Tobolowsky Family Awarded $5.5M In Defamation Case

UPDATED | May 10, 2017 6:10 PM

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) –  Deborah Tobolowsky huddled outside the courtroom with her three sons and several family members. They were wiping away tears of sadness and relief.

“I wish your father were here to see it. He would be proud,” Deborah Tobolowsky told her sons.

The Tobolowsky family asked Judge Don Cosby to award them $500,000 for damages in a defamation case.

He agreed. And then, he tacked on another $5,000,000.

“The law prevailed today and dad prevailed,” said Michael Tobolowsky, their middle son.

“The judge’s ruling is very clear that he is sending a message this is not happening anymore. Y’all are done. Y’all are done!” Jonathan, the oldest brother, was speaking directly to Steven Aubrey and Brian Vodicka.

Their father, Ira Tobolowsky, brought a defamation case against Aubrey and Vodicka more than a year ago.

Last May, the case suddenly stalled when Ira Tobolowsky was found murdered in his own garage and his home was set on fire.

Early Monday morning, a deputy from the court entered the hallway calling out, “Mr. Aubrey. Mr. Vodicka. Mr. Aubrey.” No answer.

Aubrey and Vodicka failed to show up for court despite being ordered to appear by the judge, so the judge allowed the defamation trial to go on without them.

Two of Tobolowsky’s son took the stand for their dad with their mother on the courtroom bench not far away. Deborah Tobolowsky listened to her sons describe how they say Aubrey and Vodicka defamed their dad before he died by posting blogs showing his face behind bars, calling him a fraudster online and in letters to the courts, and sending emails which they say claimed he had joined ISIS.

They testified the two men were trying to destroy Tobolowsky’s life and law practice.

“We weren’t going to ask for a portion of what this judge entered and that goes to show the respect that my dad has in the legal community and the City of Dallas,” said Zach, the youngest son.

After Tobolowsky died, investigators searched the apartment of both Aubrey and Vodicka seizing gas containers, a propane tank and a drill. They have never been named suspects. And no arrests have ever been made.

The sons say this ruling brings closure which they sum up by quoting four words from their father.

“I rest my case. Dad always used to say “IRMC.” I rest my case. It will go on his headstone. It will be something we always remember him by. He is looking down on us right now saying, ‘I rest my defamation case.’ ”

The I-Team reached out to Steven Aubrey and Brian Vodicka. Aubrey sent the following two emails to the I-Team:

STATEMENT TO THE I-TEAM FROM STEVEN AUBREY

“I hope that today’s trial gives the Tobolowsky family the closure they so desperately seek.

I heard that the mortgage fraud blog was a big topic at the trial. The blog details Ira Tobolowsky’s criminal activity that I know about personally. Everything listed in the blog is absolutely true and verifiable, therefore, it is not defamatory.

Ira Tobolowsky was known for being very prejudice towards gays and I believe he filed his hate lawsuit against us to punish us for being gay. He filed his extraordinary lawsuit on July 21, 2015, soon after the Associated Press published its shocking article, on June 13, 2015, about Jihadists throwing gays off the tallest buildings to their deaths. It was no coincidence that Tobolowsky’s petition had 10 bizarre references to Jihad.

Earlier the same year, in a January 23, 2015 hearing for the case between me and my family, Ira said:

“This is just part of the harassment that my client has gone — a 79-year-old lady — that’s having to put up with a son that has gone ballistic. And the problem is the son and his lawyer are roommates, and I think they’re married. And Your Honor, and as such it’s compounded the problem, and it’s misstating the facts to the Court”

Ira Tobolowsky’s lawsuit against us was simply based on hate for gay people. He oddly alleged that he was defamed by Jihad. That makes as much sense as the above excerpt from the hearing.

On November 13, 2015, ISIS claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Paris killing 130 people. Three days later, on November 16, 2015, Ira Tobolowsky filed his First Amended Petition and for the first time used the term “ISIS,” falsely accusing: Defendants told third parties that “Tobolowsky is a member of ISIS.” That was a complete fabrication and intended as a threat towards us.

Ira Tobolowsky and his lawyer, Stephen Schoettmer, were constantly asking if Brian and I were married. They wanted proof. In my deposition I was asked if I was having sex with my friends. Their homophobia was inappropriate and constant.

I believe that Ira Tobolowsky was attempting to castigate us for being gay with his Jihad lawsuit.

The Tobolowskys won this lawsuit without us attending and without a witness. I hope they can move on and stop harassing us. They hired private investigators who trespassed onto our personal residence, brandished loaded firearms and threaten us by screaming, “Your in danger!” The irony does not escape us when it is reported the Tobolowskys feel harassed.

UPDATED SECOND STATEMENT FROM STEVEN AUBREY:

This case was rigged from its inception.  A very prominent Dallas attorney told Brian that Judge Eric Moye was “throwing our case to give a bone to Emily Tobolowsky in return for the Jewish vote in the upcoming election.”  The attorney said this case was easy for Judge Moye to throw because we were to gay guys from out of town (we lived in Austin at the time), explaining Judge Moye’s ex parte orders and other improper behavior.  

By the time this frivolous case was filed against us, we were financially wiped out from a Ponzi scheme.  However this case would play out would have little consequence to us.  It is apparent the Tobolowsky’s have never understood this.

 Judge Moye committed a second-degree felony, aggravated assault, when he pointed his loaded firearm at a woman on the Dallas Tollway.  To cover his second publicly witnessed criminal assault; Judge Moye called authorities and said he felt he was in danger because of Ira Tobolowsky’s death.  He warned authorities.   Authorities did not warn him.   Next, Judge Moye publicly announced in open court that I was implicated in the murder therefore he was recusing himself from this case.  That is how a judge gets excused from his criminal act.

The beleaguered case was assigned to Judge Donald Cosby.  It was clear from the first hearing that we were in store for more of the same.  Judge Cosby rubber-stamped everything Judge Moye had done.  All of the deadlines imposed by the scheduling order were missed but Judge Cosby only applied the missed deadlines to us, not allowing any of our motions to be heard.  He had a different set of rules for the Tobolowskys.  We moved out of state and Judge Cosby denied us the ability to participate in the hearings by telephone, a practice that is permitted by Dallas County courts.

There has been no reason for us to participate on the unequal playing field including the trial so we did not appear for the trial.  Finally, we could not afford the travel expenses to attend this trial.

 

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