Class action lawsuit over Jimmy Carter book

by Walter Olson on February 4, 2011

A new way to harass authors whose controversial message one disapproves of? The lawsuit, which demands $5 million, claims that the former President’s 2006 volume “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” contains “numerous false and knowingly misleading statements intended to promote the author’s agenda of anti-Israel propaganda and to deceive the reading public instead of presenting accurate information as advertised.” Sanctions, please! [Washington Post "Political Bookworm"]

{ 1 trackback }

February 25 roundup
02.25.11 at 10:59 am

{ 11 comments }

1 nevins 02.04.11 at 8:27 am

“numerous false and knowingly misleading statements intended to promote the author’s agenda …”

And could anyone credibly claim that they had bought the book with the good faith belief that it would be viewpoint neutral? From the man in the thick of it during his presidency we would expect to hear his views, thoughts, and yes, agenda. Then as a savvy reader we would seek alternative discussants to attempt to create a reasonable interpretation of a complex world. But then lawyers are not about critical thinking are they.

2 gumby 02.04.11 at 11:49 am

Great. Can we sue Fox “News” using the same consumer protection theory?

3 Richard Nieporent 02.04.11 at 12:16 pm

Great. Can we sue Fox “News” using the same consumer protection theory?

I was thinking more of the New York Times, aka Pravda of the West! :)

I would hope that not only will the lawsuit be thrown out but that the lawyers will be sanctioned for bringing such a frivolous lawsuit. This type of lawsuit is extremely dangerous to the concept of free speech. Jimmy Carter may be “history’s greatest monster” but if we value free speech, he should still have the right to publish his bigoted rantings about Israel.

4 Richard Underwood 02.04.11 at 2:12 pm

I’m suing my students over their nasty teaching evaluations!

5 Michael 02.04.11 at 3:45 pm

If this works, I’ll be suing every author of every politically oriented book produced during my lifetime, from the Nixon estate through Rumsfeld and every Dem/Republican in between.

6 Jeff Hupert 02.04.11 at 5:52 pm

Sorry, I’m going to rant here.
A class action suit under the New York Consumer Fraud Act on behalf of the reading public who thought they were getting truth (because Carter is an ex-President of the United States (that noted group of truth tellers)) and got lies instead is easily the stupidest thing I have heard this week (and I’ve heard some pretty stupid things this week). It’s basically suing an author (and his publisher) who you don’t agree with politically because they allegedly lied (and you allegedly did not expect them to). Even if they did lie, and refuse to retract their lies, it’s a horrible idea, even though, if successful, it would probably wind up being “The Underemployed Attorneys Relief Act of 2011.” The chill on the First Amendment can be felt from here.
Now, if you defame someone personally (“he personally strangled seven Bosnians”), the offended person can certainly sue you for libel (Leon Uris wrote a bad novel about that kind of situation; of course, his author was telling the truth about an ex-Nazi), but that’s not what this is. Similarly, if you call for your readers to kill people, you could have a problem with the criminal statutes, as well as with the Estates of anyone killed.
If I were the Judge, I would not only throw it out, I would make both the plaintiffs and their lawyers pay the Defendants’ attorney’s fees pursuant to F.R.C.P. 11. Hell, if it were up to me, I’d think about disbarring the plaintiff’s attorneys (not really justified but more so than this lawsuit is).
It’s a political publicity stunt, which is evident if you read the Complaint or the attorneys’ comments.
My position does not depend on whether Carter told the truth, lied, or is really the long-lost Judge Crater (note the similarity in spelling).

7 Robert 02.04.11 at 6:54 pm

I agree! This lawsuit is ridiculous.

What should happen is former President Carter should be arrested for promoting terrorism and sent to Guantanamo. That would make me feel like justice was served.

8 Gary 02.04.11 at 7:23 pm

Amen! This crap won’t stop until judges summarily dispose of this nonesnes and harshly sanction litigants and their lawyers for such harassment. One does not have to be a Jimmy Carter fan to realize how pernicious this lawsuit is.

9 Benjamin 02.04.11 at 11:55 pm

Jimmy Carter needs to concentrate on building houses for poor people. He probably did mislead the public in his slanted anti-Israel book. That being said, the plaintiff’s lawyers should be tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. The harm this does to free speech is chilling indeed.

10 Arthur Borges 02.05.11 at 10:14 am

Yes, we don’t want him manhandled like Helen Thomas, do we?

11 Melvin H. 02.06.11 at 12:21 pm

Jeff, we already had the “Underemployed Attorneys Back-to-Work Act of 2010/11″: That was the law that “corrected” all of the court decisions regarding the ADA. The 2011 version’s name is being reserved for when (if?) the CPSC ever gets around to finally(?) enforcing the CPSIA and it’s ridiculous, stupid, overbearing, unconstitutional provisions, instead of putting enforcement off.

Comments on this entry are closed.