F) (601) 968-0010
louis@watsonnorris .com

AGREED TO :

s/Randy L. Dean
Walter D. Willson
Randy L. Dean
WELLS MARBLE & HURST, PLLC
Post Office Box 131
Jackson, Mississippi 39205-0131
Telephone: (601) 605-6900
Facsimile: (601) 605-6901
E-mail: wwillson@wellsmar.com
rdean@wellsmar.com

- 2-
Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 1 of 13

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HINDS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI


FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT

TODD JASON MIDDLETON


AND COURTENAY MIDDLETON PLAINTIFFS

V. CASE NO.: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK

TOM L. OSTENSON DEFENDANT

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT


JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

COMES NOW Plaintiffs, Todd Jason Middleton and Courtenay Middleton, by and

through counsel, Watson & Norris, PLLC, and files this action to recover compensatory

and punitive damages for torts committed against Plaintiffs by Defendant, Tom Ostenson.

In support of this cause, the Plaintiffs would show unto the Court the following facts to-

wit:

PARTIES

1. Plaintiffs, Todd Jason TJ and Courtenay Middleton, are adult residents of

Hinds County, Mississippi.

2. Defendant, Tom Ostenson is an individual and may be served with service

at: 239 Lake Circle, Madison, MS 39110.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

3. This Court has original jurisdiction and venue is proper in this Court

pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. 11-11-3 (2013) in that substantial and virtually all events

that caused Plaintiffs injuries occurred at River Hills Club of Jackson, Inc., 3600

Ridgewood Road, Jackson, Mississippi 39211, which is located squarely in the First

Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi.

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 2 of 13

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

4. Plaintiffs have been employed by River Hills Club of Jackson, Inc. since

March 2011. TJ was employed as Director of Tennis Development and Courtenay was

employed as Tennis Coordinator. Both TJ and Courtenay Middleton were parties to

long term contractual employment agreements with River Hills Club of Jackson, Inc.

5. Plaintiffs were close friends and often socialized with River Hills members,

Ann Seale, daughter of River Hills members, Tom and Ginger Ostenson, and her

husband, Ben W. Seale, Jr., M.D., both of whom were tennis instruction clients.

6. Abruptly in December of 2016, the Seales ceased all communication with

the Middletons without explanation.

7. Subsequently, on or about December 18, 2016, Ben Seale telephone TJ

and stated that the reason that you have not been able to communicate with Ann is

because I had to intervene, and I blocked her phone from being able to communicate

with you and Courtenay.

8. Ben Seale also claimed the following: (1) When Ann began private

lessons with TJ in the summer Courtenay became frustrated; (2) Courtenay would

mumble under her breath and glare at Ann on the next court while she was having a

lesson with TJ.

9. Defendant Tom Ostenson is a licensed attorney, member of River Hills

Club, and the father of Tommy Ostenson who was a fellow employee at River Hills Club

with TJ and Courtenay Middleton, Plaintiffs.

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 3 of 13

10. Tom Ostenson became personally disgruntled with Plaintiff, Courtenay

Middleton, regarding an encounter when she ran into his wife, Ginger Ostenson, at the

Tuesday Morning store on Wednesday January 11, 2017.

11. Plaintiff Courtenay Middleton entered Tuesday Morning looking for bed

skirts and was going about her business. Ginger Ostenson, mother of Tommy

Ostenson and Ann Seale, was talking on her cell phone but noticed Courtenay in the

store. Without getting off the phone, she leaned away from the phone and said Hey,

Courtenay.

12. Courtenay heard Ginger Ostenson but kept going about her business.

Ginger publicly yelled at Courtenay two more times and Courtenay finally answered her

and said Hey, Ginger. Ginger then hung up her cell phone and approached Courtenay

and said, I want to give you a hug. Courtenay replied, No Ginger, stay away from

me, clearly advising Ginger that she did not want her to touch her.

13. Ginger again advanced to try to hug Courtenay blurting, I want to give

you a Merry Christmas hug from me to you. Courtenay again said, Ginger, stay away

from me. Ginger was insistent and attempted for a third time to try to hug Courtenay

saying, I want to give you a New Years 2017 hug from me to you. Courtenay again

stated, Ginger dont touch me I am warning you, then Ginger tried again to hug

Courtenay.

14. Ginger and Courtenay then engaged in conversation about Gingers

daughter Ann Seale and her lack of coming forward to take accountability for her

actions and false accusations. Ginger said, All of you need to be adults. Courtenay

replied, Your daughter has not come forth and your son-in-law called my husband and

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 4 of 13

accused him of having an affair with your daughter, so you and your family stay away

from me.

15. Courtenay continued by saying, That is disgusting that you think I would

tell people that my husband and your daughter are having an affair and I just have to

put up with it because we are in the service business. Your daughter was my dear

friend and she now cant say a word to me.

16. Ginger paused and then replied, Wait, you didnt say that? Courtenay

replied, What kind of person do you think I am? Ginger said, I will relay this to my

daughter. Courtenay said, I dont care what you say to her. She cant even come out

and be accountable and say anything to anybody. She is hiding and your son-in-law

and daughter are lying and are embarrassed.

17. Courtenay then put her bed skirts down, and exited the store. Ginger was

at the check-out counter and Courtenay went to her car to call her husband TJ. She

waited until Ginger left, about 10 minutes, and then re-entered the store to buy her

merchandise.

18. Following the events at Tuesday Morning, Defendant, Tom Ostenson,

inappropriately escalated this personal matter to now include the Plaintiffs employer,

River Hills Club, by demanding a private meeting with Dave Randall, Tennis Director

and Head Tennis Pro, who was the direct superior to Plaintiffs, TJ and Courtenay

Middleton. Tom Ostenson and Dave Randall met at Newks on January 25, 2017. Dave

Randall met with Tom Ostenson at his insistence and listened to his claims that

Courtenay didnt hug his wife and he explained that his daughter is having some

mental issues.

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 5 of 13

19. After the meeting, Tom Ostenson sent a follow-up threatening text to Dave

Randall. making the following threat: I will not file a complaint about Courtenay, but if

one more altercation with Courtenay occurs, I will file a complaint. On January 26,

2017, Tommy Ostensons wife, Caroline, posted a commentary on Facebook regarding

Ben Seale.

20. This off-site meeting was never disclosed to TJ and Courtenay. As such,

River Hills never informed Plaintiffs of this first attempt by Tom Ostenson to tortiously

interfere with their employment relationship with River Hill Club. This overt and

calculated effort to sabotage their employment by Tom Ostenson was not disclosed to

Plaintiffs until they were unjustifiably interrogated, singled out and fired by Club

President Stuart Whitaker, which was witnessed by the General Manager, Jeff Peak, on

March 10, 2017. Subsequently, TJ and Courtenay went to talk to Dave Randall about

the unwarranted firing. Dave Randall then told TJ and Courtenay about the meeting

with Tom Ostenson and read the subsequent threatening text to Courtenay and TJ.

21. In preparation for the upcoming River Hills sponsored Juniors

Tournament, on the morning of March 2, 2017, Courtenay was concerned as to whether

there would be enough tennis personnel to adequately staff the tournament and was

informed that Tommy Ostenson might be leaving town for an impromptu vacation and

would not be covering the Juniors Tournament. Meanwhile, Courtenay was on a court

giving lessons and Tommy Ostenson was on the court next to her with three women.

Tommy Ostenson and his clients were making fun of Courtenay and her players.

22. Courtenay found out later that morning that Tommy Ostenson was in fact

leaving for an impromptu vacation during the Junior Tournament. It is customary for all

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 6 of 13

staff to remain in town during such an event hosted by River Hills Club. When

Courtenay asked Tommy, When are you leaving for your vacation? He said Saturday.

Courtenay said could you not have picked another day as we have to run the

tournament and we are all hands-on deck during tournaments?

23. Courtenay left the room and came back in and said to Tommy, You did

this to us last year. Tommy then proceeded to berate Courtenay by saying Get off

your high horse. I approved it with Dave Randall and it has been planned. Courtenay

replied, We are a team, Tommy, is that how it is going to be?

24. Tommy Ostenson then proceeded to demean and insult Courtenay by

saying, You do drugs and I did drugs and you are a pill popper and on drugs and youre

a liar. You made up all this about my family and you dont know what youre saying.

You wouldnt even hug my mother and she is a Christian woman. You assaulted my

mother at a store and they were going to call the cops.

25. Courtenay replied, Tommy you need to stop right now. You dont want to

go there. Courtenay then closed the door to the office at the indoor center so that Club

members and other employees would not be subjected to his tirade. In an effort to

diffuse his bullying and belligerent behavior, she told him You have no idea what my

family has been through because of your sister. We have had to get a lawyer and it has

jeopardized my marriage and our jobs.

26. In an effort to increase the pressure of his bullying tactics, Tommy

Ostenson retorted, You are the biggest liar. You never got a lawyer and you would

never lose your job. You take so many pills you dont even know what you say. You

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 7 of 13

made this whole thing up. Courtenay replied, Tommy, stop! You dont know what

youre talking about.

27. Tommy then threatened, Im going to get my father up here tomorrow to

talk to you. Courtenay said I dont need to talk to your father. I am done with your

family. I brought up your leaving for vacation during the tournament and you lost it on

me.

28. Tom Ostenson, father of Tommy Ostenson, then filed a formal complaint

regarding his personal issues with TJ and Courtenay with River Hills Club management

and the Board of Directors against Plaintiffs in order to tortiously interfere with their

contractual employment relationship with River Hills Club.

29. On March 7, 2017, River Hills Club General Manager, Jeff Peak,

summoned TJ to appear in front of a hand-picked panel made up of Jeff Peak, General

Manager, and Board of Directors members, John Ditto and Jennifer Boydston, to

answer questions about the formal complaint filed by Tom Ostenson, a complaint which

the Middletons were never allowed to see in order to confront the personal allegations

as asserted by Tom Ostenson. Stuart Whittaker, President of the River Hills Board of

Directors, excused himself from the interrogation only.

30. Jennifer Boydston, member of River Hills Board of Directors, who was

handpicked to conduct the investigation, clearly had a conflict of interest, which she

never disclosed as required by 5.9 of the By-Laws of River Hills Club of Jackson, Inc.,

as she had recently hosted a baby shower for Tommy and Caroline Ostenson at her

home, which Courtenay and TJ attended.

7
Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 8 of 13

31. Jennifer Boydston, River Hills Club of Jackson, Inc. Board Member, was

also undeniably conflicted by her legal representation of Mr. Ostensons cousin, Bill

Lowe, in a divorce litigation. Upon information and belief, Jennifer Boydston also

attended a birthday party for Tommy Ostensons son on March 4, 2017.

32. After TJ was subjected to one-and-a-half hours of interrogation by the

panel, Courtenay was then summoned to appear before the panel.

33. Plaintiffs were asked inappropriate questions and were subjected to

improper insinuations by River Hills Board Member, Jennifer Boydston, like did you

threatened Ben Seales employment? She also made inappropriate inquiries like: tell

us about the incident with Ginger Ostenson at Tuesday Morning, where did the

argument between Tommy Ostenson and Courtenay take place? had they noticed a

difference in Ann Seale; i.e., did she appear to be on drugs? were Plaintiffs stalking

Ann and Ben Seale? Such biased and inappropriate questions were inappropriately

condoned by River Hills Club Management in a direct manipulation of the process and

in violation of 5.9 of the By-Laws.

34. On March 9, Plaintiffs again met with the same panel at the Board of

Directors request, and the President, Stuart Whittaker, again excused himself.

35. At the time Plaintiffs were being questioned about the complaint filed by

Tom Ostenson, Defendant, Tom Ostenson was out on the tennis courts enjoying the

moment playing tennis with Board member Joey Stroble and former River Hills

President Richard Roberts.

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 9 of 13

36. Defendant, Tom Ostenson, has only been a member of River Hills Club for

two years, but apparently manipulated his way into inclusion in the select groups and

games that other Board members play.

37. Neither Tom Ostenson nor Tommy Ostenson were ever questioned about

their role in this charade, and Plaintiffs Courtenay and TJ Middleton were subsequently

fired on March 10, 2017, while Tommy Ostenson conveniently was out of town on his so

called impromptu Adult Spring Break for his wife.

38. Due to the inappropriate and calculated filing of the complaint with

Plaintiffs place of employment, River Hills Club, Tom Ostenson succeeded in causing

both Plaintiffs to lose their jobs, financially wiping out any source of income for the entire

family. If not for Tom Ostensons unwarranted complaint, Courtenay and TJ Middleton

would have continued working at River Hills Club for an extended period just as they

had since 2011 and most likely their entire careers.

39. Courtenay Middletons family have been members of River Hills Club

since 1980; Tom Ostenson has been a member since 2015. Apparently, Tom

Ostensons close relationship with certain Board members ensured that his desire for

both TJ and Courtenay to be fired would be carried out.

40. Cindy Hannon is a member at River Hills and started a petition to keep the

Middletons employed at River Hills Club. She put up signs in proximity of the club and

around the community expressing her support of Courtenay and TJ.

41. The signs showed a heart on them and said, We support Court and TJ.

While walking around the club and looking for signatures on her petition, she ran into a

few members playing tennis and asked them to sign; most did so happily.

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 10 of 13

42. However, Ms. Hannon didnt realize who Tom Ostenson was and asked

him to sign. He confidently asserted, Im Tom Ostenson. Cindy said, Oh well, can I

ask you a question then, why did you file the complaint against the Middletons? To

which Tom replied, Well she didnt hug my wife. Cindy was a bit in shock that it was

such a ridiculous reason and said, Wait, what? You complained about them because

Courtenay wouldnt hug your wife? Tom replied, My wife is a hugger and she wouldnt

hug her.

43. Cindy persisted and asked him, Did Courtenay touch your wife in any

way? He replied, Oh no, not at all. Cindy attempted to ask Tom if he was aware of

how his son had berated and bullied Courtenay in the office the previous week and all

he had to say was, No comment.

44. The absolutely frivolous and unwarranted complaint filed by Tom

Ostenson has resulted in Plaintiffs unwarranted dismissal and has resulted in Plaintiffs

and their young 7-year-old daughter being without a source of income.

45. Due to Tom Ostensons influence over River Hills Management and

Members of the Board of Directors, no adequate investigation was done to provide any

substantiating facts on the side of Tom Ostenson or his son Tommy; however, due to

Tom Ostensons improper utilization of the River Hills complaint process for personal

vindictive reasons, along with his close association with several Board members, his

desired result was accomplished in short order.

COUNT I: TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE WITH BUSINESS


AND/OR CONTRACTUAL RELATIONS

46. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates all averments set forth in paragraphs1

through 45 above as if fully incorporated herein.

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 11 of 13

47. The basic elements for tortious interference with an existing contractual

relationship include: (a) existence of a valid contractual relationship or business

expectancy; (b) knowledge of the contractual relationship or expectancy by the

defendant; (c) intentional interference inducing or causing a breach or termination of the

contractual relationship or expectancy; and (d) resultant damage to the party whose

contractual relationship or expectancy has been disrupted.

48. There is no dispute that Plaintiffs had an employment contract with River

Hills Club which was extended by Club Manager, Jeff Peak, through the end of the

fiscal year (September 30, 2017) which was set to be renewed for another three (3)

year term. Defendant was aware of this employment agreement by virtue of the fact

that his son, Tommy Ostenson, was also party to such an agreement with River Hills

Club, and intentionally caused a breach and termination of the contractual relationship

and the expectancy thereof. Plaintiffs have suffered damages and will continue to suffer

significant monetary damages as well as damage to their professional reputations as a

result of Defendant Ostensons actions. As such, Plaintiffs are seeking an award of

compensatory damages in an amount to be determined by the jury to fully compensate

them for Defendants actions in tortiously interfering with their employment relationship

with River Hills Club. In addition, Defendants actions were done maliciously with the

intent to cause Plaintiffs injury. As such, Plaintiffs are entitled to an award of punitive

damages against Defendant in amount to be determined by the jury.

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 12 of 13

COUNT II: INTENTIONAL AND/OR NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF


EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

49. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates all averments set forth in paragraphs

1 through 48 above as if fully incorporated herein.

50. By his actions, Defendant Tom Ostenson, has intentionally and/or

negligently inflicted emotional distress upon Plaintiffs. Defendant, Tom Ostensons,

actions have been such to evoke outrage and revulsion. Defendant, Tom Ostensons,

behavior has been malicious, willful, wanton, grossly careless, indifferent, and/or

reckless.

51. The effect of these actions on Plaintiffs was reasonably foreseeable.

52. Plaintiffs have suffered both physical and mental injuries as a result of the

Defendant, Tom Ostensons, actions.

WHEREFORE PREMISES CONSIDERED, Plaintiffs respectfully pray that upon

hearing of this matter by a jury, the Plaintiffs be granted the following relief in an amount

to be determined by the jury:

1. Back wages and future wages, inclusive of all benefits;


2. Compensatory damages;
3. Punitive damages;
4. Attorneys fees;
5. Costs and expenses; and
6. Any other relief to which they may be properly entitled.

THIS, the 18th day of May 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

By: s/Louis H. Watson, Jr.


Louis H. Watson, Jr. (MB# 9053)
Nick Norris (MB#101574)
Attorneys for Plaintiffs

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Case: 25CI1:17-cv-00207-WLK Document #: 10 Filed: 05/18/2017 Page 13 of 13

OF COUNSEL:

WATSON & NORRIS, PLLC


1880 Lakeland Drive, Suite G
Jackson, Mississippi 39216-4972
(p) 601-968-0000
(f) 601-968-0010
Email: louis@watsonnorris.com
nick@watsonnorris.com

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I, Louis H. Watson, Jr., attorney for Plaintiffs do hereby certify that I have this day

filed the foregoing with the Clerk of the Court using the ECF system which sent

notification of such filing or mailed, via United States Mail, postage prepaid, on all

counsel of record.

Walter D. Willson, Esq.


Randy L. Dean, Esq.
WELLS MARBLE & HURST, PLLC
Post Office Box 131
Jackson, Mississippi 39205-0131
Telephone: (601) 605-6900
Facsimile: (601) 605-6901
E-mail: wwillson@wellsmar.com
rdean@wellsmar.com

THIS, the 18th day of May 2017.

/s/Louis H. Watson, Jr.


LOUIS H. WATOSN, JR.

13