KaiserDillon Attorneys Courtney Forrest, Chris Muha, and William Pittard Win Dismissal of Civil Complaint Targeting Client’s Political Speech
A federal district court in Los Angeles has struck and dismissed all claims against KaiserDillon client George Nader.
Mr. Nader has been a longtime outspoken critic of the State of Qatar and its policies in the Middle East, including in expressing his concern that Qatar supports terrorist groups. The plaintiffs in the case asserted that they operate travel businesses that align their branding with Qatar, and further asserted that their businesses incidentally suffered lost profits as a consequence of Mr. Nader’s expression of his views about that country. Plaintiffs sought both money damages and a broad injunction that would have indefinitely barred Mr. Nader from publicly expressing his opinions about the actions or policies of Qatar.
Critically, none of Mr. Nader’s political speech about Qatar mentioned the plaintiffs, their industry, or the products or services they provide. Because the plaintiffs’ claims targeted Mr. Nader’s right to free speech in connection with a public issue, KasierDillon attorneys Courtney Forrest, Chris Muha, and William Pittard filed a motion to strike the plaintiffs’ complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP law. Such a motion “allows courts to dismiss at an early stage unmeritorious litigation that challenges various kinds of protected speech.” Order Re: Pending Motions (Feb. 4, 2022).
Through detailed briefing and oral argument, Courtney, Chris, and Bill explained to the Court how all of the allegations in the plaintiffs’ complaint targeted noncommercial, political opinions on an issue of public interest. They also persuaded the Court to reject the plaintiffs’ contention that the anti-SLAPP law should not apply based on unproven and legally unsound allegations that Mr. Nader’s conduct had violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
On February 4, 2022, the Court struck all of the state law claims and dismissed the federal law claim against Mr. Nader. The Court also denied plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint, noting that amendment would be futile. Mr. Nader is now entitled to recover all attorney’s fees associated with defending against plaintiffs’ SLAPP suit.
The case is Mosafer Inc., et al. v. Elliot Broidy and George Nader, et al., No. 2:21-cv-6320-MCS-JC (C.D. Cal.).