Judge Smacks Down Another Anonymous Cop's Lawsuit Against Black Lives Matter

from the tired:-filing-RICO-suits;-wired:-suing-social-movements dept

For the second time in less than a month, a judge — the same judge — has tossed out lawsuits from anonymous law enforcement officers filed against the social movement known as Black Lives Matter. Much like the no-name cop in the other idiotic lawsuit, this anonymous cop swore up and down (as one tends to do in legal filings) Black Lives Matter was responsible for injuries he sustained during an ambush.

Judge Brian Jackson warned the unnamed plaintiff his suit was on its way to the dustbin of history shortly after tossing the first officer’s suit — one that included a hilarious attempt to hold a Twitter hashtag responsible for injuries sustained during a protest. Finding this suit to be more of the same, the judge warned the officer to start making some actual actionable claims or face dismissal. No such claims have been stated apparently, as Courthouse News Service reports.

“Based on the facts alleged, plaintiff’s counsel has failed to plead a plausible claim that defendants can be held liable for Officer Smith’s injuries,” the judge wrote in Friday’s ruling. “Instead, plaintiff’s counsel simply asserts—without pointing to any supporting facts—that the shooter was acting ‘as [‘Black Lives Matter’] leaders had directed its followers.’”

Jackson ruled that isn’t enough to assert a claim against the movement and McKesson.

He said Grodner had not shown that there was “any contact either directly or indirectly” between Black Lives Matter and the shooter, Gavin Long, a 29-year-old former Marine from Kansas City, Mo.

Gavin Long shot and killed three officers a few days after Alton Sterling was killed by Baton Rouge police officers. The anonymous officer suing Black Lives Matter was injured in the shooting. As tragic as the whole situation is, it still doesn’t justify suing a non-entity with allegations a social movement somehow pushed a person to kill and injure police officers. There’s no case to be made, as the court points out in a paragraph both devastating and succinct. From the opinion [PDF]:

All of Plaintiff’s Counsel’s allegations against Defendants suffer from the same deficiency: the facts pleaded do not give rise to a plausible inference that Defendants are liable for the conduct alleged. Plaintiff’s Counsel’s rambling Complaint focuses almost exclusively on events in other states, in other cities, and at other periods of time entirely unconnected to the shooting that gave rise to this cause of action. To the extent the Complaint describes allegations against named Defendants, such general allegations consist either of protected free speech activity or wholly conclusory statements that do not meet the plausibility standard required to survive a motion to dismiss.

Suing Black Lives Matter for being shot at by some rando criminal is like suing Blue Lives Matter every time an officer kills or wounds a citizen. Neither nebulous entity is responsible for the actions of an individual. Both are social movements incapable of being sued, even if someone could somehow provide a credible link between the movement’s rhetoric and the plaintiff’s injuries. It’s an impossible bar to reach because this sort of evidence simply does not exist.

Attorney Donna Grodner — the same attorney behind the other failed v. Black Lives Matter lawsuit — asked the court for a mulligan. Denied.

The Court finds that leave to amend would be futile. In response to the Court’s Order to Show Cause, Plaintiff’s Counsel requests the opportunity to amend the Complaint only to add more of the same: allegations against Defendants unconnected to the incident giving rise to the tragic shooting of Officer Smith. Plaintiff’s Counsel states that it can provide “more factual allegations about each of the leaders and what each has done personally in his/her role as a founder/leader to invoke violence against police . . . to provide ample evidence that the leaders and founders incited a nation to violence against police.” Notably, Plaintiff’s Counsel still does not offer to provide any facts that connect the words or actions of named Defendants to the actions of the individual who ultimately shot Officer Smith. Generalized allegations that named Defendants expressed anti-police sentiments, without temporal or causal connection to the shooting, are insufficient to state a plausible claim for relief.

Perhaps the court was already well aware of what laid ahead if it allowed Ms. Grodner to better explain herself. Here’s Judge Brian Jackson’s statement on a motion filed by Grodner in a case brought against her for professional misconduct.

The Court granted Ms. Grodner’s request, ordering that Ms. Grodner’s Response be entered as “a new docket entry.” (Doc. 3 at p. 1). Despite its styling, Ms. Grodner’s rambling 18-page pleading was largely unresponsive to the Court’s Show Cause Order, devoting significant portions to irrelevant issues, (Doc. 4 at pp. 3-4, 10-17 (discussing whether Ms. Grodner is subject to sanction for violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, 28 U.S.C. § 1927, and/or her performance in unrelated cases)), non sequiturs, (see id. at p. 14 n.17 (“The secretary, who made this error, no loner [sic] works for Ms. Grodner, because she had to leave once she was accepted into the Harvard Law School on a full scholarship.”), and ad hominem attacks, (see id. at p. 15 (“This Court, itself, is not immune from human error.”); id. at p. 15 n.21 (“The undersigned has not attempted to comb the docket of this Court to see if other human errors may be found, but suspects that there are other harmless errors.”); id. at p. 17 (“There are a couple of admitted instances of human error, but this Court itself has committed human error.”)).

That’s the second loss for Grodner in two consecutive, spectacularly bad lawsuits — both argued in front of a judge that has had his patience tested by the attorney in earlier cases. It’s unclear who’s money she’s wasting filing these suits. It could quite possibly be her own. If her anonymous cop clients were paying in full, it’s unlikely she would have attempted to crowdfund their legal offense. Her YouCaring fundraising page for the lawsuits was deleted by the platform earlier this year for violating its rules.

“In alignment with our mission, we removed this fundraiser because it was not within our community guidelines around promoting harmony,” YouCaring Chief Marketing Officer Maly Ly told PBS NewsHour Weekend in an email. “We are not the right platform to air grievances, or engage in contentious disputes or controversial public opinion.”

Hopefully, this will deter copycat lawsuits. As amusing as the judicial smackdowns are to witness, they’re a waste of everyone’s time, including this particular judge’s.

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