ALL OF THE TORTS.

Dear Rusty,

Did I explain the source of scorn $1.5o to you?

DISCLAIMER THIS IS NOT LEGAL ANYTHING I AM NOT A LAWYER I AM NOT EVEN GOOGLING OR EVEN REALLY THINKING ABOUT THIS THIS IS LIKE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS USING SOME WORDS I LEARNED HANGING OUT IN THE LAW SCHOOL LOBBY.

So OK. Could Sherrod have a claim agaisnt the USDA itself? Hmmmmmm. It would depend on her employment contract I’d say? And if she’s a political appointment (is she?) I think that possibility is right-out. Or, is she a member of one of the civilian Federal employee unions? Could there be an NLRB action for violation of a collective bargaining agreement depending on the circumstances? It might be fun to construct a Title VII (discrimination) claim but that wouldn’t go anywhere and it would need to burn out in the EEOC first. I am pretty skeptical about the potential of suits against government agencies anyway.

So what could she sue Breitbart or his corporation for? Libel? Defamation? My access to Westlaw is wonky right now or I’d run a couple searches to see what caselaw is out there – if any – on edited videos. But the bar’s generally pretty high in a defamation suit. The CS Monitor explanation is a decent one. Tortious interference with business/contract? That could be interesting though I again think it requires a degree of intent difficult to prove? I like that one better though. Attractive nuisance! Eggshell skull! Trover!  And who’s the editor? Could there be civil conspiracy there? I’m sorry, I just love torts sosososo much.

What I’d REALLY like to see is the USDA bringing suit for tortious interference. But look, I am skeptical about the chances of these claims because I am like Eyeore. So you gotta step back and say well, what are we using litigation here for?  I assume it’s not to get Shirley Sherrod $$$ damages, which there are probably not a ton of. It’s rather to create precedent, or more likely just a framework for future cases, it’s to figure out who’s working with whom, it’s to make folks like Breitbart think twice about using doctored footage and passing it off as legitimate political news/discourse in the future. (I think the impact suit should have happened ca. swiftboat, but whatever).

And here’s what I think is interesting – this is one of the few places where I think impact litigation can really bring about pretty strong social transformation. P.S. I also think SCOTUS is going to overturn the healthcare bill. What do those last 2 sentences have to do with each other? Stay tuned.

-VGB

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  • […] am most definitely enjoying all the law-talking. So, I was wondering about something. You said this about political news/discourse/libel (I think?): …this is one of the few places where I think […]

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