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Joy, Jinger, Jessa, Jill, and Jana Duggar

Bad News for the Duggars: Lawsuit Dismissed

Duggar Family | Instagram
By A. Elise

The Duggar family received bad news this week regarding a lawsuit related to the 2015 scandal that rocked the family’s public image.

In 2015, a redacted police report was leaked. The document revealed that Josh Duggar, the family’s oldest son, had molested five people, including four family members. No charges were ever filed against Josh, and the family claimed that they dealt with the issue internally.

When the report was released, TLC cancelled the family’s show, “19 Kids and Counting.” Josh was banned from appearing on TLC in the future. The victims of Josh, however, were left feeling that their privacy had been invaded.

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Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
Duggar Family | Instagram

Four Duggar daughters tried to sue three public officials for releasing police reports about the incident. This week, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed the case. The police reports in question were released to InTouch Weekly magazine.

Three judges determined that the information was allowed to be published and that the original documents the magazine published did not name the victims. The three defendants who allowed for the release of the reports claimed to be acting within their official capacity.

Duggar family sitting in large living room
Duggar Family | Instagram

The case will go back to the district court with the opinion it received this week. The district court will apparently be able to consider additional claims at its level, but the concept of “informational privacy” for the child victims was apparently not clear-cut.

This is not the only lawsuit related to the scandal. Josh Duggar actually filed a lawsuit against the city and county about the release of the police records. In April 2020, the Arkansas Court of Appeals upheld a decision that dismissed most of the lawsuit filed in 2018.

Duggar family posing in front of Grand Canyon
Duggar Family | Instagram

In his lawsuit, Josh alleged that officials in Springdale and Washington County invaded his privacy by releasing the records. He also declared that releasing the records of his actions led to “mental anguish and substantial loss in income.”

According to the judges who reviewed Josh’s case, he failed to show that he had suffered damages. He also failed to show why he had such an expectation of privacy after appearing on television. Josh may refile a civil rights claim if he wishes.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
Duggar Family | Instagram

The three officials involved in the case the Duggar women filed claimed qualified immunity in the latest lawsuit. Qualified immunity protects public officials from facing civil damages while performing tasks related to their job. An earlier court appearance dismissed several other county officials, a county attorney, and InTouch Weekly from the lawsuit.

Another Duggar-related lawsuit is also in the works. Austin Forsyth, husband of Joy-Anna Duggar Forsyth, is being sued by a couple who bought a house from him in 2018.

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