Judge Tells Coal Boss Bob Murray The Judicial Equivalent Of 'Eat Shit, Bob'

from the eat-shit,-bob dept

Remember Bob Murray? He's the Ohio-based coal mining CEO who threatened and then sued John Oliver and HBO over this fun episode of Oliver's show, Last Week Tonight, which discussed the ridiculousness of our President's focus on "coal jobs." However, it also spent a fair bit of time talking about Bob Murray, Murray Energy, and how his actions did not appear to support actual coal miners. A prominent part of the story features the phrase (originally written by a coal miner at Murray Energy as part of the process to void a bonus check) "Eat Shit, Bob."

As we noted, this was an obvious SLAPP suit with a bunch of ridiculous claims. On top of that, Murray and Murray Energy also sought an injunction silencing Oliver and HBO, which was classic prior restraint. There was some procedural back-and-forth as HBO sought to remove the case to federal court, which failed. State courts can be more of a crap shoot, but this was such an obvious SLAPP suit that it does not appear to have mattered at all.

On Friday, the judge sent a letter to the various parties which I would say is the judicial equivalent of telling Bob and his lawyers to "Eat Shit." The letter makes it clear that the judge is going to dismiss the case, and agrees entirely with the arguments HBO made in its motion to dismiss:

The Court adopts, with little exception, Defendants' arguments in support of their Motion regarding all issues addressed in the same.

This is not the official order, but that should be coming soon. The judge has asked HBO's lawyers to "prepare and forward a proposed Order, including findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting the Court's ruling. The same shall be forwarded within 20 days via email in Microsoft Word format to the Court..." and gives his own email address. Admittedly, that feels a little lazy on the part of the judge to basically ask the prevailing party to write his order, but I'm sure HBO's lawyers are thrilled with the opportunity to make sure it says exactly what they want. I've seen parties submit "proposed orders" before -- and have seen judge's sign off on them -- but don't recall seeing a judge so directly ask for such a proposed order.

Either way, it's a pretty quick and complete win for Oliver and HBO. Of course, if West Virginia actually had an anti-SLAPP law (spoiler alert: it doesn't), then HBO could also make Murray pay their legal fees (including the fees they'll charge for drafting the order dismissing the case). But, unfortunately, that's not the case here. I'm still hoping that this now encourages Oliver to do an episode on anti-SLAPP laws, because it's a topic that could certainly use his brand of exploration. In the meantime, Oliver did very briefly address the issue on his show last night, saying that now was not the time to discuss or gloat as the dismissal was not yet final (though promising he would address it in the future). Of course, while he was saying that, the human-dressed-in-a-squirrel costume, better known as, Mr. Nutterbutter, held up a sign saying "Eat Shit, Bob!" HBO hasn't put this clip on its YouTube page for me to embed, but here's a screenshot:

Filed Under: anti-slapp, bob murray, defamation, eat shit bob, john oliver, mr. nutterbutter, slapp
Companies: hbo, murray energy


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  • icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 12:24pm

    My favorite part of this segment remains the fact that HBO cited previous rulings against Murray Energy in their case against Murray Energy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:15am

      Re:

      Mike Masnick either subscribes to HBO or he pirates it.

      We’ll all assume what he does unless he declares otherwise...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:38am

        Re: Re:

        Umm, try neither?

        You do realize HBO posts all his shows on Youtube for free for anyone to watch, right?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 7:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          >> You do realize HBO posts all his shows on Youtube for free for anyone to watch, right?

          Both their free offerings and Mike's discussion here got me to add HBO to my SlingTV.

          While HBO still sucks when it comes to fighting against the future, their posting of parts of Last Week Tonight to youtube for free is proof that they are a little better than everyone else when realizing that free can bring in far more money than locking everything up.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 10:57am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, but they haven’t posted this one yet, so where did Mike get the screen grab?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 11:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, if you must know, imgur. Because that's literally where that photo link goes to.

            More generally, try anywhere on the internet? Seriously, this screenshot is all over the internet right now.

            And considering it's linked from imgur, and since it is the exact same frame as the screenshots a lot of other media outlets are using, Mike probably didn't even grab the screenshot himself.

            So yeah, what were you saying about assuming?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 11:43am

        Re: Re:

        Why was this post censored?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 11:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Because the AC is a known troll who tries to use anything and everything to attack Mike and this site. Despite the fact that he frequently gets every single fact wrong and has to do mental gymnastics to try to make the facts fit his argument.

          In this case, he was implying that Mike is a pirate.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 12:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The post was not censored, it is just flagged.
          If you want to see it, just click on the 'show' link and it will be displayed.
          After that you can rate it, as I did (in my case i click on the red "flag")

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 12:49pm

    according to the segment (there is at least one on Youtube, but not going to link as it's not HBO's page), he WILL discuss this case, at length, whether you want him to or not. Which will most definitely touch on SLAPP suits in general, but probably more specific to his case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 27 Feb 2018 @ 9:36am

      Re:

      We'll see. I think this direct experience is a possible springboard to a discussion about the general topic (much like how his 401(k) episode was the result of dealing with 401(k) accounts for the show's employees). It would be a great discussion to have.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SirWired, 26 Feb 2018 @ 12:49pm

    Having HBO write the order is standard

    It's perfectly normal for a judge to ask a prevailing party to draft the official order and submit for the judge's approval.

    The order itself is just a formality, and doesn't contain commentary, analysis, etc. and the judge must sign off on it for it to be entered.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      cpt kangarooski, 26 Feb 2018 @ 1:22pm

      Re: Having HBO write the order is standard

      Yes, it is super common to have the prevailing party write an order. Remember, the order has to hew closely to what the court granted based on the pleadings and transcript; if you tried to get away with anything, the other side would notice and raise it with the judge. Basically it’s just a way of letting the court save itself some time while ensuring that the party that knows best what it wanted and what was granted will shoulder the load.

      I’ve frequently done this for judges in my cases.

      Also, remember, an order is very straightforward. Opinions are not farmed out like that. They get farmed out to clerks working for the court.

      Personally, the laziest thing I’ve seen was a judge who would just write “granted” or “denied” on the motion and enter it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:16pm

        Re: Re: Having HBO write the order is standard

        Same. You're lucky to get a few handwritten notes. I always carried a proposed order with me whenever I went to court, as well, just in case the other side really pissed off the judge.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 12:50pm

    It would be even funnier if Mr. Nutterbutter was hugging Ms Streisand while both held the sign. Ahem.

    It's only free speech when you don't have to pay for the privilege of engaging in it. What would have happened if he went after the miner who first coined this marvel? HBO has the pocket. The miner probably not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 12:54pm

    Also of note is that the judge is instructing the proposed order to dismiss the case with prejudice... I feel like this letter is the judge's polite way of saying "Get this crap out of my sight and keep it that way."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 2:17pm

      Re:

      It's already being appealed, and that submission is likely to be A Thing of Beauty.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        DB (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 4:14pm

        Re: Re: Already being appealed?

        Do you have a cite on the appeal?

        Lawyers telling the press that they would appeal takes little effort.

        Writing an appeal takes far more effort. It's much more than writing "we want a do-over" and paying a filing fee. The weaker the case, the harder to find precedent that supports a claim of error.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Madd the Sane (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 6:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Already being appealed?

          Watch their response be the equivalent of a "we want a do-over." Considering their intelligence so far, I wouldn't put it past them.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    An Onymous Coward (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 12:56pm

    All I can say is "Eat shit, Bob."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 1:05pm

    Eat shit Blue!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 1:05pm

    Coal worker laughing his ass off?

    Someone should interview the worker who wrote "Eat Shit Bob!" on the bonus check. He has to be laughing his ass off over this!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 1:20pm

      Re: Coal worker laughing his ass off?

      He's probably laughing his ass off, but I'd imagine he's probably better off not involved in any of this directly. As some one else mentioned, while HBO has the resources to shoot down these frivolous cases, your average miner probably doesn't.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Machin Shin, 26 Feb 2018 @ 1:27pm

        Re: Re: Coal worker laughing his ass off?

        Yeah, he probably doesn't have resources to fight it, but if he was brought into the spotlight people would donate the money for him to fight it. He would probably also get lots of job offers at much better jobs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 2:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: Coal worker laughing his ass off?

          "but if he was brought into the spotlight people would donate the money for him to fight it. He would probably also get lots of job offers at much better jobs."

          Possibly. But that still a lot of potential stress, attention, and time spent which I imagine a lot of people don't want to deal with.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jinxed (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:31am

      Re: Coal worker laughing his ass off?

      Doubt it. Oliver's segment also covered how Murray's mines are prone to safety violations.

      If he is laughing, it's probably to expel the black dust in his lungs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 1:48pm

    Admittedly, that feels a little lazy on the part of the judge to basically ask the prevailing party to write his order, but I'm sure HBO's lawyers are thrilled with the opportunity to make sure it says exactly what they want.

    I hope that Mr. Nutterbutter is credited for crafting the proposed orders.

    Well, one of them anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 26 Feb 2018 @ 2:23pm

    “The same shall be forwarded within 20 days via email in Microsoft Word format to the Court...”

    Would ISO 26300 be acceptable, given that Microsoft is supposed to support it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 2:44pm

      Re: “The same shall be forwarded within 20 days via email in Microsoft Word format to the Court...”

      Knowing some courts, he means Word 4.0. ;)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      takitus (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 3:59pm

      Re: “The same shall be forwarded within 20 days via email in Microsoft Word format to the Court...”

      Yeah, that part of the letter was facepalm-worthy. We’ve finally nailed Microsoft to something like an open standard, and it would be nice if government officials wouldn’t implicitly demand people buy their stupid software.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Mars, 26 Feb 2018 @ 4:23pm

        Microsoft Word format

        I create documents in LibreOffice and save a copy in word format for people who are unable to use ISO standard formats.

        There is no need for Microsoft software.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 5:54am

        Re: Re: “The same shall be forwarded within 20 days via email in Microsoft Word format to the Court...”

        More like we got Microsoft ram a fake open standard down our throats.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 3:07pm

    i really like this oliver guy. hope he and hbo outfit can get their legal costs covered by this dope.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 7:05pm

    No, Murray WON in stopping more attacks. He raised the cost higher.

    Law often works to the good even without a trial. You know why defamation suits are rather rare? -- Because the risks are significant. Now and then some British serf backed by a major corporation will go too far, and get smacked, but bet it'll be a long time before they dare again.

    By the way, you don't see Masnick publishing any more attacks, do you? -- No, because he got taught that there may be BIG consequences.

    Chilling speech is actually good for society. Masnick and Oliver only harm with their speech.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 7:28pm

      "Chilling speech is actually good for society"

      Is this a troll? I can't tell. Definitely in the Poe threshold.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:48am

        Re: "Chilling speech is actually good for society"

        Whatever it is, it's clearly hallucinating, as it as it mentioned more attacks, as if any actually existed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 7:00pm

        Re: "Chilling speech is actually good for society"

        I think it's a sign we should continue reporting him.

        After all, he believes it to be actually good.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 8:09pm

      Re: No, Murray WON in stopping more attacks. He raised the cost higher.

      Eat shit blue!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2018 @ 9:57pm

      Re: No, Murray WON in stopping more attacks. He raised the cost higher.

      Out of the blue wants so desperately to be the face getting stomped on forever, in Orwell’s 1984.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Killercool (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 10:05pm

        Re: Re: No, Murray WON in stopping more attacks. He raised the cost higher.

        Face stomped? No!

        You forgot, "freedom is slavery."

        Blue is the most free person around here. That's why he can see the truth, that "ignorance is strength," otherwise, how could he have the strength to harass a board for, oh, seven years?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 1:14am

      Re:

      You know why defamation suits are rather rare?

      You keep gunning for funniest comment of the week, blue. It's a shame your reputation precedes yourself, so people know that you're being serious.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:09am

      Re: No, Murray WON in stopping more attacks. He raised the cost higher.

      No, Murray WON in stopping more attacks. He raised the cost higher.

      You're so right.

      John Oliver should've just kept his mouth shut. Then Murray wouldn't have won.

      Dumbass.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 6:47am

      Re: No, Murray WON in stopping more attacks. He raised the cost higher.

      How did he win? The judge literally told him "you can't sue people for that", and told Oliver "keep on trucking sir". And to prove it, Oliver even had the squirrel come back with a sign saying "Eat shit Bob!". Obviously he is NOT worried about further cost or retaliation.

      Also, Mike didn't get taught anything except that he was right all along. He even wrote about it. And I don't see any change in his writings proving otherwise. There are plenty of articles that would qualify as "attacks" in your mind.

      Chilling speech is actually good for society. Masnick and Oliver only harm with their speech.

      You're a moron and a fool. If you think that then you must absolutely love Russia, China, and North Korea. They must be the paragons of society to you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 26 Feb 2018 @ 7:22pm

    Maybe the problem is that Bob eats too much shit. Perhaps he might discover his human side with a better diet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Feb 2018 @ 7:30am

    Good, but could have been better

    While it's nice that the case is almost certainly dead, would have been even better if Murray was actually punished for bringing such a blatantly obvious SLAPP suit.

    Maybe if he actually had to pay out for trying to shut people up a few times he'd be more hesitant in trying to do so(probably not, but one can hope).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Qwertygiy, 27 Feb 2018 @ 11:44am

      Re: Good, but could have been better

      Absolutely, anti-SLAPP laws are an important thing that more states should have.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 27 Feb 2018 @ 3:08pm

        Re: Re: Good, but could have been better

        A federal one would be ideal.

        It's hard to imagine one getting passed by our current president, but on the other hand, he is utterly lacking in self-awareness. "A ban on frivolous lawsuits? Sounds great! Now when are we going to open up our libel laws?"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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