Recently, I questioned the way World Net Daily writer John Aman characterized David Barton’s defamation suit against W.S. Smith, a writer for Examiner.com who criticized Barton’s historical claims. Aman wrote:
Barton also won in court against W.S. Smith, a self-described atheist who published an online article in 2010 calling Barton “an admitted liar” whose “books have been picked apart time and again and exposed as fallacious.”
Smith was a no-show throughout the lawsuit, disappearing shortly after Barton sued him in September 2011. Barton’s legal team hired a private detective and published notices in Texas newspapers statewide in an unsuccessful attempt to find the elusive writer.
Smith disappeared after he boasted, in an email to Huffington Post columnist Chris Rodda that he was “happy to meet” Barton in court “because the truth in [sic] on my side.”
“If this is what you want, Mr. Barton, then let’s do it,” Smith said. “Bring it on. Bring it on. Bring it on. The path you’ve chosen will lead only to your embarrassment and ruin.”
Three years later, a Texas court found Smith’s assertions about David Barton both false and defamatory.
It is true that a W.S. Smith was dismissed from the suit via the filing of a notice of non-suit. However, the reason the man was dismissed was because he was the wrong W.S. Smith. The W. S. Smith served with the defamation complaint was not the Examiner.com writer. See this explanation from a letter to the Parker County TX judge.
Thus, the W.S. Smith of Keller, TX was released from the suit. I am sorry for the error in my original reporting and have made a correction in that post. The Parker County TX records I had access to at the time did not provide that information.
So what happened to the writer of the Examiner.com article? Apparently, he disappeared and did not answer any communications from the court. Mr. Aman’s description is accurate until the last sentence in the block quote above: “Three years later, a Texas court found Smith’s assertions about David Barton both false and defamatory.”
W.S. Smith never turned up. In a case where a defendant doesn’t appear, Texas law provides that a judge can appoint an attorney to defend an absent defendant. However, Barton’s lawyers had another idea. They filed a motion for default judgment instead. Essentially, Barton asked the judge to find in Barton’s favor without the benefit of a trial. As you can see from the documents linked below, that is what the judge did.