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Hillary ordered to provide Potsdam more information for defamation-lawsuit defense

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A federal judge has ordered Oral “Nick” Hillary to turn over a limited amount of additional information that the village of Potsdam claims it needs to help defend itself in a defamation suit brought by Mr. Hillary in September.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles, Syracuse, ruled Wednesday that Mr. Hillary must comply with the village’s demand for further information about expenses he has incurred for medical treatments, as part of his claim is that the alleged defamatory statements have caused him anxiety, anger and loss of sleep, prompting him to seek counseling from medical professionals, among others. Mr. Hillary is seeking reimbursement for the medical expenses as part of his claim for damages.

Mr. Hillary filed state Supreme Court action in Canton in September claiming police detained him illegally and damaged his reputation by making statements that implicated him in the death of 12-year-old Garrett J. Phillips, who was strangled Oct. 24, 2011, in the youth’s upstairs apartment at North Country Manor Apartments, 100 Market St. The lawsuit was moved to U.S. District Court in November because Mr. Hillary also is claiming that his federal constitutional rights were violated.

Mr. Hillary was not charged with a crime and no arrest has been made in connection with the boy’s death. Mr. Hillary maintains in his action that he was detained unlawfully for questioning by police and that police identified him to at least one person as a suspect in the youth’s death.

Judge Peebles denied the village’s request for records about Mr. Hillary’s employment, including tax returns. Mr. Hillary’s attorney, Mani C. Tafari, Queens, earlier had argued that he had supplied the village with Mr. Hillary’s employment record at Clarkson University, Potsdam, where he is head men’s soccer coach, so it already possesses his wage history. The judge also denied as “academic” the village’s request for any records pertaining to payments Mr. Hillary may have received through Medicare or Medicaid as Mr. Hillary has established that “he does not qualify for, nor does he receive benefits from” either.

The judge also ordered Mr. Hillary to provide the names of every person who may testify at trial to substantiate claims that he suffers from anxiety, anger and loss of sleep. The judge ordered the information turned over to the village by June 28.

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