A judge ruled Wednesday that a Costa Mesa religious anti-government group has enough evidence to proceed with a lawsuit against the 26-year-old son of a member. The defendant's lawyer now has one week to persuade the judge to reverse that ruling.
Superior Court Judge Sheila Fell had previously refused four times to clear the way for the Piecemakers' lawsuit against Tom Halliburton, saying the group didn't have enough evidence for a case. The Piecemakers allege that Halliburton sent slanderous e-mail messages to customers about the group's crafts market on Adams Avenue in Costa Mesa.
Halliburton's attorney, Joseph Donahue, said he will argue against proceeding with a trial Wednesday.
The Piecemakers, also known as the Body of Christ Fellowship, is a group of about 30 people who live communally in six Mesa Verde homes.
They don't believe in the traditional family structure, instead viewing each other as brothers and sisters, said Marie Kolasinski, the group's unofficial leader.
Halliburton's mother joined the Piecemakers more than 20 years ago. He said she has since cut off all contact with him.