Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Liberty Counsel's idiotic suit against Guidestar has finally been dismissed

Mat Staver
Hate Group Leader Mat Staver
"Mad Man Mat"
It took several months but on Tuesday Federal District Court Judge Raymond A. Jackson for the Easter District of Virginia dismissed Liberty Counsel v. Guidestar USA. The only thing disappointing about what was a foregone conclusion is that the judge did not sanction Liberty Counsel's lawyers for vexatious litigation. He could have. He should have.

Liberty Counsel concocted a Lanham Act claim which is really reserved for trademark infringement because Guidestar dared to flag certain nonprofit organizations as Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate groups. Mat Staver hates the fact that people call Liberty Counsel a hate group. Nevertheless, Liberty Counsel is a rabid anti-LGBT hate group. If they do not like the label then they should modify their ways. They will not.

Of course Mad Man Mat had to react with a lengthy tirade. The last paragraph is all you need to know:
Judge Jackson only analyzed the Lanham Act claim and stated that the suit did not satisfy the first element which requires that the advertising or promotion constitute commercial speech. Jackson further stated that because the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) notation on Liberty Counsel's profile does not solicit funds for GuideStar, then it is not commercial speech. The analysis on this point is subject to an appeal. Judge Jackson did not analyze the rest of the Lanham Act claim or the state law claims.
In brief, there are three elements to substantiating a claim under the Lanham Act. Since Liberty Counsel fails to satisfy the first element there is no reason to consider the remaining elements.

I'd bet my pearls that Liberty Counsel will again abuse the court system and file an appeal. Presumably Guidestar is already planning to sue for legal fees which the loser in any suit is liable for.

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