Defendant in slander case dropped by store owner

May 15—A store owner who filed charges over some Facebook posts regarding his business has dropped the case.

Chris Asher, owner/operator of Happy Express, filed charges against Shane and Rachel Bowling and Jimmy Phelps earlier this year after some comments on Facebook.

On March 19, the Laurel Circuit Clerk filed an agreed order to dismiss the case "but only in regard to Jimmy Phelps." The document also states that the dismissal would be "with prejudice," meaning that Asher cannot bring up the charges at another time.

Asher filed suit on Feb. 16 after the post under the name of Shane Rachel Bowling questioned London Mayor Randall Weddle's request of city officials to fill up cruisers and vehicles at Asher's business on US 25.

"Even if the gas is at 'cost' the people driving said vehicles will be purchasing pop, dip, food, snacks of all kinds from his store. This will keep them from going to other businesses in the county or city to conduct normal business."

Several people commented on that post — including Phelps, who stated: "Another thing is that even if Weddle isn't involved with the ownership he's big buddies with the owners. Shouldn't tell employees to trade with one particular business location."

In April, the Bowlings filed a motion requesting the case be dismissed on the basis that the post was "purely opinionated and speculative, no allegations were made against Weddle. The post is asking a question — not stating a fact." Bowling added that he was simply asking for information and even added "maybe I'm wrong."

Weddle also filed a lawsuit against the Bowlings, accusing them of maliciously trying to damage his reputation, personally and professionally.

Bowling's affidavit states that he was told by a clerk at Happy Express that Weddle was part owner in the station and that a city official had informed him that Weddle had said the employee was required to purchase gas at the station.

Weddle's cases of slander and libel that named the Bowlings and Sherri Rudder Smith were heard in Laurel Circuit Court last week but is "under consideration" at this time.