Defamation

Dominion Makes Good on Threat to File Defamation Suit Against Mike Lindell

The election systems company is taking its fight to the conspiratorial My Pillow CEO.

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As threatened, U.S. Dominion Inc., the parent company of Dominion Voting Systems, filed a $1 billion-plus defamation suit against MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell in federal court in the District of Columbia. This follows on prior suits filed against Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

The complaint, which admittedly presents Dominion's case in the strongest light possible, is quite powerful. Strategically, the complaint focuses on comments made by Lindell after Attorney General William Barr dismissed claims of widespread election fraud. This will make it more difficult for Lindell to claim that he had no reason to know that some of his conspiratorial claims about Dominion were false.

Dominion's attorneys had sent a cease-and-desist and record preservation letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell last month, demanding that he stop repeating false and unfounded allegations against Dominion and retain communications with others about such claims, but the warning went unheeded. As I noted here, Lindell was uncowed by the threatened suit.  At the time he said he hoped Dominion would sue so that he could have the opportunity to substantiate his claims. Earlier this month, Lindell purchased time on One America News to air his "Absolute Proof," a falsehood-riddled "documentary" purporting to show evidence of widespread voter fraud and foreign interference in the 2020 election.

Lindell is still not backing down. Reached today by NBC News, Lindell maintained that position, saying "I am so happy today that they finally sued me. . . . It gives me a voice, because none of you guys talk to me." We'll see whether he feels the same way once he's had the chance to speak with his lawyers.

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  1. I would imagine an easy first defense is to note that elections are a clear matter of public concern. So the comments are subject to the same high bar that elected officials are.

    Which means you have to prove malicious intent, right? Now, I’d imagine Dominion has enough evidence to clear this very very high bar, but I dont think it is or should be as clear cut as its being made out to be.

    And in any event Dominion should be held to a much higher bar for defamation than say, the local bakery. Otherwise the matter of public concern doctrine doesn’t mean much does its? So I dont think that point is seriously contested anyhow.

    And again while they might meet the high bar for defamation if he has a good defense lawyer it will certainly be interesting.

    1. Which means you have to prove malicious intent, right?

      No, but don’t feel bad. You made a very common error that results from the Supreme Court’s confusing terminology.

      Dominion would have to show “actual malice”, which isn’t malicious intent even though it sounds like it. It’s making a statement you either know is false or where you deliberately disregard evidence of its falsehood.

      So, for instance, if I know X didn’t murder anyone and I say “X murdered Y”, that’s a statement made with knowledge of falsity.

      If I maybe am not 100 percent sure X didn’t murder Y, but I know that there were extensive investigations of the murder of Y that concluded that X had what appears to be an airtight alibi and that someone else did it, and I say “X murdered Y”, that’s a statement made with reckless disregard for the truth.

      But it has nothing to do with whether X bears Y ill will.

      1. Actual malice is knowledge of falsity. That requires mind reading. You may have a wrong idea, but are sincere about its being true. You are immune.

        Mind reading is a supernatural power attributed to God, not to man, according to the 13th Century Catholic catechism from which it was plagiarized. Not even the Medieval Church believed man could read minds. Only the dumbass, rent seeking lawyer believes in mind reading. This psycho belongs to the most toxic occupation in the nation, 10 times more toxic than organized crime. It must crushed to save our nation.

        1. Actual malice does not require knowledge of falsity.

          And the legal system (not just defamation law) depends on determining a person’s mental state, as it absolutely should and must.

    2. To pick another nit, the doctrine depends on whether the defamed party is a “public figure”, not on whether the statements involve a matter of public concern. Otherwise we would all be free to publicly accuse one another of being murderers, since the public certainly has a legitimate interest in identifying murderers.

      That said, Dominion will very likely be considered at least a limited public figure in this situation and so will still have to show that badly misnamed “actual malice” by the defendant.

    3. I’m thinking it may be an attempt to get Dominion to provide evidence that the allegations are false, which apparently he doesn’t think think they have. Or to gain access to their information to try to prove that they do indeed have flaws.

      Should be interesting to see how this goes no matter which way it ends up going.

      1. Discovery will be the shoals upon which Lindell´s claims or truth, or Dominion´s claims of knowing falsehood or reckless disregard for truth or falsity, founder. The rejection by scores pf courts of claims of misconduct by Dominion bodes ill for Lindell.

        1. Can you advert to any cases in which a trial on the merits was conducted amongst the courts to which you refer?

          1. Can you advert to any cases which had merits?

  2. Suing for ONE BILLION DOLLARS is a real Dr. Evil move.

    How do they even hope to demonstrate that kind of damages? It makes them look entirely frivolous.

    1. I’m not a big fan of the ridiculously massive damages numbers in complaints (glares at Devin Nunes who has made even more ridiculous damages claims), but I think if proved, the damages could be significant, since accepting the lies, or more importantly excepting that the lies are out there and cause controversy that is best avoided, they will lose massive amounts of business. 1.3 billion? Doubtful. Some large figure over $100 million? Entirely possible.

      1. Couldn’t he file a countersuit against Dominion claiming lost My Pillow revenues because they libeled him?

        1. Sure. But that would probably be stupid.

          1. As stupid as saying that “FightforTrump” is an example of defamatory marketing?

            As stupid as claiming Lindell spent his last $2M on advertisements on Fox News, citing an article that says nothing of the sort?

            As stupid as claiming $651M in compensatory damages from one guy that almost everyone to the left of Trump thinks is a crank?

            Dominion seems to have “stupid” well-covered in this complaint.

            1. I’m not sure I see why the DC court is the one to file in though.

        2. Litigation is immune. He can sue later for a misuse of a civil procedure. That is even harder to prove than anything. The lawyer profession is protecting its racket from any accountability.

          1. “He can sue later for a misuse of a civil procedure.”
            No such thing. “Abuse of process” also does not work.

          2. They libeled him before they filed, he suffered damages (Kohl’s & BB&B dropping his product) before they filed. That’s actual damages as a direct result of Dominion’s speech.

        3. I’d go the SLAPP route, personally.

          1. But DC is not (yet) a state and hence doesn’t have a state SLAPP statute. I am wondering why the DC jurisdiction for speech that was uttered elsewhere, but IANAL…

            An interesting question: Should DC become a state, what will be the jurisdictional issues for speech that is uttered, say, inside the White House???

            NB: Remember that right now the entire DC government exists under a license from Congress…

            1. If a new state was created, the federal government would probably retain a smaller federal district inside that state comprising the White House, Capitol, and Supreme Court, at least.

              1. But where would it draw its jury pool from?

              2. Which, constitutionally, would still have 3 electoral votes. Some homeless guy camping out on the Mall would end up very influential.

            2. DC absolutely has an anti-SLAPP statute, you drooling simpleton.

              https://code.dccouncil.us/dc/council/code/sections/16-5502.html

              1. I didn’t realize that the DC Self Governance Act extended to the authority to make rules for Section III Federal Courts — although apparently it does.

                1. The law you just made up?

        4. Sure, but since there’s no reasonable basis to think that Dominion did in fact libel him, that doesn’t seem like an especially productive line of action.

        5. Couldn’t he file a countersuit against Dominion claiming lost My Pillow revenues because they libeled him?

          No.

      2. Bah. ACCEPTING

  3. Discovery and the interrogatives be a blast. I hope it’s a public show trial.

  4. I want to know how they named My Pillow as a co-defendant.

    And there is the *very* interesting case of Windham, NH which will be damn hard to explain. Dominion owns the intellectual property.

    https://patch.com/new-hampshire/windham/sununu-state-wont-let-windham-voting-irregularity-slip

  5. This is just more lawfare and harassment by the Deep State. The judge should be impeached for allowing such a case to proceed. End all judge immunities, so the judge may be sued for judge malpractice.

    1. I can’t wait to hear your takes when the verdicts start rolling in against Lindell, etc.

      1. Don’t know about verdicts, but I have a feeling this might actually make it all the way to trial, which would signal an unusually strong (i.e. not Devin Nunes) case.

  6. I have to disagree with the claim that it’s a strong case. The fact that Barr claimed there was no fraud found holds little weight when you take two things into account.

    First, there’s the simple matter that disagreement exists. A person looking at the same evidence can disagree with Barr’s conclusions. It’s not the word of God. It’s the judgement of a man, and so the “known or should have known it was false” does not apply in the same way that it would to an objective, knowable fact.

    Second, a conspiracy. There was a widespread coalition of public and private persons that Time Magazine has proven to exist and openly bragged about many underhanded tricks to ensure the “correct result” of the election(their words, not mine). However, at the time, many social media companies were actively censoring discussion of such. At the time, the extent of this was widely suspected but unknown. Believing that a known and proven conspiracy has reached further than it actually did isn’t unreasonable. Certainly not enough to overcome the notoriously strict “actual malice” standard.

    1. Time Magazine ran a conspiracy? Bragged about it?

      Sir, I think you’ll find that known and proven in your imagination is a different thing from known and proven in a court of law.

      1. Dude, this was in all the headlines and front page of Time magazine. Aside from framing all of it in a positive light, it’s practically identical to what “conspiracy theorists” were being censored for saying in the weeks leading up to the election.

        1. I see nothing in that Time article about hacking voting machines, or trucking in bagsful of forged ballots, or Hugo Chavez. I do see a concerted effort to fight Trump’s misinformation, and to educate the public to expect that the vote counts wouldn’t be final on election night. That’s the conspiracy the article describes, a conspiracy to defend the integrity of the election and the public’s confidence in the process.

          Anyone can read it for themselves on Time’s website.

          1. You are misunderstanding what they need to prove in order to get defamation. This isn’t a balance of who is right and who is wrong.

            Dominion has to prove
            1: He was wrong
            2: He either knew he was wrong and brazenly lied
            or
            2b: He was so willfully ignorant that he could not reasonably avoid the fact he was wrong and continued to brazenly lie.

            That fact that there was a conspiracy makes public refutation questionable as a measure of knowable truth, especially at the time in the heat of the moment.

            There was certainly enough evidence to question things, and a substantial portion of people genuinely believed in the theories. The fact that there was active suppression of any discussion of this on many platforms can easily lead people to infer that things were worse than they said.

            As many people have repeatedly said. If there wasn’t any malfeasance, the pro-Biden coalition was doing there darndest to make it seem like there was a lot to hide.

            Therefore, I don’t think that “Barr said it was okay” passes the muster of item 2b above to clear the actual malice standard, which is almost impossibly hard.

            1. So you reckon he’ll be using an article that details efforts to keep the election safe and secure to prove that the election was stiolen. No, wait, that does seem like something this lot WOULD do.

        2. Ah yes, the ‘framing of it in a positive light.’ For balance, the Fdrlst changed it to a negative light by the simple process of fucking lying.

  7. Barr claims there no evidence. I s he going to divulge what he actually did?

    Also per the Dominion SW manual does allow you to flip votes, upload or download and election results, connect to the internet and have weighted elections.

    All of these “features” could be used to commit fraud. Were they? Do the machines have their activity logs still intact? Also are there SW back doors? Will Dominion open up their SW ?

    If I had an important case I would first look at the Reason lawyers and make sure I didn’t hire them.

    1. I’d read their posts and then plan on doing exactly what they recommend not doing, given that they have lost their collective minds.

    2. As I understand it, the machines are used to count paper ballots. A voter fills in a paper ballot, feeds it into the machine and the machine counts how many votes each candidate received. The paper ballots are saved as a back up and a check on the machine results. If you don’t trust the machine to correctly tally how many votes your candidate received, you can request a hand count of the actual paper ballots. If the paper ballots match the machine results then you know the results were accurate.

      Can you explain how your suspicions about the machines can be reconciled with my description of how i believe the machines are used? Do you have a different understanding of how the machines are used?

      1. In my state they use both machines that take paper ballots and machines where your input is just touch screen/that do not use paper. When one shows up to vote one is directed to a machine but can request to switch (to paper record/away from paper record). I know of no study that has looked at whether there are significant differences in the percentages that candidates receive from each type of machine

    3. At least in Georgia, where a number of the accusations have centered, hand audits were done, which confirmed the machine results. Michigan also did a hand audit. And those audits were done and publicly reported prior to many of the accusations of the machines switching votes.

  8. If this case even comes close to succeeding, it will utterly chill any discussion of irregularities or concerns about these voting machines.

    It is well known in the hacker community that voting machines may be vulnerable (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/defcon-hackers-voting-machines_n_5b70f6b8e4b0ae32af994290), and the closed nature of the code doesn’t instill much further confidence.

    1. I wonder if they’ve had 3rd party testing for how secure they are, and if they have any of the security certifications that are often looked for regarding systems that companies want to know are secure further than just the providers say so. If not, then it’s definitely a reasonable take. If they can get a cybersecurity expert in there to talk about that stuff, Dominion may well be hosed if they don’t have those certifications for security.

      1. As far as I know, they do have internal testing … but the tests and their results are secret (national security or something). This is about as useful as the TSA tests (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tsa-fails-95-percent-tests-homeland-security_n_7485558).

      2. Are you suggesting that if you got an expert in to speculate on what could have happened, that would relieve Lindell of any obligation to produce evidence it did happen?

        1. Are you suggesting that if you got an expert in to speculate on what could have happened, that would relieve Lindell of any obligation to produce evidence it did happen?

          What makes you think that Lindell is under any obligation to produce any such evidence?

          1. There’s a lawsuit.

            You don’t get to just make something up and argue it’s not defamatory because it’s not impossible.

            1. Gee…and here I thought the plaintiff was under the obligation to show that the claim is not only untrue, but also that the defendant either knew it to be untrue or demonstrated reckless disregard for the truth.

              That does not constitute an obligation on the part of the defendant to produce evidence.

              1. Gee…and here I thought the plaintiff was under the obligation to show that the claim is not only untrue, but also that the defendant either knew it to be untrue or demonstrated reckless disregard for the truth.

                That does not constitute an obligation on the part of the defendant to produce evidence at all, let alone evidence that the claim is true.

                1. Not bothering to prove any of the claims were true has certainly been a notable feature of those making the claims.

                  1. Not bothering to prove any of the claims were true has certainly been a notable feature of those making the claims.

                    Which is utterly irrelevant to the question at hand.

                    1. By all means, just an observation.

          2. You’re right Wuz. He isn’t under that obligation. He is always free to just lose the case.

            1. Or he can…you know…make the plaintiff fulfill their obligations as plaintiff…who is the one with the burden of proof in such a case.

            2. Actually, he said he had proof of the fraud. There is a difference between saying “I believe X is a thief” and “X is a thief and I have proof.” If the latter is untrue, it tends to show actual malice. So, while he need not prove his statements are true, if he cannot produce any proof in response to discovery, plaintiff is well on its way.

      3. “I wonder if they’ve had 3rd party testing for how secure they are . . .”

        Yes, countless times over the years, by security experts from both sides of the aisle. The result is always the same: Dominion machines are easily corrupted.

        Here is just one example of such testing: Three times, independent auditors in Texas evaluated the machines/software for use in that state. All three times, rejected.

        “We have not approved these voting systems based on repeated software and hardware issues. It was determined they were not accurate and that they failed — they had a vulnerability to fraud and unauthorized manipulation.” (AG Paxton)

        Here is the Secretary of State’s summary of the Jan. 2020 testing:
        https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/forms/sysexam/dominion-d-suite-5.5-a.pdf

        The other, seldom-reported problem with Dominion is its alleged financial ties to China. See the October 2020, $400 million Chinese investment in Dominion, via its parent (Staple Street) and the cutout UBS Securities LLC. (And, no, I’m not confusing the LLC with the Ltd. Check the LLC’s Board — if you can find them. Two of its Chinese board members, and there were only 3 members, recently fled for the hills.)

        There are other such issues, e.g., in 2018 via RBC in Canada. Those details are too complicated for this comment.

        As others have noted, that Dominion’s machines are easily corrupted, does not prove that they were corrupted in the 2020 election. However, I wouldn’t want to fly on a plane that has a history of crashing.

    2. False claims and Big Lies and little lies and endless meritless objections, shifting goalposts and conspiracy-mongering led to this, so, the responsibility for any chilling effect lies with those who thought it would be an awesome strategy to pursue, but operating at that level of cyncism they’re unlikely to care. and will blithely blame the targets of their campaign.

      1. But enough about collusion gate. Why won’t you address voting fraud?

        1. Why won’t you provide evidence of voting fraud that could actually stand up in court?

  9. Dominion’s claim of a billion dollars in damages is laughable. I would say it is going to have an argument to prove damages at all seeing that just about every media outlet and politician ran cover in terms of a massive censorship campaign of any election rigging allegations.

    1. Damages are probably the easiest part: if elections officials don’t renew contracts or swear off of their business because 1) they believe the claims or 2) it’s not worth the headache of doing business with them given how animated people are based on these claims. Damages can probably be measured somewhat. What business they were doing before, and what business you’re doing after these claims became widespread. If the revenue figure is significantly less, there are your damages.

    2. You don’t think red state elections authorities are going to drop Dominion?

  10. I find it amusing that the Democrats want to ride or die with an election software company that is even capable of losing billions in revenue. I thought private industry has no place in elections?

    That said, I highly doubt that Dominion will have lost one penny of revenue because this guy, or any other guy on the right, maligned it. That only makes it more marketable to the blue states. Any place it is cancelled, the people doing the cancelling almost certainly did not rely on anything they read on Daily Caller.

    This is quintessential SLAPP suit. It may have some basis on some of the elements but the only purpose it seems to me is to intimidate political speech that its sponsors do not like.

  11. Hm. If I were an election official and I had a choice of software vendors, I’d sure think twice about selecting a company that flings an exactly-one-billion-dollar lawsuit around. Sounds like an unstable partner.

  12. It’s DC. The likely jury pool will decide in plaintiff’s favor before voir dire.

    1. Trial should be moved to central Virginia.

  13. “Strategically, the complaint focuses on comments made by Lindell after Attorney General William Barr dismissed claims of widespread election fraud. This will make it more difficult for Lindell to claim that he had no reason to know that some of his conspiratorial claims about Dominion were false.”

    I dunno. I think I heard somewhere that Barr isn’t a very credible guy.

    1. But some fucking idiot made him Attorney General.

    2. It’s also after the retractions from Fox, American Thinker, Newsmax. When the crew is jumping ship, that probably means it is sinking.

  14. My Pillow guy speaks BS, to pillow hugging conspiracy nuts.

    He, like Rudy and others, claim to posses irrefutable evidence of vote fraud, which they will all to gladly reveal at trial. Yet they will stall going to trial, while excusing that they cannot reveal their evidence before such trial.
    So rather than save the Republic with a great reveal, they choose to save themselves. Profiles in courage, not.

  15. I expect the lawyers willing to work as Pillow Boy’s mouthpieces to be every bit as effective as the members of Trump Election Litigation: Elite Strike Force.

    1. It will be interesting to see who he hires. If they are competent, the focus will be on actual malice, if not, he will be claiming truth as a defense. I saw that Lin Wood is representing Sidney Powell. That should be the crazy case, assuming Wood keeps his license long enough to litigate it.

      The problem is that any attorney Lindell hires is unlikely to be willing to put their license on the line by asserting as true what Lindell says is true–perhaps Wood will take on Lindell as well, or maybe he will hire Powell.

      In other words, it may be that the “Elite Strike Force” will ride again.

  16. “Absolute Proof,” a falsehood-riddled “documentary”

    Adler, you can’t possibly know that as fact.

    Your bias is on display causing your name and associations to be placed on ignore.

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