Thompson Sues Kotaku Parent Company

April 25, 2007 -
Controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson has named Gawker Media, parent company of the popular game blog Kotaku, in a lawsuit before a federal court in Florida.

Thompson's ire was apparently raised by Kotaku reader comments which the attorney maintains are threatening. He also alleges in the complaint that Kotaku and Gawker declined to remove the posts in question. Those messages were posted in response to Kotaku's coverage of Thompson's claims that video games prompted last week's Virginia Tech massacre.

The Gawker suit is actually an amendment to an action Thompson filed on March 13th against the Florida bar. On April 11th he amended it to include the members of the Florida Supreme Court. And now Gawker joins the list of defendants.

This morning a Gawker attorney e-mailed Thompson, citing the case of Zeran vs. AOL and writing:
It is clear from the context of these comments that they are hyperbole, and not an incitement to violence, imminent or otherwise.

Earlier in the week Thompson reported Kotaku to the Denver Field Office of the FBI as well as the Denver Police Department. This morning he contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York, where Gawker is headquartered. It is unknown what type of response, if any, he received from those agencies. He also complained about the matter to Levi Strauss, Inc., a Kotaku advertiser.

Kotaku editor Brian Crecente declined to comment on the lawsuit. The judge in the case, Paul C. Huck, threw out an earlier Thompson suit against the Florida Bar in December, citing at the time what he referred to as Thompson's "wild accusations of a vast conspiracy."

Read the complaint here. Related Kotaku coverage of the FBI report here. Kotaku discusses the lawsuit in a brief posting here.

UPDATE: The Law of the Game legal blog has an analysis of Thompson's complaint. Attorney Mark Methenitis concludes:
While many of [Thompson's] claims are relatively novel, they also seem to be relatively poorly constructed as a way to include a blog he particularly dislikes.

Comments

I just want to express my out rage at Jack not even getting the name of "V Tech" right. I can see Norris Hall from my office window, have friends that were in the building and I took classes in there as an undergraduate. His grandstanding aside, he should respect something (like the victims or that this is a court document) and proof read it better than by 3rd grader who would have seen this. And to insult the VT police because they did not have a clear threat to respond to just adds his insults to those who I saw putting their lives on the line for *me*.

Also Cho's roommate has said that he did not play video games (The Daily Show's take was excellent on the blame game).

Well he has to do something now that he can't keep going after T2.

In before lolgasm

This is ridiculous. This guy really needs to be stopped trying to sue everyone who is against him. Kotaku hasn't done anything wrong. And this most likely is about that one post on there. They can't possibly be held accountable for what a poster says. If he pulls true and win, this will spell trouble for every single blog and forum out there.

And really, that post was just an expression, nothing more. Saying that you wish someone would get shot, isn't the same thing as wanting someone to die. It is nothing more but an expression when you dislike someone or someone's opinion. But Jack Thompson doesn't care and thinks that he is more important that any individual on this planet.

I am awaiting the news when this gets laughed out of court.

I'm keeping my faith in American judges, they've called him on his crap before. If the charges he's pressing are as ludicrous as usual, there's no way he could gain anything but publicity from this.

THIS JUST IN!

Jack Thompson sues Kotaku for countering everything he says.



Holy crap man, I hope this doesn't actually become a real court case. At least we have the numbers on our side. Chances are it won't.

It pays for him to be in the news and sueing anything that relates to his name.

I'm not for it but we can sue for anything.

I asked my sponsor to our radio Vince Desi what he thought of JT being all over the TV.

http://guradio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=382

@ dutch_gamer

You needn't worry about every single blog and forum because there is absolutely no way he can win. In fact, I predict it will almost certainly be dismissed before it gets to court.

@dutch_gamer

"This is ridiculous. This guy really needs to be stopped trying to sue everyone who is against him. Kotaku hasn’t done anything wrong. And this most likely is about that one post on there. They can’t possibly be held accountable for what a poster says."

No, they can't. The power of Section 230 of the Communications decency act is immense.

Well, that was quick. He already found another lawsuit whipping post.

In before the comment-splosion. I predict this thread will reach Epic proportions. I'm talking Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise epic.

Anyway, I also predict hilarity will ensue.

Holy lol. He can't be for real.

What a fucking tool.

I've never been a betting man, but I'd be willing to put down some money to say this will be dropped long before it gets to court. JT's just using his same old scare tactics, but anyone who knows anything about him knows he's all bark and no bite. He'll chicken out the instant he realizes they're not falling for his antics.

As for the post in question, it says something to the effect of "it'd be nice if someone Jack." Now, my recollection of the limits on free speech is that you're okay unless your speech is likely to cause or incite immediate harm. You can't shout "Fire" in a theater because the panic is liable to hurt someone.
Saying it'd be nice if harm came to someone isn't very nice and perhaps not too clever on the part of the poster, but it's legal. The illustration I always heard to demonstrate this: It is legal in the US (not nice, but legal) to stand up in a bar and yell, "I think all Muslims should die!" It is not legal to stand up in a bar and yell, "Hey, fellas, I hear there's a lot of Muslims in the place down the street, let's go rough them up!"
Course, he could just be trying to choke the pro-game side with lawsuits and hope that either the legal costs and constant legal exertion turn into wins somehow. But that's a dangerous game, as he could get stuck with legal fees if he loses. There's also Rule 11, which penalizes someone for "harassment, frivolous arguments, or a lack of factual investigation" (wikipedia). At the rate JT's been going, he might be dangerously close to stepping over the Rule 11 line.

@SounDemon Ah that is good news. I am awaiting to hear if we know for sure if he is actually sueing them or that he is just threatening to do so. He usually just threatens to do so but never pulls through. I still wonder if he actually did send a letter to the FBI. The massacre chaser is a fool if he did write them a letter with "Dear FBI". Even writing a letter to the FBI about a forumpost is stupid to begin with. He is like the boy who cried wolf.

@AbzumZer0 I am not really worried myself, to be honest. I have posted in the on livejournal when the massacre chaser was threatening all of us to give away our private information. I wasn't worried then and I am not worried now. It was just an "if" in my post, I know he can never possibly win this. So I do wonder that if he pulls through with the case, why he is doing it? I doubt this will even help him in any way against the "evil games and gamers".

the man ain't gonna win cause he's a crappy lawyer and always will be. go ahead jack; sue me! daddy needs a new bob mariley shirt!

How long before he sues gamepolitics again?

I have serious doubts this will go anywhere. Thompson is just proving that he is a petty petty man.

Link to the complaint doesn't work.

edit: Please disregard

I find this funny. because if this makes it to court you know they will have to show the whole webpage in question to the judge. and you know what he is going to see? lies. he is going to see all the lies jack thompson is spewing out. which already busts his credibility. also, freedom of speech come to mind, so right there he is screwed.


of course he hasn't been know to grasp freedom of speech very well.

didn't he also report penny arcade to the seattle police, who promptly ignored him?

can't we all join in a class action lawsuit against this guy for libel and slander?

i, for one, am sick of being labeled as some sort of about-to-snap pre-murderer just because of my hobby.

Mr. Thompson,

I just spent the last 15 minutes reading your complaint. And I find it to be utter nonsense.

Since lawyers generally charge around 200 bucks an hour, you know owe me payment for reading this tripe.

You total is 50 dollars.

I guess I'm going to have to sue you for it.

He's desperately trying to find someone to sue. Suing seems to be his path into the spotlight and since he can't nail T2/R* he needs a new target. Kotaku, I'm afraid you have become one of JT's new suing targets...

Anyways, is there a way to block JT from actually suing more people? I was thinking that if one us helps kill more of his major crutches, meaning his targets for lawsuits, then his ability to get his face out there could take a hit. Would there be such a way?

So after getting his ass handed to him by Take2, he is going onto the next best thing: Videogame blogs.

How many blogs does this guys immerse himself in, seriously? How does he find time for all these lawsuits, public appearances AND troll around the internet? If I were one of the families he's represented I would be appaled at how much time he spends on forums. What a loser.

How many blogs does this guys immerse himself in, seriously? How does he find time for all these lawsuits, public appearances AND troll around the internet? If I were one of the families he's represented I would be appalled at how much time he spends on forums. What a loser.

Hey, i posted in that epic comments thread, wonder if im mentioned anywhere?

Same shit, different day.

Well, there's already legal precedent against Jacky Boy, so he's already lost.

Jacky Boy still doesn't know how to practice what he preaches.

didnt he try something like this with gamespolitics, either we had to give him our personal details or he was going to sue us

@Conejo

This has been said many times before but I'll say it again. Suing someone for libel or slander is very hard to do. You have to prove that the person intently lies to harm, deceive, etc. Problem with Jack Thompson is, he truly believes what he is saying.

On another note, I just found out that the laws work differently here than in the rest of the United States and Canada and that a belief in the truth is not enough to be absolved or found innocent of defamation charges. Now if we can just find a way to lure Thompson here.

I'm surprised "Hack" Thompson hasn't gone after MSNBC.

@Hackangel

"Problem with Jack Thompson is, he truly believes what he is saying."

John Hinkley believed shooting the president would make a movie star love him.

I can see it now.

"Jack Thompson Vs. World"

Anyone else thinking of Boyd Cooper from Psychonauts?

~Otaku-Man

Coming next from Batshit Insanity Applications: Suetomatic!

Sue everyone, everywhere, all the time. The software will automatically spam the universe with a canned "press release" about your brand new lawsuit, and it will copy the FBI, CIA, KGB, Whitehouse, Jimmy Hoffa, and Anna Nicole Smith on all the correspondence.

Contact suetomatic@jackthompson.org for pricing!

You know, it's been a while since I've read any lawsuits. But I swear that I've never seen Army of Darkness paraphrased in one before.

"Since then, the New York Times has reported this past Sunday that upon driving their son to Virginia Tech, the parents of Cho hoped that in going to college he would leave behind his immersion in video games. The chances of that, with no parental supervision, were slim and none, and Slim just left town."

Just reading the complaint, I noticed a number of insults directly at the gaming community. I wonder, since he can get away with sueing anyone for anything, if we can sue him back for the numerous insults, claims that we are all "trained murderers", and so on. Anyone here know enough law to surmise if this can be done?

@Timmay

Not unless he mentions someone by name.


Individuals can sue. Non-affiliated groups of people with a shared cultural trend cannot.

I also read the complaint (the first post of mine was before having done so.) Can't say I was impressed.
First, it's his usual rambling style. I'm no lawyer, but it seems like you'd want to make your points and make them somewhat punchy, instead of reading ten pages of your past legal endeavors before mentioning the point of the lawsuit. Plus the usual inflammatory rhetoric - lots of opinions where facts would suffice.
The basis for some of his claims is that he does what he does out of a religious conviction and that the parties named are depriving him of his freedom of religion. A bit of a stretch, if you ask me. Course, I might be misinterpreting it - but legal documents shouldn't be leaving so much to interpretation if that's the case. If other people don't get what your problem is after reading your claim, then the fault does not necessarily lie with them.
The complaint against Kotaku's parent company says that in allowing posts that mention violence against him they're part of a campaign of extortion and threats against Thompson. He almost has a point in that Kotaku says somewhere on the site it'll remove threatening or harassing posts - but I don't think that's a contractual agreement, as he asserts, but a warning to not make such posts. Plus, there's a difference between promoting an act of violence and simply saying you'd be okay with one. Unless you're the President, possibly - the President might be an exception, but JT is not the Prez, so it's moot anyway. Plus, he's a public figure, and public figures generally aren't as protected from color commentary as non-public ones. So, yeah, the whole thing seems like a bit of a stretch, the occasional good points are lost in a sea of unnecessary fluff, and the part against Kotaku seems especially weak.

I just read his lawsuit and I can't believe all the lies in it. I got through half of it at one point and lost count of how many fabrications he has made up. his "scientific facts' his "experts" and him grandstanding about how great of a person he is just sickens me. I lose so much faith in humanity knowing people actually alow him on the air to babble his obvious lies. he talks about how he predicted the VT shooter was a gamer. but doesn't mention he was completly wrong about it. making it... a lie. there is no paragraph in that lawsuit that isn't full of lies, insults and name calling.

What I find funny is he uses words like "liberals" like its an insult. yet aren't liberals the ones who are usually backing up his terrible legislation? way to go nimrod.

Timmay, it's not a crime to insult people. If it was, man, would I LOVE to own some stock in companies who operate private prisons. You'd probably have the entire state of Alabama as a prison.

BWAHAHAHA! XD Another conspiracy charge? This man's circling the drain at this point. I'd seriously doubt if he has the sheer mental capacity to realize the depth of the shit pile he's putting himself in.

If (and I do say if, Jack has a notorious reputation of weasleing his way out of these situations) everything stacked against Thompson were to fall on him at one (The Bar complaints, the lawsuits, etc.) The absolute magnitude of all of it would crush him out of the public square entirely.

Go Florida Bar! Crush the Massacre chaser. :D

(( I've got a TON of sugar in me. Sorry if I'm being too.... enthusiastic.))

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't legal filings sound... uh... I don't know... legal and professional?

Instead of... a bunch of hyperbole, invective, and paranoid rantings?

Is calling people Stalinists a proper legal term?

Wow, just Wow!

I've read some of Jack Thompson other filings before but this one is certainly the most insane so far. He truly believes there's some left-wing, anti-religion conspiracy against him.

Did you people see the part where he compares himself to Jesus Christ? That's at least one thing Cho and Jack Thompson have in common.

@soundemon
"No, they can’t. The power of Section 230 of the Communications decency act is immense."

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service(kotaku) shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.(Commentors, but not Kotaku's writers)"

So looking it up, bascially it says that in this case, Kotaku can not be held responcible for what is said by the commentors; correct?

Wow. Just wow. I can't even put into words the feelings I have about this raving lunatic, and I'm glad for that, because it'd probably end up having GP embroiled in this suit as well.

I skimmed over the whole document, some parts made me laugh, some parts made me want to off myself-- this man makes me embarrased to be a human being. Claiming that he's the only "sane" lawyer in Florida is one of the points that made me laugh. Just about all of the rest of it made me physically ill.

Also, I notice how despite this being a legal document, he still finds room for namecalling, baseless insults, and outright lies.

Good ol' Jack provides us with endless hours of entertainment... he's like his own reality TV show.

Sadly, this turn of events is of little surprise. Good to see old Jack is still making a fool of himself though. ;)

I just read most of the complaint and it reads like a madman's manifesto. Seriously, the FLA Bar needs to send him back for another psych eval. He's lost it. The whole thing is a big conspiracy?! How is it conspiracy when you've managed to piss off so many people that they decide to do something about it? Is it some great surprise that so many people hate this guy after how he talks to people?

Jack - give it up. You're going down this time. At least take it like a man.

Owww.... my head.
I literally have a headache from (attempting) to read Mr. JB Thompson's complaint.
 
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