Friends, Donors, and Interested Persons,
Earlier this afternoon, Judge Katherine Blake of the US District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed all my claims against the SPLC, Heidi Beirich, and Marc Potok. Judge Blake’s memorandum opinion is attached below.
Although Judge Blake’s opinion is 17 pages long, only a few pages provide substantive legal analysis. The essence of that analysis is this: 1) all my state law claims are disguised defamation claims and are therefore subject to defamation claim defenses such as the opinion doctrine, i.e., the SPLC, Beirich, and Potok merely made statements about me that cannot be verified as true or false or merely expressed their opinion and are protected; and 2) I failed plausibly to allege that the SPLC defendants committed illegal or unethical acts.
I find both propositions flagrantly flawed. I alleged numerous claims that cannot properly be characterized as defamation claims, including, for example, a negligent supervision claim that the court hardly addressed at all. And to say I did not plausibly allege illegal and unethical conduct by the SPLC in accordance with federal “plausibility” pleading standards for a motion to dismiss distorts that standard beyond recognition. The court states, for example, that I did not plausibly allege that the SPLC defendants bribed or otherwise improperly induced a National Alliance employee to turn over confidential documents. But my complaint describes in detail who was bribed or induced and when, the circumstances surrounding those events, and why they were illegal and / or unethical. The court essentially is requiring me to plead full and detailed evidentiary facts, but I cannot do that without discovery, i.e., document requests and depositions. This is not the proper pleading standard.
We live in an upside down world, so I had steeled myself for an unfavorable result. I am nonetheless disappointed in the manifest infirmity of Judge Blake’s opinion. I do not feel my claims got a fair shake.
I will appeal to the Fourth Circuit. My co-counsel, Fred Kelly, is just as defiant as I am. I will of course keep you apprised as the appeal progresses. For your continued support I am continually grateful. Here again is my website for donation purposes: https://breathing-space-for-dissent.com/
Thank you for staying with me on this endeavor. Our choices, it seems to me, are either to lie supinely on our backs or to stand on our feet and fight. You have taken the second option with me and I’m grateful for that.
Best to you all,