Update: Summary Judgment Filed in Comins v. Van Voorhis
Siouxsie previously blogged about the case here.
For those not familiar with the lawsuit, Mr. Comins is a well-to-do Orlando developer who shot two Siberian huskies at point-blank range, multiple times. He did this while onlookers pleaded with him to stop. When the dust had settled, Mr. Comins had shot the dogs a total of seven times. Raley took four hits; Hoochie took three. Both dogs were severely injured. Hoochie lost an eye.
Someone videotaped the incident and posted it on YouTube.
Thousands of people viewed the video on YouTube, and many left disapproving comments about the shooter, Mr. Comins. The mainstream media picked up the story, and a number of bloggers posted about the shooting. The media covered the story everywhere from the Orlando Sentinel to the National Enquirer. All the local television stations covered the shooting, too.
Mr. VanVoorhis was one of several bloggers to post about the shooting. Mr. Van Voorhis publishes a WordPress.com blog called Public Intellectual. Eighteen days after the incident, Mr. Van Voorhis provided commentary about the shooting based on the YouTube video, and embedded the hard-to-watch video of the huskies being shot by Mr. Comins.
Instead of accepting responsibility for shooting two dogs, Mr. Comins singled out Mr. VanVoorhis for the blog post. Mr. Comins claims, in short, that criticism of the dog shooting and Mr. Van Voorhis’s commentary about the video amounts to defamation.
As Siouxsie opined earlier, the lawsuit against Mr. Van Voorhis has no merit; it was brought only to muzzle others from speaking out about the merciless dog-shooting and to punish Mr. Van Voorhis for his critical post.
The brilliant summary judgment motion filed by Mr. Randazza makes this clear. You should read it. The brief shows that Mr. Comins did not provide Mr. Van Voorhis with the required pre-suit notice of the allegedly defamatory statements. And it explains why Mr. Van Voorhis’ comments cannot be defamatory. It also illustrates the absurdity of claims by Mr. Comins that Mr. Van Voorhis’ blog post somehow intentionally interfered with business activities.
The brief is a great nutshell of First Amendment law. Read and learn. Mr. Comins’ case should not make it past this motion for summary judgment.