The Duggar family’s legal losing streak continued this week, as years-long legal battle came to an unsatisfying conclusion for four of Jim Bob’s daughters.
It was revealed back in 2015 that Josh Duggar had molested five young girls, four of whom were his sisters.
This information came to light thanks to records that were released by local police in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the tabloid In Touch.
In 2017, the Duggar sisters filed a suit against the Springdale Police Department, arguing that their privacy had been violated.
The case has been mired in legal minutiae for years, but it was supposed to finally head to court just days after the conclusion of Josh’s child pornography trial.
(Josh was convicted of all charges against him, and he currently faces 20 years behind bars.)
The start of the civil trial was pushed back again, and the Duggar women were to meet with the opposition this week for one final attempt at a settlement before the case went to court.
But just two days before this settlement conference was set to take place, Judge Timothy L. Brooks dismissed the Duggars’ case with prejudice.
According to a new report from UK tabloid the Daily Mail, Judge Brooks rendered his surprising decision on Wednesday afternoon.
At issue was the sisters’ claim that Springdale police intentionally inflicted “extreme mental anguish and emotional distress” by releasing their records to the public.
“There is no evidence that Defendants intended to inflict emotional distress’ and that officials had actually attempted to conceal the sisters’ identities by redacting their names from police reports,” Judge Brooks wrote in his ruling.
“The Court is skeptical that a state actor could intend to inflict emotional distress and at the same time believe he was complying with the law – regardless of how his resulting professional negligence might affect others.”
Brooks concedes that Springdale police mishandled the situation, but he says there’s no evidence of malice, which is the foundation of the Duggars’ case.
“Although profoundly wrong about the law, Defendants were motivated by a belief that they were legally obligated to release these reports, and to do so quickly,” Brooks continued.
“It is undisputed that Defendants’ actions were motivated by fear of possible legal consequences for a missed deadline,” the judge added.
“In other words, they worried exclusively about compliance with one part of the FOIA and failed to investigate the other parts (and other relevant state law).”
In other words, the cops messed up, but they did so out of the belief that the FOIA left them with no choice but to do what they did.
For Jill, Jessa, Jinger, and Joy-Anna Duggar, this decision might bring to an end a legal battle that’s been in the works since news of the first Josh Duggar sex scandal broke nearly seven years ago.
The Duggars’ will likely appeal the decision, but they’re almost certain to meet with similar results from a different judge.
The odds were always against them in this case, but despite numerous setbacks, the sisters continued to press forward.
It’s unclear the extent to which their father, Jim Bob Duggar, funded and encouraged this battle, but many critics believe the patriarch’s fingerprints were all over this story.
Of course, this is far from the only legal drama the Duggars have endured in recent years.
Currently, Josh is appealing his child pornongraphy conviction.
Fortunately, insiders say it’s very unlikely that his efforts will be successful.