Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Liberty Counsel sues GuideStar

It seems pretty clear that Guidestar is being truthful and accurate
Wednesday, Liberty Counsel has filed a federal lawsuit against Guidestar over what it calls a “false ‘Hate Group’ label.” According to the folks at Liberty Counsel, a designated hate group. I'll get around to reading the complaint later. Meanwhile:
Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit against GuideStar over the false and defamatory "hate group" label it placed on GuideStar's Liberty Counsel page. The lawsuit charges GuideStar with violating the federal Lanham Act, along with state law violations of Interference with Business Expectancy and Defamation. The suit seeks a permeant <sic> injunction, damages, and attorney's fees and costs. The case of Liberty Counsel, Inc. v. GuideStar USA, Inc. was filed in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in the Newport News Division.
Anyone who has ever taken Business Law 101 knows that the sure defense against charges of defamation is truth. Guidestar reported, quite accurately, that Liberty Counsel was designated a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center. Furthermore, interference with business expectancy requires intent.

In Virginia a plaintiff must establish four elements in order to state a prima facie cause of action for what amounts to tortious interference:
  1. Existence of a valid contractual relationship or business expectancy;
  2. Knowledge of the contractual relationship or expectancy by the defendant;
  3. Intentional interference inducing or causing a breach or termination of the contractual relationship or expectancy; and
  4. Resultant damage to the party whose contractual relationship or expectancy has been disrupted.
What Staver probably really wants is that injunction prohibiting Guidestar from bringing back the hate group flags. Perhaps he believes that Guidestar will settle on those terms.

The applicable portion of the Lanham Act is probably the prohibition on false advertising that denigrates a business or person. Staver is just throwing bulls' exhaust on the wall.

Personally, I do not see how this survives a motion to dismiss. Ultimately this is a vexatious enterprise. It is a waste of Guidestar's resources (it is a nonprofit) and taxpayer money.

One of these days a judge is going to sanction these idiots for abuse of process.

Meanwhile they won't sue SPLC because they know that SPLC's real lawyers will kick their ass. The good news is that the hate group designation is really pissing off Staver. Anything that Staver doesn't like I am inclined to warmly embrace.

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