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Tue May 26, 2020, 07:58 PM

Judge Sends Devin Nunes' SLAPP Suits Against CNN And Washington Post Off To Their Proper Venues



Go, Judge Payne! Teach those power politics dopes and babies about jurisdiction!

The court brushes off the fact that the article could be read in Virginia, noting that if that were the deciding factor, cases could be brought anywhere. It also laughs off the idea that the venue might be appropriate because that's where Steven Biss resides, relegating that silly argument to a footnote: "convenience to counsel is not an appropriate consideration in resolving a motion to transfer venue."
The court then notes that NY is much more convenient for most material witnesses, and again brushes off Biss/Nunes' attempts to throw some "local to Virginia" witnesses into the stew to muddy things up:

CNN argues that the witness convenience factor "squarely supports transfer" because Ward, Cuomo, and Bondy all reside in New York.... That all three key witnesses reside in New York favors transfer.
The only witness Nunes has identified as residing in Virginia is Parnas's former attorney, Edward MacMahon, who was mentioned only once in the Article and who has not been shown to be a material witness.... Additionally, Nunes contends that Jake Tapper..., who resides in Washington, D.C., and Parnas and Igor Fruman--Parnas's business partner and co-defendant,... who reside in Florida, are "material witnesses." ... It is clear that Tapper is not a material witness.... With respect to Parnas and Fruman, even assuming that they are material witnesses, both of these witnesses would need to travel from Florida, and New York is likely to be more accessible than Richmond, Virginia. Additionally, as CNN notes, both Parnas and Fruman are under indictment in the SDNY.



One other interesting point: the court points out that the parties are debating whether or not California's or New York's laws should apply to the case, and that supports a transfer to SDNY, which obviously understands NY law. And, the court says, even if it turns out that California's laws will apply (in which case, California's anti-SLAPP could be applied...), the court says that the SDNY is readily familiar with California law.


...it's pretty clear that the judge is not at all happy about how Biss handled the case, and his frustration is evident. He calls out the problem of forum shopping, and suggests that the court has previously warned Biss to knock it off:

... the Court has significant concerns about forum shopping. As the Court has explained to Plaintiff's on numerous occassions, the "Court cannot stand as a willing repository for cases which have no real nexus to this district. The 'rocket docket' certainly attracts plaintiff[s], but the Court must ensure that this attraction does not dull the ability of the Court to continue to act in an expeditions manner."...



...if CNN can convince the court that California's anti-SLAPP law applies (which it might...), then Nunes could be on the hook for CNN's extensive legal costs. As for the Washington Post case, DC does have a good anti-SLAPP law, but it's been held not to be available in federal court there, meaning that might be limited too. Still, I really do wonder how much guidance Biss has given Nunes about the liability that he, himself, may end up facing in all of these lawsuits if California's anti-SLAPP law is applied?


Court documents are included in the full report.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20200525/00562244569/judge-sends-devin-nunes-slapp-suits-against-cnn-washington-post-off-to-their-proper-venues.shtml?fbclid=IwAR3xoQSnT_bjWD4wSZO7-7pSTuxwkb71qHzVHCKNC-UiaK6FMx6uEUzqQDc

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Reply Judge Sends Devin Nunes' SLAPP Suits Against CNN And Washington Post Off To Their Proper Venues (Original post)
ancianita May 2020 OP
Marcuse May 2020 #1
2naSalit May 2020 #2
ancianita May 2020 #3

Response to ancianita (Original post)

Tue May 26, 2020, 08:22 PM

1. It looks like Nunes will not prevail.

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Response to Marcuse (Reply #1)

Tue May 26, 2020, 09:08 PM

2. Everybody else

has to pay MF45.

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Response to Marcuse (Reply #1)

Tue May 26, 2020, 09:24 PM

3. ...

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