The federal lawsuit Duggar sisters Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo, and Joy-Anna Duggar filed against the City of Springdale, Arkansas over four years ago could finally go to trial in December. The sisters sued the city and Washington County, Arkansas over the 2015 release of details about the police investigation into their brother Josh Duggar's molestation of young girls between 2002 and 2003. The case is ongoing as Josh is now awaiting trial on federal child pornography charges in a separate case.
The Duggar sisters' lawsuit trial was scheduled to begin on Sept. 20, but was rescheduled to Dec. 9, KNWA/KFTA reported in May. They filed a lawsuit in Fayetteville in May 2017. They claim when they were interviewed about the molestation involving Josh in 2006 as minors, they were told documents would only be seen by police officials and child services. However, InTouch Weekly obtained the 2006 documents through a Freedom of Information Act request and published details in 2015. The Duggar sisters have said they are still "emotionally upset and humiliated" by the publication of details of their assaults. The defendants still attached to the case are the City of Springdale, Washington County, Kathy O'Kelley, Rick Hoyt, Steve Zega, and Ernest Cate. Six other defendants have been dismissed.
On Aug. 30, the City of Springdale and other defendants filed new documents alleging that the molestation claims against Josh were already public knowledge because he was on a sex offender list, reports The Daily Mail and Associated Press. "Joshua Duggar was placed on the sex offender registry and a legal proceeding was undertaken to remove Joshua Duggar from the sex offender registry," the documents read. Josh, 33, is no longer on the sex offender registry in Arkansas and was not criminally charged for the alleged sexual abuse of his sisters.
The new documents were filed in an effort to get the Arkansas Department of Human Services to provide documents the defendants subpoenaed from them on Aug. 2. The defendants believe the documents could back up their claim that the sexual abuse allegations were already public knowledge before InTouch's report. The DHS has fought the subpoena, citing confidentiality laws, but the defendants said they have a "substantial and compelling need" for the documents.
"Upon information and belief, Joshua Duggar was placed on the sex offender registry and a legal proceeding was undertaken to remove Joshua Duggar from the sex offender registry," the defendants argued. "The Defendants are entitled to this information and documentation due to one of the central elements of Plaintiffs' claims being public disclosure of private information."
After InTouch Weekly published details from the police investigation, TLC canceled 19 Kids and Counting, but the network commissioned a follow-up series called Counting On that initially focused on just Jill and Jessa. Counting On ran 11 seasons until it was canceled in June following Josh's arrest. Josh was arrested on April 29 and federal charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. He is now out on bail, with his trial set to start on Nov. 30. If convicted, Josh faces up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for each count.