As Court Finally Dumps One Of Devin Nunes' Ridiculous Lawsuits (With A Warning About Sanctions), Nunes Promises To File Another

from the never-ending dept

Back in September, we wrote about Devin Nunes dropping the only lawsuit he'd filed in California against some of his critics, only to immediately file an absolute laugher of a lawsuit against Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson, alleging racketeering (RICO) claims. Nunes claimed -- ridiculously -- that he'd obtained the info he needed from the California lawsuit (where he might have faced anti-SLAPP claims) in order to file this new lawsuit. As we noted at the time, Ken "Popehat" White's usual warning of IT'S NOT RICO, DAMMIT totally applied to this new case. And, contrary to one of our more amusing commenters who insisted that this case was solid, Judge Liam O'Grady appears to have made quick work of it, dismissing it as nonsense with an incredibly short and to the point ruling (Politico first broke the news):

As presently pled, the Amended Complaint includes many rote statements of law and conclusory allegations which fall short of satisfying the pleading standard per Bell Atl. Corp. v Twombly... Thus, the instant complaint is insufficient to support a substantive ruling on these issues. Accordingly, Defendants' motion to dismiss... are hereby GRANTED.

The Twombly case is an important one in dismissing cases like this, more or less saying you can't just throw a bunch of speculation at the wall and allege a conspiracy -- you need to allege actual facts. Unsurprisingly, Devin Nunes' busy lawyer, Steven Biss, failed to do so in this lawsuit that always appeared to be about performing for Nunes and Trump supporters, rather than bringing any sort of legitimate legal claim.

The judge did make the dismissal without prejudice, meaning Biss/Nunes can refile, but Judge O'Grady did warn them that doing so without more substance may lead to Biss facing Section 11 sanctions:

Mindful of the latitude provided in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15, Plaintiff shall have thirty days from the date of this order to file a second amended complaint if he can do so pursuant to Rule 11.

I'm not sure Biss will take the hint.

In the meantime, this did not slow Nunes down from promising to sue again. The very same evening that he lost this lawsuit, Nunes went on Fox News (of course) with promises to sue the Washington Post for claiming in a story that Nunes shared with President Trump the details of a classified briefing by intelligence official Shelby Pierson to the House Intelligence Committee. As you may have heard elsewhere (if you haven't been living under a rock), Pierson apparently briefed the Committee to say that Russia was once again seeking to interfere in the US Presidential election, and that it hoped to help Trump win a second term. This briefing allegedly resulted in Trump cleaning house with a bunch of intelligence officials, and inserting friends instead.

“I don’t know what planet the Washington Post is on," Nunes said. "But they’ll have an opportunity in federal court in the next couple weeks to explain who their sources are, because I’m going to have to take them to court because I didn't go to the White House. I didn't talk to President Trump, Harris. So, this is the same garbage."

Remember back when Rep. Nunes claimed he was a free speech supporter?

Filed Under: anti-slapp, devin nunes, glenn simpson, liam o'grady, rico, slapp, slapp suits, steven biss
Companies: fusion gps, washington post


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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 24 Feb 2020 @ 10:58am

    Nunes: The Derp State runs very derp!!

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

  • identicon
    bobob, 24 Feb 2020 @ 11:08am

    Warnings that never result in action are useless. Abusive lawsuits won't slow down until actual sanctions are imposed.

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

    • identicon
      David, 24 Feb 2020 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      Warnings that never result in action are useless.

      That's the point of an abusive lawsuit. It is an action.

      Our tomcat loses every single fight he picks with a comparatively large stray. That does not keep him from doing it time and again. It is paying a price for being respected. And yes, she does stay clear of him if she can manage.

      A belligerent loser still maintains better standing than a quivering loser. Because warnings that never result in action are useless.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2020 @ 11:30am

      'I'm warning you, you are this close to a finger wagging...'

      Sadly true, warning him that they might think about at some point considering some sort of penalty for his abuse of the legal system is about as likely to cause him to care as wagging their finger at him and making disapproving faces. Judges in cases like this either need to bring down the hammer or drop the facade and admit up front that they don't give a damn what their court is used for.

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

    • icon
      wshuff (profile), 24 Feb 2020 @ 4:05pm

      Re:

      You don’t typically see a judge impose Rule 11 sanctions when dismissing a case. But the fact that this judge has raised the possibility if Nunes/Biss file another deficient complain chock full of nonsense makes it far more likely that he’ll do so. And because he’s put plaintiff on notice, you can best believe that the defense will be ready to request sanctions. The good news is I’m not convinced Biss has it in him to draft a pleading that won’t run afoul of Rule 11.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 11:45am

    As sure as the sun will rise and how a broken clock is right twice a day, another Devin Nunes lawsuit will be inevitably filed.

    I think this guy needs an intervention...

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2020 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      If by 'intervention' you mean 'benchslap, hefty fine, and warning that if he keeps using the legal system for PR stunts then the fines will keep getting bigger' then yes, very much.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 12:02pm

      Re:

      It's a case of I can keep on losing longer than you can keep on winning, so give up criticizing me.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Feb 2020 @ 5:47am

      Re:

      "I think this guy needs an intervention..."

      Leading the guy gently by the hand and keeping him away from the legal system isn't going to be as easy as keeping a substance abuser away from the bottle, toke or needle though.

      Or as legitimate. No matter how much I'd appreciate seeing Nunes locked in a small room where he wouldn't be able to file legal complaints.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 24 Feb 2020 @ 12:05pm

    Nunes Promises To File Another

    Woohoo! I'm selling tickets to watch the train wreck!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 12:24pm

    A search engine publishing search results culled from my name is violating my right to publicity, one of the exceptions to Section 230 (Intellectual Property).

    People who want their name searched should get paid by those who make money off these searches.

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

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 26 Feb 2020 @ 4:26pm

      Re:

      1. That has absolutely nothing to do with this article.

      2. The right to publicity isn’t part of the “intellectual property rights” exception to §230, which only covers patents, copyright, and (possibly) trademarks. Publicity rights are a completely separate area of law.

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

  • icon
    Goddamnedmiracleofmodernscience (profile), 24 Feb 2020 @ 12:42pm

    Devin Nunes

    Cannot help but wonder who is funding Nunes’ plethora of law suits. Presumably Steven Biss does not work for free. Enquiring minds want to know!

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 24 Feb 2020 @ 12:48pm

    Nunes a free-speech supporter

    In the same way that he's an athletic supporter??

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 1:24pm

    You'd think such stupid behavior with respect to the legal system would disqualify one from being a legislator.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2020 @ 2:04pm

      Re:

      Right?! Sadly, this will only serve to guarantee he gets reelected by the morons who elected him in the first place. As long as his name is in the news and "those filthy liberals" don't like him he's good enough for office.

      We need to eliminate parties to help force people to make their own choices, or at least stop making them based on the color ribbon a candidate wears.

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

      • identicon
        David, 24 Feb 2020 @ 4:19pm

        Re: Re:

        We need to eliminate parties to help force people to make their own choices, or at least stop making them based on the color ribbon a candidate wears.

        Sounds like you didn't get the memo. It's not the color ribbon separating people making different choices any more (if ever it was). It's the news anchors they watch. You could eliminate parties today, and politicians and populace would still neatly separate into factions hating each other and not understanding how the others can be so stupid and naïve in face of the prolifically reported facts.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 24 Feb 2020 @ 6:50pm

        Re: Re:

        That's not only not possible but I'm pretty sure even trying would run smack into the first amendment with regards to freedom of association. You can't keep people from forming/joining groups, such that while current two political parties are a mess for different reasons all you'd accomplish by breaking them up is that people would form new groups and you'd be right back to square one.

        It's certainly an understandable frustration, but the execution of the idea isn't really viable.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 25 Feb 2020 @ 5:49am

        Re: Re:

        "We need to eliminate parties to help force people to make their own choices, or at least stop making them based on the color ribbon a candidate wears."

        Can't be done and won't help even if it could be done.

        The problem of democracy is simple; When people are, by and large, being herds of easily led sheep, the system breaks down.

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

  • icon
    klarg (profile), 24 Feb 2020 @ 5:04pm

    Undercover Bovine

    Devin Nunes, politician and alleged dairy farmer, may not have passed information to Trump, but what about Devin Nunes - Secret Agent Man?

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

  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 24 Feb 2020 @ 6:15pm

    Nunes and Biss....rapidly becoming the Steele and Hansmeier of SLAP suits.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2020 @ 2:27am

    Judgement

    Paraphrasing patient judge:

    You obviously dont know how to lawyer (hint: I'm the judge and I do know about this). If you can demonstrate that you've learnt how to lawyer in 30 days, go for it. But dont waste our time again.

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


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