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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Judge dismisses LUMA request to have libel suit filed by PREPA union tossed

Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo, former president of UTIER, the Electrical Industry and Irrigation Workers Union

By The Star Staff

San Juan Court Judge Ladi V. Buono de Jesús on Tuesday dismissed LUMA Energy’s request seeking the dismissal of a libel and cyber harassment suit filed against the private consortium by the Electrical Industry and Irrigation Workers Union (UTIER by its Spanish acronym) and its former president, Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo.

The union argues in the lawsuit filed in court on Oct. 11, 2022, that the defendants published advertisements, infographics, texts and images on various social media networks containing false statements that discredited the UTIER and its former president. The ads were published under the slogan “Tumba el Tumbe.”

The judge also refused to dismiss requests from BPUMF (Boricuas Por Un Mejor Futuro/Boricuas for a Better Future) Inc.; Denise Malone, chief financial officer of Quanta Services Inc.; Quanta Services Inc.; and Ramón Alejandro Pabón, resident agent and person authorized to represent BPUMF in Puerto Rico. BPUMF was a company that paid for advertisements on the “Tumba el Tumbe” social media pages.

With the judge’s declaration that there is no room for the requests to dismiss the lawsuit filed by LUMA and other defendants, the case filed by UTIER will be seen on its merits.

“This means that evidence will be introduced to prove the scheme orchestrated by all these people to discredit the UTIER and me to influence public opinion and favor the privatization of PREPA and the hiring of Luma,” said Figueroa Jaramillo, who was the president of UTIER at the time the lawsuit was filed.

He said the publications, in addition to committing libel and cyberbullying, undermined the honor, dignity and reputation of UTIER and himself.

The union also said the alleged false information that was published led to the hiring of LUMA, which, the union and its former president have asserted, has harmed the island economy as well as the membership and activities of the UTIER.

Union officials also argued in the legal filing that in the publications in question, “the plaintiff used the image and name of UTIER and Figueroa Jaramillo without their authorization to influence public opinion and seek support in favor of the privatization of the Electric Power Authority.”

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