MIAMI, Okla. – An Ottawa County businesswoman filed a civil lawsuit after two women allegedly posted defamatory comments about her business on a social media site.
Tera Gooden, of Miami, is suing Heather Brown, 37, of Baxter Springs, Kan. and Kelsey Mellies, 31, of Carthage, in Ottawa County District Court in Miami.
Gooden referred all questions to her attorney Zach Enlow.
On Thursday, Mellies requested to speak to her attorney before commenting on the lawsuit. Efforts to locate Brown were unsuccessful.
“The defendant’s statements are not exempt just because they appeared on a social media site,” Enlow said.
Gooden, who owns a food truck business, is accusing the two women of posting comments that her business “is owned by a rapist” and the business is “owned by a registered sex offender,” according to the four-page complaint.
Brown had a previous domestic relationship with Andy Gooden, Tera Gooden’s current husband, according to online court records.
Andy Gooden is a registered sex offender and was convicted of statutory rape in 2007 when he was 25 years old.
Oklahoma Secretary of State records show Gooden’s business is in good standing and Tera Gooden is listed as the only registered agent and owner. Tera Gooden has never been charged in Oklahoma and is not a registered sex offender, online records show.
The lawsuit does not specify a monetary amount, but Gooden is seeking a money judgment and punitive damages.
Brown and Mellies’ posts “consistently encouraged individuals to not patron the subject business,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit states the women’s comments “are untrue and have caused Gooden significant harm.”
Brown and Mellies refused to cease their posts, the lawsuit states.