Funimation has responded to the filing of a defamation lawsuit by Dragon Ball Super: Broly voice actor Vic Mignogna by filing documents in defense of their position with the district court hearing Mignogna’s case.

On June 10, Funimation filed their Original Answer, Verified Denial, and Affirmative Defenses with the 141st district court in Tarrant County, Texas. In the filed document, Funimation categorically denies the allegations made against them by Mignogna, stating that the company “generally denies each and every, allegation contained in Plaintiff’s Original Petition” and “demands strict proof thereof.” Funimation then puts forth their Verified Denial, which refutes the three claims made by Mignogna in his Original Petition:

  1. Defendant specifically denies Plaintiff’s allegation that all conditions precedent have been performed or have occurred.
  2. Defendant specifically denies that Plaintiff complied with the requirements of the Defamation Mitigation Act before filing this lawsuit.
  3. Defendant specifically denies that Plaintiff’s purported request to Defendant Code. Plaintiff’s request failed to describe all of the allegedly false and defamatory statements by Defendant and state the time and place of their publication, if known. Instead, Plaintiff refers to unspecified tweets from other voice actors “who appeared to be speaking on behalf of FUNimation,” without identifying the substance of the tweets and the time and place of their publication. Plaintiff also alleges that the “implication of FUNimation’s tweets is that [Plaintiff] engaged in sexual harassment or sexually threatening behavior,” when the referenced FUNimation tweets do not use the word “sexual” or refer specifically to any threatening or harassing behavior by Plaintiff.

Though they assert that Mignogna’s lawsuit refers to “unspecified tweets from other voice actors” rather than from Funimation, Mignogna’s original filing specifically cited three Tweets from Funimation’s official Twitter account:

While these Tweets did not “refer specifically to any threatening or harassing behavior,” the Tweets served to allegedly imply that, following an investigation, Mignogna was let go due to Funimation’s stance on “harassment or threatening behavior being directed at anyone.”

In their Affirmative Defenses, Funimation presents a set of arguments that Funimation asserts absolves them of their culpability regarding the lawsuit:

“1. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff because Plaintiff’s own acts or omissions proximately caused or contributed to Plaintiff’s injuries.
2. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff because Defendant’s allegedly defamatory statements were substantially true.
3. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff because Plaintiff (and/or his agents) consented to and/or published the allegedly defamatory statements by discussing them in public and on social media outlets.
4. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff because of Plaintiff’s previously diminished reputation.
5. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff on the grounds that Defendant was induced and provoked to make the statements by the wrongful and malicious acts of Plaintiff.
6. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff for allegedly defamatory made by third-parties, including any allegedly defamatory statements made by any other defendants sued in this lawsuit because those other defendants were not agents or employees of Defendant and therefore were not acting within the course and scope of any agency or employment.
7. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff because the allegedly defamatory statements were not made with actual malice.
8. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff because any alleged defamatory statements were statements of opinion.
9. Defendants is not liable to Plaintiff because Plaintiff does not identify a valid contract that was the subject of any alleged interference.
10. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff because Plaintiff waived or otherwise forfeited any contractual rights he claims to have had through Plaintiff’s own conduct.
11. Defendant is not liable to Plaintiff because Plaintiff is libel-proof.
12. If Defendant is found liable for damages, Defendants intends to seek a reduction of damages under the proportionate-responsibility statute, including any credits for a settling person.
13. Plaintiff is not entitled to exemplary damages in regard to any defamation claim which Plaintiff failed to timely serve a request for correction, retraction or clarification within 90 days after learning of the publication of the alleged defamatory statement. See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE§ 73.055(c).
14. If Defendant is found liable for exemplary damages, those damages must be capped under the Texas Damages Act, the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution, and the Due Course of Law provisions of the Texas Constitution.”

If Defendant is found liable for exemplary damages, those damages must be capped under the Texas Damages Act, the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution, and the Due Course of Law provisions of the Texas Constitution.

While members of the public have attempted to refute Funimation’s aspects of these defenses they believe to be factually wrong, lawyer Nick Rekieta confirmed that these numerous defenses were standard legal procedure:

“If you fail to plead an affirmative defense, you lose the opportunity to raise that affirmative defense at trial. They are pleading the affirmative defenses even if they may not necessarily apply, but you’ve gotta plead them just in case they do. Because if you win on an affirmative defense, you win.”

While the standard filing ends with Jury Demand and a Request for Disclosure, the filing also includes a Verification by Evan Stone, a lawyer and member of Funimation’s legal team. This filing appears to be a remote witness testimony, wherein a witness is allowed to give a deposition to a court through a licensed notary. This filing by Stone, along with the submission filed on Funimation’s behalf by outside-attorney John Volney, may indicate that Stone is no longer a member of the legal team but is now acting in the role of a witness.

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About The Author

Spencer is a contributing reporter for Bounding Into Comics. Unabashed anime fan, life-long comic book reader, avid video game player, and in need of a separate house for all of his figures. Trying to sift through the noise to bring the readers the facts.

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