The defendants have filed their replies to Gilmore’s opposition to their motions to dismiss. Here is Allen West’s.
Here is the reply from Jones, Infowars, Free Speech Systems, and McAdoo.
Here is the reply from Hoft, Stranahan, Creighton, Wilburn, Hickford, and Words-N-Ideas.
A common theme among the defendants’ replies seems to be “Look, we have made evidence-based attacks on Gilmore’s assertion that the Court has jurisdiction which he did not bother to answer.”
Hoft, Stranahan, Creighton, Wilburn, Hickford, and Words-N-Ideas also filed an opposition to the amicus brief submitted by the First Amendment and Media Law “Scholars.”
The court has scheduled a hearing on the motions to dismiss for 10 am on 13 November.
A group of parents of children who were murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School are suing Alex Jones for defamation. They sought leave to file an amicus brief in the Gilmore v. Jones, et al. LOLsuit which did not appear to have any purpose other than to bad mouth Alex Jones. They offered no facts or law related to the Gilmore case. Judge Moon has declined to let the brief onto the case docket.
Some of the parents of children who were killed during the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting are suing Alex Jones for statements they allege are defamatory. Those plaintiffs are seeking to file an amicus brief in the Gilmore case.
IANAL, but when I read the proposed brief, I could not figure out what legitimate connection it had to the Gilmore case. Two of the defense lawyers agree with me.
Alex Jones may be a jerk who makes over-the-top comments, and these parents may have a valid case against him, but their alleged claims are separate from Gilmore’s alleged claims. As Aaron Walker writes,
The Undersigned Defendants recognize that the proposed amici have suffered a devastating personal loss. A parent should never have to bury his or her children, and one suspects that only those who have had to do so can imagine the pain the amici feel. However, their real pain does not entitle them to file an amicus in a case where they have nothing useful to offer this Court.
I’ll also note that these plaintiffs from Connecticut seem to have a proper grasp of personal jurisdiction and are suing Jones in Texas rather that in their home state as Gilmore is attempting.
Defendants Hoft, Stranahan, Wilburn, Hickford, and Word-N-Ideas have filed a brief in reply to the amicus brief filed on behalf of “legal scholars” which suggested that the court should have personal jurisdiction over the defendants.
Full Disclosure: Exhibit A is my declaration as an expert witness on behalf of these defendants.
Another group of law professors has filed a second brief in support of the plaintiff’s amended complaint in Brennan Gilmore’s defamation lawsuit. They seek to convince the court that Gilmore has properly pleaded a defamation case and that quashes any protection the defendants’ might enjoy under the First Amendment.
IANAL, but at first glance, this brief does appear to do a better job of pleading a defamation case that Gilmore’s amended complaint did. I’m not sure how that helps Gilmore’s case.
UPDATE—The judge has issued an oral order granting the motions to file the two amicus briefs.
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.
The last of the defendants has filed his motion to dismiss.
IANAL, but it seems to me that this LOLsuit should be dead based on the lack of diversity between Brennan Gilmore and Lee Stranahan—unless Gilmore can find some way to prove that Lee really doesn’t live in Virginia. That’s a shame, because it gives the court a way to dismiss the case without having to get to the question of Gilmore’s apparent failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal for failure to state a claim is with prejudice and kills the suit’s claims. Dismissals for lack of jurisdiction is usually without prejudice which allows the claims to be filed in a suit or suits in the appropriate forum(s).
Gilmore’s consolidated response to the motions to dismiss are due on 19 June.