Defamation cases filed against a Howard County Podcaster, a Blogger, and an Elected Official

There are three open “Tort – Defamation” cases in Howard County Circuit Court filed by Lisa Kim. The cases have been filed against: Thomas Coale (Tom Coale is a Podcaster with Elevate Maryland), Jennifer Solpietro (Jenny Solpietro is a local blogger – Howard County Progress Report) and Byron Macfarlane (Elected official – Howard County Register of Wills).

Two cases were filed on February 11, 2021 against Jennifer Solpietro and Byron Macfarlane and the third case was filed on February 22, 2021 against Thomas Coale.

Thomas Coale (Talkin & Oh, LLP) is currently listed as the “Attorney for the Defendant” for Jennifer Solpietro and Byron Macfarlane. I am guessing he is also representing himself in his case.

I reached out to the attorney for Lisa Kim for background and comments about the cases and this is what Tae Kim (KIM & GRILLO LAW) provided me:

The three lawsuits against Jennifer Solpietro, Byron McFarlane, and Thomas Coale were filed as a result of defamatory and outright false statements made against Lisa Kim.

Ms. Solpietro called Ms. Kim an “infamous local racist” in one of her blog posts. Byron MacFarlane, as an elected countywide official, called Ms. Kim a xenophobe. Thomas Coale, a lawyer in Howard County and a partner in the prominent law firm of Talkin and Oh retweeted a Tweet that called Ms. Kim “lyinglisa” and her “band of bigots”. Mr. Coale went a step further and also tweeted support of Ms. Solpietro‘s defamatory posts about Ms. Kim. Mr. Coale now is representing Ms. Solpietro and Mr. MacFarlane in the lawsuits.

These malicious, false, and outrageous statements were made by people who have no idea who Lisa Kim is and only made to humiliate and ridicule her to whoever reads their blogs and social media posts in order to malign her for their personal gain.

This character assassination and defamation will not be tolerated by Ms. Kim and we will protect her rights as a human being and a citizen of Howard County and go after anyone in the legal arena who engages in this unconscionable behavior.

I also reached out to Byron Macfarlane (thinking that he might be one of the three that would actually respond to me) for a comment and he “declined to comment on the case”…which is  understandable given he is a defendant in this case. He was cool about it with me and at least responded…and I hope he and I can catch up to chat in the near future about local stuff.

I would reach out to Byron’s lawyer for a comment but that person has blocked me on all of my social media platforms so I am guessing he would not be interested in providing me a comment for this article.

Here are the case numbers for those interested in following the progress of these three cases:

  • Case Number: C-13-CV-21-000108: Lisa Kim vs. Jennifer Solpietro
  • Case Number: C-13-CV-21-000109: Lisa Kim vs. Byron Macfarlane
  • Case Number: C-13-CV-21-000148: Lisa Kim vs. Thomas Coale

You can look these case numbers up here:

The court has scheduled a Hearing – Motion on 04/05/2021 at 13:30:00 in the case against Jennifer Solpietro.

There are no events scheduled in the other two cases as of this post….but there is activity through late February on both of those cases.

Lisa Kim was a candidate for Howard County Council in District 4 in 2018 and is currently the listed Chairperson of Citizens for a Strong and Safe Howard County in Opposition of CB 63-2020

We will see what happens and see if this changes the local scene when it comes to comments made online about people. My guess is it will not, but one can hope.

Scott E


  1. “My guess is it will not, but one can hope.”

    It won’t. Social media at large and HoCo in particular has been reduced to a set of loud voices on both sides and the absolutism of those voices is not going to change. The issue is that of the 325+K people who live in Howard, HoCo social media seems to driven by less than 100 people. Too many of those 100 wake up each day with the goal of “what can I find to be outraged about today?” as opposed to “how can I (realistically) solve what ills our society?” But it’s understandable in two ways: 1) social media is designed to be driven by strife. The creators of these platforms look to strife as the foundation of their business model and 2) solutions require hard work, snarky Tweets don’t. I long for the day of efforts such #OneHoward. Yes, it may have been imperfect and doomed for failure in a digital world, but it was an effort to bring about sustainable change, change that wouldn’t have happened overnight but would have left us in a better world today. What change is fomented by calling someone “lyinglisa?” What change is fomented by calling someone an “infamous local racist?” I get it makes a person feel good to lash out and the dopamine induced likes and clever GIF responses will put a smile on that person’s face–I’m human and can’t resist all that, too. But if the goal is to move an issue forward, they do nothing and, worse, further create walls to actual change.


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