Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner Matthew Landan seeks 'vengeance and - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner Matthew Landan seeks 'vengeance and suppression,' former employees say in lawsuit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – “I’ve always considered myself to be something of a liar.”

That quote, from Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner Matthew Landan, appears at the top of a response filed by former employees Landan sued after he was accused of rape on Facebook and his NuLu bar temporarily closed.

Landan said this in a dissertation at the University of Louisville in 2014, according to the workers' counterclaim and motion to dismiss filed Thursday in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Their filing raises Landan’s credibility as an important issue. And the motion to dismiss alleges the true purpose of Landan's lawsuit is "vengeance and suppression" of those who choose not to work with him or talk about the alleged sexual assaults. 

The defendants in Landan’s suit, and now plaintiffs in the counterclaim, are two former employees, Eric Snider and Christopher Maggio, who staged a walk out of Haymarket after the sexual assault accusations. 

As part of their claim, the former employees argue Landan is trying to “silence any and all public discourse regarding the accusations against him for criminal sexual misconduct.”

And Landan is trying to send a message that a refusal to conduct business with him in response to the allegations “will result in litigation,” according to the counterclaim,

Late last month, Landan filed a lawsuit against the employees and unknown “Jane Does” and “John Does” who accused him of rape and sexual assault on Facebook.

A person posted a picture of Landan on Facebook on Nov. 13, saying, "Matthew Landan is a rapist."

Landan, who was accused by multiple women of drugging and sexually assaulting them, has not been charged criminally.

"It’s to make a statement that he's fighting back against the allegations, and he denies all the allegations," said Landan's attorney, Andrew Horne, at the time. In an interview Friday, Horne said he doesn't think the counterclaim "has any merit. We will respond (in court) accordingly."

Horne also said he has reached out to police and said Landan is not currently under investigation and no criminal complaints have been filed. 

The employees are accused of defamation for telling the media about the walkout and saying there had been similar sexual assault claims against Landan. But the employees argue in their counterclaim that both of those statements are untrue and they did not reach out to reporters. 

And the lawsuit filed by Landan is “not merely sending a message to his accusers …. but also to any person or entity that may discuss or comment on the accusations against him, that any such discussion will result in burdensome litigation against them,” according to the counterclaim.

Landan claims that after the walkout, Snider and Maggio "attempted a low ball purchase offer" for the bar. 

While the employees acknowledge the Facebook post was made by a user identified as “Westley Moore,” and that they tried to purchase the bar, they deny “that the offer was a lowball offer,” according to the counterclaim. And they allege Landan asked them to make an offer to purchase the bar. 

The former employees say Moore’s Nov. 13 Facebook post was shared more than 776 times and had 71 comments, “the vast majority of which were supportive of Ms. Moore.”

Snider and Maggio deny they said any statements that “would cast” Landan in a “false light.”

In addition, the employees say the bar was closed at the instruction of Landan and only reopened the day he filed the lawsuit, Nov. 29.

As part of the motion to dismiss, attorney Jeremiah Reece, points out that Landan’s master thesis indicates he is a liar.

“It makes sense that there is a lie bundled into the name of my bar,” the motion quotes. “I have always considered myself to be something of a liar and once even went so far as embarking on a career in public relations (another way of saying I was paid to lie).”

The counterclaim is seeking unspecified monetary damages, dismissal of the original lawsuit and a jury trial.

Landan’s lawsuit says the person made false claims that other women were contacting her that they also had been raped. The lawsuit continues, saying that after the Facebook post, several other people made false claims about Landan.

Horne has said he believes there a possibility that the Facebook page where the first allegation was made could be a fake. 

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