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Monday, August 24, 2015

Dave Hardy on Brady's "Empty Suits"

Lawyer and blogger Dave Hardy has a great article over on the NRA America's 1st Freedom website about that law suit against a number of online retailers that the Aurora theater shooter used before going on his killing spree in 2012.  You may remember our post earlier this summer about how Lucky Gunner, one of the retailers named in the suit, was going to give away to 2nd Amendment organizations, the money that the court ordered be paid by the plaintiffs to the defendants after the court dropped kicked Brady's suit.  Hardy calls that decision Brady's "Little Bighorn Moment":
On June 17, Matsch granted the motion, and ruled that Lucky Gunner and the other defendants were entitled to $203,000 in attorney fees! Matsch’s ruling slapped Brady down, and hard.

“It is apparent that this case was filed to pursue the political purposes of the Brady Center, and given the failure to present any cognizable legal claim, bringing these defendants into the Colorado court where the prosecution of [the killer] was proceeding appears to be more of an attempt to propagandize the public and to stigmatize the defendants than to obtain a court order which counsel should have known would be outside the authority of this court,” he ruled.

Brady had argued that the attorneys’ fees claimed were too high; too much effort had been put into the defense. The judge made short shrift of this.

“This was an all-conceivable claims attack on these Internet sellers, attempting to destroy their legitimate businesses and invalidate the federal and state statutes protecting them, …” he wrote. “Those who ignite a fire should be responsible for the cost of suppressing it before it becomes a conflagration.”

The ruling was a stunning blow to Brady’s litigation business model. From this point on, its strategy of sticking dealers with the costs of defense, even if Brady loses, becomes risky. Brady, or its clients, may wind up bearing those costs.
Brady has lost cases before.  The "Little Bighorn Moment" comes in because, you see, Brady brought the suit on behalf of survivors of one of the victims.  So, as Hardy points out, the judgment is against "Brady's clients, not Brady.   The judge noted in his ruling that if this puts a hardship on the plaintiffs (Brady's clients) it could be "ameliorated by the sponsors (Brady) of this action in their name."  That puts Brady in the uncomfortable position of either leaving the folks they convinced to bring the suit holding the bag, or coughing up what Hardy states is more than half of their yearly payroll.

Now, as Hardy concludes, they could turn to fundraising to raise the funds, but, they have the choice of say "hey, we screwed up" or "we need your money to pay Lucky Gunner."  Not much of a choice in either case.

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