We touched more on former Rampage coach Juanito Ibarra’s retarded ‘Sue the MMA blogosphere’ lawsuit this weekend, but I just wanted to follow up on it with this article from MMA Payout listing out the endless ways it is a complete joke:
United States law is highly protective of free speech, and as a result defamation claims brought by public figures are very hard to win in America. That’s why there is a tabloid newspaper industry which makes money frequently printing bizarre, harmful and completely untrue stories about American celebrities.
Ibarra’s lawyers, knowing this, argue that Ibarra is a private citizen and that this is not a matter of public concern. However, they then go on to severely undermine that claim. The very first thing they do in their general allegations is point out that Ibarra has worked with more than 15 world champions, won numerous awards, and trained “well known mixed martial artist and a prominent figure in the Ultimate Fighting Champion industry” Quinton Jackson.
A court is highly unlikely to find that Ibarra is not a public figure. In fact, in the very case that extended special protections to speech about public figures, Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, the individual deemed a public figure was a college football coach. Most college football coaches are more famous than MMA trainers, but they are public figures for nearly identical reasons.
If it is established that Ibarra is a public figure, the lawsuit will come down to two key points. First, Ibarra must prove the falsity of Ortiz’s comments and the comments of those reporting on the story. Second, Ibarra must prove that Ortiz and the news sources acted with “actual malice,” meaning that they either knew the statements were false or were reckless as to the falsity of the statement.
This is all just the tip of the iceberg. I’d go on but I try not to quote entire articles – just read the damn thing and learn something about how difficult it is for dumb people to win defamation case like this. Sure, suing / threatening / cajoling is unfortunately easy. But winning is harder. This is such a poorly put together case that I initially thought lawyers should be sanctioned for pretending it had merit. Whoever is at the till (hint: KRANE & SMITH – A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION) is running this lawsuit like maniacs. The dopes didn’t even send the cease and desists out properly (some had references to other defendants – poor cut and paste job) and they also went ahead and still sued several websites that DID take down the requested Juanito posts.
I think the saddest thing about this is that Juanito could have easily gotten his side of the story out with a few interviews or even just a single press release. But instead he decided to be a total asshole over comments that aren’t even nearly bad enough to justify the idea of a lawsuit. Lame.