Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mat Staver really is America's dumbest lawyer

Mat Staver
Hate Group Leader Mat Staver - Liberty Counsel
The latest missive from hate group leader Mat Staver is titled: Unlawful "Hate" Label!

I will write that Liberty Counsel is a hate group all the livelong day. Is Staver going to have me carted off to the hoosegow? The stocks? The simple fact of the matter is that Southern Poverty Law Center has designated Liberty Counsel a hate group. That is SPLC's opinion and it is one that they are right to hold. I am free to factually write about SPLC's opinion. I am free to form and write about my own opinions of Mr. Staver and his merry little band of numskulls.

Staver goes on to belch forth:
Liberty Counsel filed a brief at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit arguing that GuideStar's false and defamatory “hate group” label it placed on Liberty Counsel's profile comes within the federal law known as the Lanham Act.

Liberty Counsel sued GuideStar under the Lanham Act, which prohibits making false and misleading characterizations of a group's goods or services.
Liberty Counsel sued Guidestar about six months ago and the case was dismissed in January. The purpose for the Lanham Act, which was enacted in 1946, is primarily to protect trademarks from infringement and the use of deceptively similar trademarks that might cause consumer confusion. False advertising can be a violation of the Lanham Act under certain circumstances.

To assert a claim of false advertisement, Liberty Counsel had to demonstrate that Guidestar made a false or misleading description of fact or representation of fact in a commercial advertisement about a product offered by either Guidestar or Liberty Counsel. In point of fact, GuideStar’s notation that Liberty Counsel “was flagged as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center” is a literally true statement that cannot possibly be proved false unless SPLC changes its opinion of Liberty Counsel (which they will not).

But before you even get to whether or not the statement was true or false, it has to be within the context of commercial speech. The Court ruled that it was not commercial speech which is simple common sense given that both Guidestar and SPLC are nonprofit organizations. Even then, Staver would have to prove that Guidestar intentionally interfered in a contractual relationship or business expectancy and was the direct cause of a breach or termination of the contractual relationship or expectancy. Then it has to demonstrate damages in real terms. The whole thing is preposterous.

Staver can afford to do this because he does not have a client controlling the legal expenses. The evangelical calculus assumes that Liberty Counsel will raise far more money off of this than any actual expenses. Guidestar's legal expenses are, for the most part, covered by insurance but insurance premiums are based on actual revenues vs. losses. Staver is going to cost many businesses real money in higher premiums as he tilts at windmills.

When he loses at the appeals court he will petition the Supreme Court. He is on the same path with the moot Kim Davis case. Staver loses most of the time and he cannot accept the fact that there are smarter, better educated and much saner lawyers who oppose him.

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