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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shirley Sherrod May Make Andrew Breitbart's Day

Shirley Sherrod is going to sue Andrew Breitbart, she says. The liberal internets are all aTwitter with joy. Andy finally is going to get his comeuppance.

It is unclear what the grounds for the suit would be.

Defamation? For what, showing a two-minute clip of her speech, and not showing the rest of the speech (which Breitbart apparently did not have a copy of)? For calling her comments "racist" when she admitted in the speech, at a minimum, to formerly being a racist?

Interference with her employment? When she resigned and turned down the job when she was offered it after her resignation?

For portraying her in a false light? Really? I'd like to see the movie of her real light.

The legal issues -- was she a public figure? -- may not take this case past a motion to dismiss at the start of the case.

But, let's say the lawsuit does get off the ground, and moves forward into discovery.

Will Sherrod assert that her reputation has been damaged? By claiming reputational harm, Sherrod opens up almost her entire life to scrutiny, which is why so many people are hesitant to assert a defamation claim.

Will Sherrod assert the loss of her job as damages? This would permit Breitbart to take depositions up the chain of command, from the person who made the infamous "pull over to the side of the road" phone call, to Tom Vilsack, to the people in the White House.

Now, I'm sure Breitbart does not want to be sued, even though he probably has insurance anyway, which at least would cover the defense costs.

But, if having to defend a suit of dubious merit allows Breitbart to put Sherrod's life on trial, to conduct an inquiry into the NAACP and Sherrod's connections in the movement, and to take the depositions of administration officials, that might just be a price Breitbart is happy to pay.

After all, the show must go on.

Update 7-30-2010: Real Sherrod Story Still Untold, and Breitbart is just the guy to tell it. Somehow, I don't think she really will sue.

Update 7-31-2010: See my new post, The Original Sherrod Clip Was Not "False".

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  1. Just what , exactly are her damages, anyway? She actually used her 30 minutes to get a better job, so she has no monetary damages.

    And, in defamation, she has pretty much proved, through the content of the entire speech, and her actions afterward, that she is pretty much what she portrayed herself to be, a race baiting liberal.

    Even if she wins the defamation suit - which I assume would be based on being labeled racist - what amount of money do people win in these sorts of things?

    Outside of that, isn't the approbation of liberals about the best she could hope for, and hasn't she already received that?? I mean, she completed her victory tour on every left-of-center media outlet known to man, short of Al-Jazeera.

  2. A reasonable person would think that if she were to go after anybody, it would be the people she works for. The ones that "harassed her" by asking for her resignation on the side of the road after seeing this short clip. However I think going after Brietbart shows here true agenda. Going after her employer would only bring more bad press to the administration. However, by going after Breitbart she is attacking Conservative journalism. It basically gives all the liberals a rallying cry going into the elections (e.g. "Don't listen to Fox News, look what they did to Sherrod"). We all know these are bogus claims, but Liberals are already rallying behind her, calling for her to stick it to the Conservatives. And by the time this is all seen in court (or more likely, thrown out of court) the elections are already over and her purpose has been filled.

  3. I suspect this is just a negotiating tactic by Sherrod trying to get a better deal form the Obama administration. Obama fired her in the first place because he wanted her out of the news ASAP. Now she threatens to be an interminably on-going one-woman OJ circus.

  4. I would have more faith in the process and result of this lawsuit were it not destined to become yet another skirmish in the war raging in every nook and cranny of our culture at present. In any other time this suit would not even get off the ground - and rightly so. But the process is as likely to run afoul of some activist judge, anxious to discharge his or her weapon in the mounting conflict, as not. I have no expectation of the law being upheld or justice being served. Cynical, I know. But my cynicism is well founded, and a testament to how far we have strayed from our roots as a constitutional republic founded on the rule of law and the rights of the individual.

  5. When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging...

  6. Imagine if her suit in any way references her firing and loss of federal employment -- certainly critical elements in the playing out of the Shirley Sherrod story, and her momentary loss of "face" on the national stage.

    It is hard to imagine otherwise!

    Given that, I cannot envision anything less than a viable candidate for "the most risible court filing in the history of jurisprudence" should Shirley Sherrod actually choose to file such a suit against Andrew Breitbart, without also naming as codefendants such luminaries as Sec'y Tom Vilsack, Robert Gibbs, and a few (as yet unnamed) other codefendants in the federal government chain of command -- e.g., think at a minimum, Chief of Staff Rham Emanuel, and, likely, the President himself -- ALL holding significant positions of power within the federal government, and ALL of whom were bigger and more potent players in the decision to throw Shirley under the racist bus -- leading to her momentary embarrassment -- than Andrew Breitbart!

    And what of the NAACP? They actually had the full tape all along!

    But I never doubt for a moment the ability of some folks to do really stupid things whilst in the midst of trying to convince others (and even themselves) that they are somehow pursuing "justice" while really trying to do anything they can just to extend their 15 minutes of fame beyond any reasonable expectation.

    Surely someone will gently break the news to Shirley that the failure, under the circumstances, to join several parties under Rule 19 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) would likely prove to be an insurmountable hurdle to her premature attempt at getting even with someone who came across and posted a tape that gave her exposure?

    And given -- at a minimum -- her subsequent and baseless assertion that Andrew Breitbart would "like to get us stuck back in the time of slavery," it is hard to imagine that this latest threat of hers is anything more than a lame, desperate attempt to breathe new life into a story that was already on life support when it emerged!

    Do you suppose someone has explained FRCP 12(b)7 to her . . . in addition to 12(b)6?

    At this point, I believe this is merely an issue of pride with Shirley.

    She wants nothing more, nothing less than a full public apology from Andrew Breitbart, and I think she will likely stop at nothing to try and force it.

  7. I would donate to a fund to help out in paying Andrew's legal fees for this opportunity. Great investment.

  8. @herb I agree. where can I donate to AB's legal fund?

  9. I hope she does bring the suit. This would be better than the best episode of any T V show. Its the discovery part I'd like to see the results of.

  10. From the Free Dictionary: "Fraud: A false representation of a matter of fact—whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed—that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury."

    Seems to me that AB was committing fraud when he posted the video. I assume that he knew full well it was edited. I know of AB well enough to know that he pushes the boundaries. He may have pushed too far this time. We shall see.

  11. omg, there are people willing to help defend Andrew Breitbart? He will be laughing all the way to the bank. Who said "there's a sucker born every minute"? How right he was.

    Breitbart is an opportunist who exploits for his own gain. Why would anyone help dig him out of the hole he made for himself?

  12. @tonsofwash:

    "or by concealment of what should have been disclosed"

    What did Breitbart "conceal"? He received a recording, which he released in its entirety. He "concealed" nothing. The NAACP, on the other hand, condemned Sherrod even while they were in possession of the full tape. If anyone "concealed" anything, it was the NAACP.