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Mental Health Group Sued for Defamation

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After 10 years as executive director of NAMI Virginia, Marsh resigned from the position in December because, she states in her lawsuit, she was about to be discharged by the board of directors.

In early August, Marsh filed a suit against NAMI Virginia asking the organization to repay her a $5,000 loan plus $4,082.40 in salary that she says she voluntarily deferred to help NAMI through difficult financial times. That case is scheduled to be heard in Richmond Circuit Court Sept. 19.

Marsh has now filed a second suit, claiming that "unknown parties have made statements about her that she used her position as executive director of NAMI to commit dishonest acts resulting in financial and other property gain to herself," including allegedly keeping money and a computer that did not belong to her.

Marsh says she intends to find out who the "unknown parties" are. It's unclear exactly what defamatory statements were made.

Marsh says in the suit that she hopes to recover the bulk of her damages from the unknown parties, while asking for $100 in punitive damages and $10,000 in compensatory damages from NAMI. She did this, the lawsuit states, "in recognition of NAMI's charitable purpose and in the knowledge that if she were to obtain a judgment against NAMI equal to her damages, that could seriously impair NAMI's ability to carry out its charitable mission."

Nancy Beebe, president of NAMI's board of directors, says only that the organization plans to "let the courts sort everything out." Neither Marsh nor her attorney could be reached for comment by press time — Melissa Scott Sinclair



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