The Munger Games has won the first rounds of our legal battle with super-wealthy, bow-tied, liberal Charles Munger Jr’s proxy, Harmeet Dhillon, an ACLU-affiliated attorney who doubles as the Vice Chair of the California Republican Party.
We’ll summarize in English: Earlier this year, Dhillon filed a lawsuit in federal against The Munger Games, claiming we violated her copyright of an old campaign headshot and demanding damages in the amount of….wait for it…$250! Dhillon further made the incredible claim there was no way to communicate with our anonymous selves and serve us with the lawsuit, so the only recourse was to subpoena Dreamhost, which provides hosting services for this blog, as well as Google, demanding they reveal our identities.
The subpoena of Dreamhost was issued in Los Angeles in the US District Court for the Central District of California.
Our attorney, Rick Cigel of The Cigel Law Group, moved to quash the Dreamhost subpoena, because it was a wrongful attempt to violate the rights we possess under the First Amendment, which protects the cherished right of anonymous political speech.
On November 4, US District Court Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District withdrew permission to serve the subpoenas on Google; as for Michael Schroeder (who is generously funding our legal defense) he was out of her jurisdiction, so it would have to be issued and served (and any motion to quash) in the Central District. Judge Illston noted that Dhillon’s stated justification for the subpoenas no longer existed because since Mr. Cigel had already volunteered to accept service of the lawsuit on our behalf – therefore obviating the surface rationale for the subpoenas.
Poof! There go Dhillon’s subpoenas – which were the tail wagging the dog. The only reason Dhillon filed the lawsuit (in our opinion) was to create an excuse to issue those subpoenas in an attempt to learn our identities and (she and Munger hoped) to squash us like bugs; because God forbid the famously moderate Charles Munger Jr. be subjected to some constructive criticism of his political tactics, strategies and beliefs.
For you legal eagles, here’s the text of Judge Illston’s ruling:
Plaintiff’s administrative motions for leave to take early discovery are scheduled for a hearing on November 7, 2013. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court determines that the matters are appropriate for resolution without oral argument, and VACATES the hearing. For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff’s motions are DENIED.
Plaintiff seeks leave to issue two subpoenas, one directed at an attorney and one directed at Google, Inc., in order to learn the identity of “Doe 1” to facilitate service of process on Doe 1. The complaint alleges that Doe 1 anonymously published an article titled “Meet Harmeet” on the website www.mungergames.net, and that the article featured a copyrighted photograph of plaintiff. Doe 1, appearing through counsel, opposes the administrative motions on numerous grounds, including that they are unnecessary because Doe 1’s counsel has informed plaintiff’s counsel that she will accept service of process on behalf of Doe 1. Doe 1 also states that he/she has “immediate plans” to file a motion to dismiss and/or a motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s copyright infringement claim.
Based upon these representations by Doe 1, the Court DENIES plaintiff’s administrative motions as unnecessary. Counsel for Doe 1 is ORDERED to accept service of process on Doe 1; and Doe 1 is directed to promptly file a motion to dismiss and/or motion for summary judgment.
We are not looking to duck this fight – note our attorney had already offered to accept service of the lawsuit. Our desire is to move this case ahead and engage in a head-on defense of the First Amendment against the effort to undermine it by the Munger/Dhillon combo.
So, now the litigation action is in the Northern District in San Francisco, in the court room of US District Judge Susan Illston. Although the practical rationale for her lawsuit has evaporated under the sunlight of judicial action, Dhillon will probably press on with her silly claim of copyright infringement.
Here is the actual ruling for your perusal.