MyPillow CEO Sues Dominion For Violating His Company's Right To Say The Things About Election Fraud It Definitely Isn't Saying

from the [rereads-headline]-...-look,-I-just-work-here... dept

Trump supporter and pillow manufacturer Mike Lindell was among those sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems over weeks of wild allegations about voter fraud that followed Donald Trump's loss at the polls in the 2020 election. Mike Lindell and his company, MyPillow, joined such luminaries as Rudy Giuliani and former Trump legal team member Sidney Powell as a recipient of a billion-dollar libel lawsuit.

Now, Mike Lindell is fighting back. He's attempting to dismiss Dominion's lawsuit, claiming his alleged libel was nothing more than heated commentary touching on important political issues. More credibly, he's asking his company to be dismissed from the lawsuit because his company did not make any of the statements Dominion is suing over.

Less credibly, he's filed a lawsuit [PDF] of his own against Dominion, claiming that naming his company as a defendant in a lawsuit somehow violates his company's rights. Considering this suit is only supposed to be about Dominion's "silencing" of MyPillow, the complaint spends a lot of its run time trotting out supporting evidence for the claims about Dominion Lindell says his company never made.

That leads to some really weird assertions by Lindell, like the claim that naming a company in a lawsuit is an attempt to silence anyone associated with MyPillow and/or allegations of election fraud.

Dominion’s true purpose is not simply to silence Mike Lindell, but to silence anyone else who might speak out on election fraud. Thus, Dominion also sued the company Mike Lindell founded, MyPillow, and hence its hundreds of employees, some of whom are co-owners. Dominion did not sue MyPillow because MyPillow made statements about Dominion. MyPillow made no such statements. Instead, by suing MyPillow, Dominion seeks to punish MyPillow’s CEO, Mike Lindell, for his statements. Dominion also seeks to send a message to others: “Shut up or else.”

But who is Dominion shutting up? Lindell claims it's trying to silence MyPillow, even though he also claims there's nothing to be silenced.

Having never commented on the election or Dominion, MyPillow has nonetheless borne the full wrath of Dominion’s illegal campaign of intimidation.

So, the speech MyPillow isn't engaging in needs to be protected… otherwise it won't feel comfortable continuing to not offer its opinion on topics of public debate.

Dominion is using the legal process as a weapon to suppress free speech. In contrast, MyPillow brings this action to open debate and expand free speech. Indeed, MyPillow would move this entire debate to the public square for a full airing of all facts and opinions on the subject. This lawsuit is brought in support of the marketplace of ideas and to remedy the grave harm that has been suffered by MyPillow as a result of Dominion’s suppression of speech and attacks on the Company.

Now, there may be some "grave harm" to be examined, but probably not under these claims. MyPillow has lost customers due to Mike Lindell's actions (and reactions to those actions, like Dominion's libel lawsuit). But none of that can plausibly be traced to Dominion adding MyPillow as a defendant in a civil lawsuit, especially since it's likely to be dropped as a defendant once the court handles Lindell's motion to dismiss.

Then there's the question of how one private company (Dominion Voting Systems) can violate the rights of another private company (MyPillow), especially when the only thing involved at this point is a single libel lawsuit. Lindell theorizes Dominion is actually a government actor and that's how rights can be violated. But even if Dominion is considered a government actor, its government work is limited to production and support of voting software and hardware. The lawsuit brought against Lindell for defamation is not part of its government role.

What follows these accusations is a bunch of narrative that supposedly supports the claims about Dominion Lindell says MyPillow never made. Then it's back to the action, where Dominion suing a handful of people for libel is every censorial cliche all at once.

Dominion’s campaign descends from a long and sad history in this country, the McCarthy era in which lives and organizations were destroyed, and families torn apart, for being labeled a Communist. Just as during that era being associated with a suspected Communist could end a professional career, so too today, those who, like MyPillow are merely associated with a critic of Dominion and the integrity of the 2020 election, face expulsion from public life in large parts of America. Dominion is using today’s cancel culture to eliminate dissent and to cover up the election issues that compromised the 2020 result.

Oh, McCarthyism? As in Sentor Joseph McCarthy, an actual government actor? Or is this some off-brand McCarthyism that can only be waged by private contractors supplying tech to government agencies? Cancel culture should help fill out your batshit lawsuit bingo cards, although it is disappointing Lindell never chooses to refer to Dominion as "woke."

And then there's more about how much MyPillow has been harmed:

Even giant, publicly traded retailers are not immune from public opinion and political pressures. Fearing retribution in the marketplace, many of MyPillow’s commercial suppliers and buyers have as a direct result of Dominion’s crusade terminated longstanding relationships with MyPillow which were projected to grow.

If Lindell was being honest, he would understand it was his public statements that caused this to happen, not Dominion's lawsuit. The list of things that have happened to MyPillow -- including the loss of social media accounts and employees being harassed -- can be directly tied to Lindell's "heated political commentary." You know, the baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud that have yet to be proven anywhere.

This sort of thing may work in a motion to dismiss:

MyPillow has never entered the public debate about the 2020 election; again, it has made no statement about Dominion whatsoever.

But it makes absolute zero sense in a standalone lawsuit filed by MyPillow, especially when its followed by this:

Defendants’ illegal campaign to punish and silence their critics violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment as applied to the states and their political subdivisions and agents under the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

According to Lindell's own claims, MyPillow is not, nor has it ever been, a critic of Dominion. You can't sue over speech you haven't made. You can make a claim about prior restraint, but that's going to fail because Dominion isn't a government entity, nor has it secured a court order forbidding Lindell's company from "entering the public debate."

Just really amazing stuff in here:

Defendants’ reprisal actions were motivated, at least in part, by MyPillow’s and its CEO’s exercise of their free speech rights protected under the First Amendment and, as applied against the states and their political subdivisions and agents, the Fourteenth Amendment.

Again, the rights Lindell swears MyPillow isn't utilizing.

Galaxy brain litigation:

As the result of Defendants’ actions, and as expected and intended by them, Plaintiff suffered the loss of substantial property interests, including, but not limited to, loss of long-standing business relationships, loss of supplier contracts, and loss of access to promotional access in media.

Plaintiff was not provided due process in connection with the loss of its property interests caused by Defendants.

I guess Lindell is unaware of the lawsuit he's currently trying to dismiss. That litigation is due process exemplified. Dominion has made accusations. Lindell is being given the opportunity to dispute those allegations. This is literally the due process he's claiming has been denied him by Dominion's lawsuit. (Also, Dominion isn't a government entity so the rights violation claims are still utterly ridiculous even without this absurdity piled on top.)

To sum up: the claims will fail because they are terrible, but mostly because they are also being brought against a non-government entity under the theory that it's actually a government entity. I assume the judge handling this will read it as a motion to dismiss that was filed in the wrong court and kindly ask Lindell to stop wasting the court's time.

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Filed Under: 1st amendment, defamation, free speech, mike lindell, pillows
Companies: dominion, dominion voting systems, mypillow


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 9:53am

    I don’t know whether to laugh at the incompetence of the MyPillow/Lindel legal team(s) or feel sorry for everyone else who works at MyPillow.

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

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 10:00am

    Who's filing these?

    Who'se doing the legal legwork here? Are these legal briefs pro se? A three-ring circus may be a more appropriate place for this clownery than a courtroom…

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

    • icon
      Vidiot (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 10:33am

      Re: Who's filing these?

      There was a splashy article yesterday that said that Alan Dershowitz, lawyer-name-for-hire, was "of counsel" on this, and helping them sort out "First Amendment issues". Which fits just fine.

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

      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re: Who's filing these?

        Somehow, it makes perfect sense that the Dersh filed this. I could see why, seeing as Rudy Giuliani is also a separate defendant and can't be counsel to another party in a different lawsuit if that's the case (or am I wrong?)…

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re: Who's filing these?

        Somebody needs to take guardianship of the senile dotard. If his complete abandonment of the First Amendment positions he took twenty years ago isn't a sign of dementia, I don't know what would be.

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

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 6:28am

      Re: Who's filing these?

      [ pro se ? ]

      Nope. Corporations cannot appear ``pro se'' because they are not natural persons. They must be represented, and normally a non-lawyer cannot provide that representation. There are exceptions to the non-lawyer rule, but those do not apply here.

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

  • identicon
    Ian Williams, 20 Apr 2021 @ 10:18am

    The problem with arguing that the MyPillow Company didn't comment on the 2020 race, is that the MyPillow Company, -kept using the race as a marketing tool-

    “MyPillow’s defamatory marketing campaign—with promo codes like ‘FightforTrump,’ ’45,′ ‘Proof,’ and ‘QAnon’—has increased MyPillow sales by 30-40% and continues duping people into redirecting their election-lie outrage into pillow purchases,”

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

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 10:40am

    Blame Citizens United

    Corporations are people, too, they say... except for when they're something else; and when a stupid person says bad things that make his corporation look bad, is he doing harm to himself, or to his citizen-corporation, or both? And who has standing to demand recompense... the human offender, or the tarnished citizen-corporation? It's beyond talking out of both sides of your mouth; more like both ends of your alimentary canal...

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

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 10:48am

    Dominion’s campaign descends from a long and sad history in this
    country, the McCarthy era in which lives and organizations were
    destroyed, and families torn apart, for being labeled a
    Communist.

    What party was McCarthy a member of I wonder?

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

  • icon
    Khym Chanur (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 11:28am

    What follows these accusations is a bunch of narrative that supposedly supports the claims about Dominion Lindell says MyPillow never made.

    "I'm not letting this litigation privilege go to waste."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 1:58pm

      Re:

      Yet he was constantly referred to as "The CEO of MyPillow". A reasonable person would conclude Lindell was speaking as a representative of MyPillow. You can't have it both ways.

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

      • icon
        Khym Chanur (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 2:28pm

        Re: Re:

        I was answering the question "why is he including these allegations against Dominion in his lawsuit filings" with "statements made in lawsuit filings are immune to defamation claims, so he's repeating the allegations in a place he know he can't be sued for them".

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 11:33am

    Dominion’s true purpose is not simply to silence Mike Lindell, but to silence anyone else who might speak out on election fraud.

    Except Dominion isn't suing over people speaking about election fraud, but rather people lying about election fraud.

    The people who spoke out about election fraud by saying there was none of any substantial amount to affect the election outcome weren't sued.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 12:36pm

      Re:

      Very specific lies about election fraud. Not just whatever in general. Lies about Dominion.

      So, uh, Lindell's true purpose is to silence and destroy Dominion, because it is convenient to his fantasy narrative.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 2:20am

      Re:

      "Except Dominion isn't suing over people speaking about election fraud, but rather people lying about election fraud."

      Not even that. They suing over direct claims made against Dominion specifically and their supposed role in the supposed election fraud. Claims that are demonstrated to have lost Dominion business. People who lied vaguely aren't being sued, only the ones who specifically claimed that Dominion were directly responsible.

      Nobody's being "silenced", we're just seeing some cult members who didn't think of the consequences of their lies being held accountable for what they did, and being surprised that they're facing consequences for their actions.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 11:59am

    aaayyyyy

    Sentor Joseph McCarthy

    Mmm... "Senator", perhaps?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 12:48pm

    I'm just wondering if Dominion intends to sue ALL the people who parroted Trump's election fraud claims (a long list of defendants, that), or just the rich ones.

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

    • identicon
      Michael, 20 Apr 2021 @ 1:26pm

      Re:

      Obviously, in a lawsuit about your business being harmed by lies, you sue those whose lies actually caused (or had the possibility of causing) harm.

      This limits targets of Dominion's lawsuits to those with deep pockets, because the gap-toothed trogs who parroted the lies about Dominion had no effect on Dominion's business.

      Surely this isn't that hard to understand?

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 4:47pm

      Re:

      or just the rich ones.

      AKA the ones whose fame allowed them to cause harm to Dominion with their deliberate lies.

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 8:11pm

        Re: Re:

        i.e. they're probably not going to go after an anonymous troll on Techdirt that tries to dishonestly spin a narrative that Dominion is only after money.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 2:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          They're specifically suing for lost revenue as a result of the lies. It makes sense to only go after the people who had enough influence to have that happen as a result of their words.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2021 @ 8:00pm

      Re:

      Generally, people merely repeating or reporting (including reTweeting, etc.) don't become the targets of such suits, and they are pretty much dismissed when they are.

      But sure, if there are some still serious believer who continue to roll with the lies, and have enough of an audience, it would be amusing to see them sued. Why not.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 2:22am

      Re:

      The rich ones are also the ones with the largest audience and influence. It doesn't make as much sense to sue random Twitter idiot #16273 as it does to sue the guy who used major national broadcasters to spread the lies, or the comedy ex-mayor who used his position of influence to garner international attention.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 1:12pm

    Always someone else's fault with that lot...

    'It's all their fault people don't want to be associated with me and my sales dropped as a result, it has nothing to do with the fact that I supported and still support the idea of election fraud that resulted in a failed insurrection and multiple deaths!'

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

  • icon
    crazy_diamond (profile), 20 Apr 2021 @ 7:33pm

    Correct me if I'm wrong, which I probably am, but didn't the MyPillow account on Twitter get shut down because Lindell was posting the same B.S. about Dominion that got his personal account but down?

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

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 20 Apr 2021 @ 8:32pm

    On a batshit crazy scale of 1 to Giuliani, he's a solid Ted Nugent.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    restless94110 (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 4:40pm

    Saying

    So Dominion is "Definitely" not saying what Dominion is saying? Huh?
    Why is Dominion saying anything if no one is saying what has been said about Dominion for the past 10 years?

    Why would a corrupt company supported by ignorant fools think they could sue anyone when they have already been revealed for years to be corrupt?

    Why would TechDirt support these corrupt corporations? It makes no sense. Why would you want to go with this?

    It's astonishing.

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 21 Apr 2021 @ 6:07pm

      Re: Saying

      So Dominion is "Definitely" not saying what Dominion is saying? Huh?

      I see your reading comprehension is still lacking, or perhaps you are just dishonest, it's hard to tell considering your history here.

      So let me explain this as simple as possible: All the "sayings" where by the CEO of My Pillow, Mike Lidell. Dominion just sued him and his company for libel.

      Why is Dominion saying anything if no one is saying what has been said about Dominion for the past 10 years?

      They aren't saying anything, they are suing. And what has been said about Dominion for the past 10 years?

      Why would a corrupt company supported by ignorant fools think they could sue anyone when they have already been revealed for years to be corrupt?

      Do please provide some facts here, it would be sooo entertaining if you just once backed something up.

      Why would TechDirt support these corrupt corporations? It makes no sense. Why would you want to go with this?

      Just like I'm doing now, pointing out stupid shit doesn't mean you support the other party. Only fools and idiots makes that assumption.

      And that you think something is "astonishing" is only an indication of your own ignorance.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 9:31pm

      Re: Saying

      "Why would TechDirt support these corrupt corporations?"

      You're welcome to provide the missing evidence that supports the claims about Dominion any time you want. Until then, the available evidence suggests that the known liars making the claims against them are known liars, therefore there's no reason to take the claims seriously.

      Why don't you provide the evidence on which you base your own opinions? Surely it exists, because otherwise your heroes getting laughed out of court for not having any on a regular basis, but you believing them anyway makes you look rather silly.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 10:55pm

      Re: Saying

      Whined the Trumpsucker.

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


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