Brennan Gilmore’s opposition to the motions to dismiss his amended complaint was due yesterday, and it was filed on time. Here’s a redacted copy. I have not included the exhibits because they would have to be heavily redacted.
A group of “legal scholars” is seeking to file an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiff. They argue that existing case law should allow the court to exercise personal jurisdiction over the defendants.
IANAL, but the case law that seems most on point is a case the “scholars” attack: Young v. New Haven Advocate. Young was a similar personal jurisdiction case which also originated in the Western District of Virginia. In that case, the District Court ruled that Virginia’s Long Arm Statute applied to out-of-state defendants in a defamation suit, and the ruling was reversed by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The “scholars” seem to be arguing that because the New Haven Advocate is a local Connecticut newspaper with no (or trivial) circulation in Virginia and Infowars is an Internet website which can be viewed in Virginia, the facts of Young and Gilmore are sufficiently different so that Young should not apply. But if I read the Young decision by the District Court correctly, personal jurisdiction in that case was based on the publication of the alleged defamation on the newspaper’s website. That strikes me as essentially similar facts.
We’ll see if the court accepts the amicus brief and if it agrees with the amici.
UPDATE—The jurisdictional claims in Gilmore don’t seem to be all that different from Young.
This court concludes that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over these defendants is proper under Code of Virginia § 8.01-328(A)(3), as the defendants’ Connecticut-based Internet activities constituted an act leading to an injury to the plaintiff in Virginia. Likewise, this court holds that the defendants’ Internet activities are sufficient to satisfy the requirements of constitutional due process.
—Young v. New Haven Advocate, 184 F. Supp. 2d 498, 511 (W.D.Va. 2001)
The “scholars” do not appear to have done their homework.