Update (9:15 a.m. on March 9)
Officials with the Canadian Record have responded to the defamation lawsuit regarding the Thomas Brown case.
In a post on the newspaper’s Facebook page, the Canadian Record established a legal defense fund for Laurie Ezzell Brown, individually and as the owner and editor of the paper, both of which are listed as defendants in the lawsuit.
“We have covered the case of Thomas Brown’s disappearance and death for over six years now, and are confident in the work we have done as both editors and reporters on this very difficult story,” Brown said in the post. “We intend to fight this lawsuit, to defend our First Amendment freedoms of speech and of the press, and to continue to report the news with neither fear nor favor, as our readers know we have always done.”
Update (5:30 p.m. on Feb. 24)
In an update to the defamation lawsuit regarding the Thomas Brown case and his family, that suit has been filed. It was filed on Wednesday at 4:54 PM in the 99th District Court in Lubbock County.
The lawsuit summary states that each defendant acted individually and some acting in the course and scope of employment, have engaged in a prolonged, ongoing civil conspiracy to commit libel and defamation per se against the estate of Thomas Brown, Penny Meek, Chris Meek, and Tucker Brown. The suit would go on to say each defendant, acting both individually and collectively, has proximately caused plaintiffs, Penny Meek, Chris Meek, and Tucker Brown actual damages consisting of severe psychological and emotional harm or anguish and loss of enjoyment of life in the past, present, and in all probability into the future and for the remainder of the plaintiffs’ lives.
According to the lawsuit, this matter stems from the disappearance of Thomas Brown in 2016 and the location of his skeletal remains in 2019. The lawsuit alleges that law enforcement investigations by the Hemphill County Sherrif’s Department, the Texas Rangers, the Texas Attorney General’s Criminal Investigation Division, and the 31st District Attorney concluded there is no evidence to support a conclusion that Thomas Brown committed suicide or that Penny Meek, Chris Meek, or Tucker Brown were in any way involved in Thomas Brown’s death or involved in moving or hiding his body or skeletal remains, or involved in any alleged cover-up of Brown’s alleged suicide, or involved in any unlawful acts regarding Thomas Brown’s disappearance and death.
The lawsuit claims that the defendants have continually published false information that his family engaged in multiple criminal acts to cover up or hide the alleged suicide and that was being spread through social media, the radio, and the local paper.
Even though officials with Klein Investigations & Consulting stated last week this lawsuit will be filed in Hemphill County, the reason the suit was filed in Lubbock County is due to one of the defendants, Dot Comply, Inc. which does business as USA Investigations is based in Lubbock County and where it maintains its main business office.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim they are socially withdrawn and are pariahs within Canadian society.
The plaintiffs are seeking monetary relief only, in excess of $1,000,000, related to claims of the community fostering hostility, hatred, and contempt against the Meeks and Tucker Brown.
According to the suit, all of the plaintiff’s damages have been proximately caused by the actions of all defendants, acting singularly or collectively pursuant to a civil conspiracy.
Update (3:12 p.m. on Feb. 23)
Officials with Klein Investigations and Consulting told MyHighPlains.com that the lawsuit was recently filed in Lubbock County.
This story will be updated once MyHighPlains.com obtains the documents.
NEDERLAND, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – According to a Friday afternoon statement released by Klein Investigations and Consulting, the family of Thomas Brown, a teenager from Canadian who went missing in 2016 and whose remains were found in 2019, intend to file a defamation lawsuit against multiple North Texas people and companies next week.
The listed plaintiffs in the announcement, Chris Meek, Penny Meek, and Tucker Brown, were noted as Brown’s stepfather, mother, and brother. Klein stated that since the discovery of Brown’s body in January 2019, “a small group of citizens and members of the media have promoted a narrative” that the family members were responsible for “covering up a suicide, concealing a death, dumping Tom’s body off Lake Marvin Road, and then hiring a private investigator to cover up a crime.”
“So how these guys are super sleuths on a radio show has to be explored, what information do they know, that everyone doesn’t know,” said Philip Klein, CEO of Klein Investigations and Consulting.
The announcement also posed that the family members were accused by the listed defendants “of a conspiracy to mislead law enforcement” in Brown’s case, and have spread the allegations denied by the family members to the public via the radio and social media.
Alongside the plaintiffs, the announcement also noted that the defendants in the suit are expected to include:
- Chris Samples Broadcasting, Inc.
- Chris Samples, individually
- Michael Crain, individually
- USA Investigations – Lubbock Texas
- Anita Webb, individually
- Amanda Lehman (s/n Moore)
- Canadian Record, Inc.
- Laurie Brown, individually and as Editor of The Canadian Record
- Michelle Gomez, individually
As published in the High Plains Observer – Perryton, Michael Crain, and Chris Samples have discussed the case of Thomas Brown in a related podcast series, with Crain listed as a private investigator affiliated with USA Investigations in Lubbock on the company’s website. Canadian Record, Inc. and editor Laurie Brown are related to the area newspaper, which has published multiple articles related to the case.
We reached out to several of the defendants we could find contact information for and have not heard back from most. Michelle Gomez did respond and said she would reserve comment until the case is filed.
Klein thinks the Meeks finally said enough was enough.
“I think the Meeks have had enough of a small group of people that think they are somebody in a nowhere town that are going to come after them and suggest that they, disposed of their own son’s body,” said Klien.
The statement would further add that the Meeks and Tucker Brown have been threatened by members of the community which has created fear for the family and their safety.
“I mean, they got death threats on them, they got people, they have had to have extra patrols by the police department at their home, they go out in public and they are shunned,” said Klein.
Klein said that he and his firm supports them.
“They accuse us of the same crazy things like we were hired to cover up them disposing of a body on Lake Marvin Road. It doesn’t even make sense. How would we know? We weren’t even hired, we weren’t even involved in the case until the Sunday after Tom went missing,” said Klein.
Klien said this lawsuit will help the family get their good name back.
“We hope that everybody slows down, and listens to the real testimony. Take all the rumors out, take all the Facebook crap out, take all that stuff out, and listen to the facts of the case. Just listen,” said Klein.
The statement added that Meeks and Tucker Brown have suffered from severe psychological and emotional damage because of what it refers to as made-up accusations.
Klein’s announcement said that the family members connected with the law firm Kilgore and Kilgore PLLC, as well as attorney John Morgan of Dallas, and will be filing the suit in Hemphill County on Wednesday.
On Feb. 23, officials with Klein Investigations and Consulting told MyHighPlains.com that the lawsuit was filed in Lubbock County.
Since 2016, Thomas Brown’s disappearance and subsequent cold case was the subject of a joint investigation with state and federal officials, the creation of the Texas Attorney General’s Cold Case and Missing Persons Unit, at least one podcast, and ongoing updates from private investigators that conflicted with information released by officials.
This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.
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