ACORN filed suit today in Maryland against conservative filmmakers James O’Keefe, Hannah Giles and conservative Web site Breitbart.com for secretly taping the organization’s employees at its Baltimore office.
In the complaint, ACORN alleges that the filmmakers entered into the organization’s offices in July with a “hidden camera and microphone” and taped employees Tonja Thompson and Shera Williams. Both employees are listed as plaintiffs on the complaint, filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
The crux of the lawsuit centers around a Maryland law which makes it illegal to tape someone without their consent – ACORN is alleging O’Keefe and Giles did so. ACORN is asking for $500,000 in damages to be awarded to each of the employees filmed by O’Keefe and Giles, and ACORN itself wants $1 million in damages.
Ace is all over this story, and has a couple of suggestions:
Bring ACORN In as Co-Defendant! I asked Zero about this and he wrote back:
Was writing a whole paragraph, then remembered the term: apportionment of fault (or that’s one term for it anway). [re: what I was calling contributory negligence, which isn’t the right term here, as this isn’t a negligence case — ace.]I had also veering off into left field since I was focusing on that — if that were the only issue, then it would be a tactical decision based on MD law, which I don’t know. But then I realized it didn’t really matter, because the smart thing to do actually would be to sue ACORN as a third party defendant (or something to that effect) up front, claiming that any damages for the emotional distress that might be assessed against the defendants should actually be paid by ACORN. It might not shake out that way in the end, but I think counter-suing ACORN as a third-party defendant would be a smart tactical move.
Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. ACORN caused at least some, if not most (if not all) of the damages to the individuals here, so why should ACORN not sit right besides Breitbart et al. as damages are figured and the relative fault of those responsible is assessed?
ACORN would be suing Breitbart for one purpose but a defendant along with Breitbart standing against the individual plaintiffs.
It would be… anarchy, really. It would be Thunderdome. Kookoobananas, baby.
Cleaning Up the Terminology: A lawyer writes:
Defendants can cross-claim against Acorn for equitable indemnity and ask for an apportionment of the damages. Also, Acorn also might have fallen into an anti-SLAPP trap.
I leave it to the lawyers, but it looks like disclosure on this case is going to be something else. Take a look at this:
ACORN’s Lobbying Shenanigans.
This is only the beginning, oh yes.