Two-hundred and fifty million dollars. Whoa:
And the best part is the lawsuit is being filed in the Eastern District of Kentucky, which I’m sure is favorable turf for the Good Guys.
You can go ahead and read the lawsuit here. The specifics articles and false claims Sandmann is suing WaPo over (“negligence and actual malice”) begin on Page 18.
While I am of course sympathetic to Sandmann and it obviously goes without saying that I want to see the Washington Post brought to its knees, I’m having trouble seeing how the plaintiffs can justify $250 million?
Don’t get me wrong, Sandmann is definitely owed a lot of money, but $250 million? That’s a hell of a lot.
Sandmann’s lawyer can obviously argue that the Post has defaced Sandmann’s good name for life: any Google search of him will instantly turn up countless smear pieces and false claims about him.
The Post may well have contributed to a. depriving Sandmann of a college education, b. depriving him of a good career, and c. exposing him to countless death threats, vitriol and unmerited negative treatment from other people.
Sandmann’s life will never be the same.
So I guess we’ll find out (hopefully): how much does it cost to ruin a 16-year-old’s life?
I doubt Sandmann will get the full $250 million, or anywhere close to it. I looked at some other huge defamation cases and it seems like the formula is to seek an outrageous sum (like $250 million) and settle for something like $1-3 million. But I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer. I know Hulk Hogan got $140 million from Gawker, but I wonder if it’s different for rich celebrities who can plausibly claim to be deprived of tens of millions of dollars in future income.
The reason I doubt Sandmann will get anywhere near $250m is because the Post’s lawyers will say it’s implausible to say he was deprived of that much money.
But then again, how can they say with any certainty that Sandmann wouldn’t have gone on to make hundreds of millions of dollars in his career if he had not been a victim of WaPo’s (and others’) smears? They can’t.
Maybe this will prove to be a fruitful strategy for dismantling the Uniparty Propaganda Complex: suing them into oblivion.
We’ve already seen it with Hulk Hogan putting Gawker out of business.
Consider that Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million back in 2013. $250 million would put the paper out of business if it weren’t owned by Bezos. I’m sure it’s nothing to him to bail the paper out and sink another $250 mil. He doesn’t want to go down as the guy who oversaw the demise of the Washington Post. But then again, Bezos is no longer worth $140 billion–that’ll be cut in half when he finalizes his divorce. Maybe only having $70 billion in net worth will make Bezos stingier.
Still, let’s hope for a considerable settlement–enough to do some serious damage to the Post’s finances.
And then, of course, Ace of Spades says there are 53 other Fake News Propaganda Outlets Sandman is primed to sue in addition to the Post.
Sue ’em all.