This TKPOTD is from four years ago today. It provides a succinct summary of Brett Kimberlin’s lawfare campaign attempting to use the courts to suppress the First Amendment rights of his critics.
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One of the subjects of interest at this blog is the First Amendment. I got interested in Brett Kimberlin back in 2012 because of the unconstitutional gag order he was granted against Aaron Walker as part of a peace order. That struck me as an attack on Aaron’s First Amendment rights, and I wound up participating in the Everyone Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day blogburst. Because the hearings involved in the Kimberlin cases were within commuting distance of my home, I began attending them and writing about the various Kimberlin-related peace order petitions and lawsuits.
As a result, I became part of the story.
In late July, 2013, Brett Kimberlin filed a false criminal complaint against me accusing me of harassment. The charge was dropped by the Montgomery County State’s Attorney.
In late August, 2013, Brett Kimberlin sued Aaron Walker, Stacy McCain, Ali Akbar, Kimberlin Unmasked, and me in Montgomery County Circuit Court alleging a wide array of torts, including defamation and false light invasion of privacy. In July, 2014, most of that case was dismissed on summary judgment. The next month, Aaron, Stacy, Ali, and I received a directed verdict in our favor when Kimberlin was unable to put on enough evidence to allow the remaining case to go to the jury. Kimberlin appealed to the Court of Special Appeals, and a three-judge panel upheld the Circuit Court’s finding in January, 2016. Kimberlin has asked an rehearing en banc by the entire Court of Special Appeals.
In October, 2013, Brett Kimberlin sued over twenty defendants, including me, in federal court alleging a RICO conspiracy and civil rights claims as well as a laundry list of state law torts. On 17 March, 2015, the federal claims were throw out, except for one claim against Patrick Frey. Kimberlin tried to appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, but he was turned away because the case was still ongoing in the lower court. The remnant portion of the case has been limping along, and discovery finally ended last Friday. Kimberlin has sought to subpoena information from me, but I was not properly served. However, I voluntarily let him have the responsive information that I had. Because he was disappointed with what he received, he filed a motion to have me sanctioned. That motion is still pending.
In March, 2015, Kimberlin filed a false peace order petition against me that alleged I had harassed Mrs. Kimberlin’s elder daughter. On 13 March, 2015, that petition was denied.
The following Monday, 16 March, 2015, Kimberlin filed his second RICO lawsuit, the so-called Team Themis suit, against almost twenty defendants. My name was tacked on the end. (This was great timing; the first RICO suit was dismissed the next day.) That lawsuit was dismissed last week.
On 15 April, 2015, Kimberlin filed another lawsuit in Montgomery County Circuit Court which essentially was the state law claims from his first federal RICO suit alleged against most of the same defendants. Michelle Malkin, Twitchy, Breitbart, Glenn Beck, Mercury Radio Arts, and The Blaze were dismissed from the suit in September, 2015. Aaron Walker was dismissed in January, 2016. Dan Backer, DB Capitol Services, Lee Stranahan, and I were dismissed yesterday. Of the four remaining defendants, Patrick Frey, Ali Akbar, and National Bloggers Club remain unserved, and Mandy Nagy is incompetent to defend herself following a devastating stroke.
Kimberlin appealed the denial of his bogus peace order petition, and his appeal was denied after a hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court on 14 May, 2015.
A few days later, acting through his wife, Kimberlin filed a false criminal complaint based on the allegations in his peace order petition. In June, 2015, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney dropped the charge for lack of evidence.
So where are the cases now.
The peace orders and criminal charges are done.
The first state lawsuit has failed on appeal, and it’s unlikely that the Court of Special Appeals will bother with an en banc hearing and even more unlikely that the Court of Appeal (Maryland’s highest court) would grant a petition for certiorari and take the case.
The first RICO case isn’t over in the District Court and can’t be appealed until the claim against Patrick Frey is adjudicated there.
The second RICO is in now toast in the District Court. I expect that Kimberlin will file an appeal with the Fourth Circuit in a few days.
The second state lawsuit isn’t over yet either, and it can’t be appealed until the claims against the remaining four defendants are resolved.
So, for now, Patrick Ostronic, my pro bono attorney in the state cases, will be watching the Court of Special Appeals for a decision on an further hearing, and I’m lining up legal resources to deal with the expected appeal in RICO 2. And we shall see how Judge Hazel rules on that sanctions motion. Meanwhile, it’s become abundantly clear that the Rauhauser/Kimberlin strategy of on-the-cheap pro se litigation has backfired.
We’re dealing with people who have likely had no interaction with the court system beyond a traffic ticket; the potential for a pro se litigant to force them into expensive, long distance, lengthy, discovery laden litigation doesn’t seem to cross their minds.
—Neal Rauhauser, quoted by Stacy McCain.
Kimberlin now overlooks at his own risk the potential for a group of defendants, some with excellent legal resources, dedicated to the First Amendment to push back against his lawfare. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll begin to understand the potential costs of taking on dedicated pro se defendants with time and resources.
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Loser indeed. Not only did The
Dread Deadbeat Pro-Se Kimberlin wind up losing all those cases and their appeals, he wound up having appeals court costs taxed to himself and getting sanctioned for frivolously including me as an appellee in one of the appeals. Oh, and he lost his RICO 3 Lolsuit that he filed agains Breitbart Holdings, Steve Bannon, and a long list of other defendants when it was dismissed sua sponte by the District Court. His LOLsuit against Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley was also dismissed sua sponte, and he lost all the appeals related to those case.
Everything proceeded as I had foreseen.