Laura Loomer Owes $124k In Legal Fees After Losing Lawsuit Over Having Her Twitter Account Reported And Banned
from the $124,000-more-expensive-than-just-letting-the-ban-ride dept
Alt-right “personality” (I guess?) Laura Loomer keeps filing lawsuits and losing them. Loomer seems to believe it’s legally actionable to be moderated by social media services. No court has agreed with her. Between Section 230 and the First Amendment, Loomer doesn’t have a case. Oblique approaches — like claiming getting kicked off Twitter is tortious interference in a (nonexistent) business relationship (Loomer and Twitter, according to Loomer, but definitely not according to Twitter) — haven’t been any more successful.
Grasping at straws and switching attorneys in midstream hasn’t helped matters. This case involved Loomer trying to sue CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relationships) and Twitter in Florida, claiming CAIR’s reporting of her Twitter account tortiously interfered with Loomer’s get-rich-quick plan of being extremely extremist online. It only took six pages for a federal judge to dismiss Loomer’s baseless claims.
By the time that dismissal happened, it was too late for Loomer. Seven months after the lawsuit was filed (in October 2019), CAIR approached Loomer and suggested a settlement under Florida state law — one that would have been much cheaper for Loomer. Loomer refused. That has turned out to be a very expensive decision. (h/t Techdirt reader Thad)
The court [PDF] says the offer of judgment complied with Florida law and could have provided Loomer a quicker, cheaper way to step away from her doomed litigation. Loomer argued the offer wasn’t proper because she was seeking injunctive relief in addition to monetary damages. A judgment offer would obviously have short-circuited injunctive relief. But the court points out Loomer only mentioned an injunction in the complaint and never bothered to follow up on seeking this particular form of relief.
I find that the true relief sought against the CAIR Defendants in the Amended Complaint was only monetary damages and that the Amended Complaint makes only a “passing reference” to equitable relief. The only equitable relief directly mentioned in Plaintiffs’ complaint is a summary request for “preliminary and permanent injunctions to prevent defendants from continuing their unlawful conduct.” ECF No. 1-2, at 41. During the 8 1/2 month period between the filing of the Amended Complaint (March 3, 2019) and the District Court’s dismissal order (November 19, 2019), Plaintiffs never filed a motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order. This evidence circumstantially shows that Plaintiffs were not actually pursuing equitable relief. And, in addition to Plaintiffs not seeking an injunction, the Amended Complaint is framed in terms of monetary damage; it repeatedly and exclusively alleges economic harm to Plaintiffs “in an amount to be proved at trial.”
Monetary it is! But not the way Loomer hoped. After doing some back-of-the-filing-envelope math bringing hourly rates down from their DC levels (where CAIR is HQed) to Florida levels (where the lawsuit was originally filed), the court has some bad news for a plaintiff who arguably doesn’t have enough cash on hand to buy new tires.
Accordingly, Defendants’ Motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Plaintiffs shall reimburse Defendants:
Attorneys’ Fees: $123,761.65 allocated as follows:
CAIR Foundation, Inc. $117,297.90
CAIR Florida, Inc. $6,463.75
That’s how much being this wrong costs someone who’s so sure they’re right they blow off a cheaper offer made months before the attorneys’ fees really started racking up. I don’t know how many people are still interested in Loomers’ windmill tilts, but I have to imagine an eighth of a million puts a pretty good dent in her legal warchest.