Angry, Threatening Lawyer Fails To Sue As Promised, Drops His SLAPP Suit
from the wise-decisions dept
A couple weeks back we wrote about the somewhat odd decision making of an angry lawyer named Jason Lee Van Dyke, whom we’d also written about years ago for some spectacularly bad lawyering. This year he’s also gotten really really pissed off at three (very different) people: Ken White, Asher Langton and Talib Kweli. The first two have appeared on Techdirt many times. Ken is a criminal defense and First Amendment lawyer. Asher has an astounding ability to sniff out frauds online. And Talib is a musical genius among other things. But, Van Dyke has spent months angrily lashing out about them on the internet (well, the lashing out at Kweli was more recent).
When we last checked in on him, he was threatening to add those three individuals — plus the Huffington Post — to a fairly obvious SLAPP suit that he had already filed in Texas against an Ohio-based publication called the Mockingbird. Lots of people had pointed out that Texas has a fairly robust anti-SLAPP law, which could lead to Van Dyke having to pay up — and Van Dyke’s response (not atypical from his earlier responses) was to lash out and threaten more lawsuits and to promise violence if he was sanctioned.
— Asher Langton (@AsherLangton) November 17, 2017
He then went so far as to contact Mockingbird’s lawyer to ask for leave to amend the existing lawsuit with the three individuals mentioned above, plus the Huffington Post (which had also written about the lawsuit).
So… despite the promises to add more names to the lawsuit, that didn’t happen. And despite the claims that he was going to just keep fighting the lawsuit… a few days later, Van Dyke agreed to dismiss the suit with prejudice, and the judge agreed. Gerry Bello at Mockingbird has a post on this as well, which reveals that Van Dyke told Bello’s lawyer that the reason for the dismissal was that his “immediate supervisor at the company where I am employed” had “instructed” Van Dyke to dismiss the case. It is not clear where Van Dyke is currently employed or who told him to do this. Van Dyke has generally held himself out as being self-employed as a lawyer.
One hopes that this is actually Van Dyke recognizing that repeated threats of both violence and lawsuits against critics is not a particularly wise idea. I’m not holding my breath that this is the case, however. In the meantime, we’ve heard from others that various bar complaints have been filed against Van Dyke, and given his actions and statements, at the very least you have to wonder how much longer he’ll be able to practice law, no matter who “employs” him.