Donald Trump v. Bill Maher

by Walter Olson on February 7, 2013

The best headline is at the ABA Journal: “Trump suit says he’s not ape spawn, seeks to collect on Maher’s ‘unconditional offer’”. Eugene Volokh writes that while Maher’s “orangutan” swipe was clearly a joke, the prospect of sanctions over a Trump court action isn’t. More: Lowering the Bar.

P.S. Someone in the Volokh comments section brings up the McDonald’s hot coffee case, provoking the usual misplaced condescension along lines paralleling the trial bar’s strenuous advocacy efforts on the issue. I do appreciate, though, the suggestion that I trademark the epithet “the goober at Overlawyered.”

P.P.S. Disgruntled beauty pageant contestant ordered to pay Trump $5 million.


1 Mike 02.07.13 at 11:00 am

Maher (may his tribe decrease) was clearly trying to provoke Trump into doing something foolish, as Larry Flint did to Jerry Falwell. Looks like he succeeded.
Of course, if Trump had not responded, Maher would have escalated his attacks.

2 Tom Z 02.07.13 at 11:09 am

The real problem with the lawsuit is that Trump is trying to publicly shame Maher into donating to charity by keeping the frivolous lawsuit in the public eye. But this tactic won’t work because Maher has no shame – he is a despicable human being who resists all attempts to force him to be decent or respectible.

3 Ron Miller 02.07.13 at 11:30 am

I disagree with Walter on many issues of our day. But the idea that his opinions are informed by partisan politics is nonsense.

One funny quirk to all of this: Maher has said he is a libertarian a number of times.

Bill Maher is a unique character to me. I agree with much of what he says. I think he is hysterical. But I really don’t like him. Just an unbelievably mean spirited person.

4 mojo 02.07.13 at 12:57 pm

Job said it best:
“Let these two asses be set to treading grain.”

5 OBQuiet 02.07.13 at 2:23 pm

The side discussion of the McDonalds case gives me a chance to state how personally glad I am that it was decided that way. And to thank Walter for focusing on it in the past.

Not that I agree with the decision. I don’t. But the coverage here informed me of the multiple conditions the added up to the injury. So when my 4 year old daughter spilled hot tea at a local restaurant onto her thick sweatpants, I knew to get them off her skin right away. That prevented the spill from doing more than some minor blistering and prevented permanent damage. I was all set to sue The Gap over these hazardous clothes(They must have known they would trap the heat and liquid against the flesh and sold them without a waterproof barrier!) but it was not needed.

6 OBQuiet 02.07.13 at 2:33 pm


Maher has said that and then immediately opined on how the government to get more control of some part of peoples lives.

It brings to mind the words of that famous swordsman, Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. “

7 boblipton 02.07.13 at 3:06 pm

I prefer Mercutio: a plague on both their houses.


8 William Nuesslein 02.08.13 at 10:20 am

I understand that Ms. Liebeck got a heart threatening bill from the hospital where she was treated for her hot coffee burns. She asked the restaurant to help her out, and the rest is history. I suspect that Ms. Liebeck was over-treated and over-billed. Of course her spill was not the responsibility of the Restaurant, but the role of the hospital gets overlooked in discussions. Anyway, do not use the Liebeck case as guidance on how to treat tea spills. Simply pulling away material from the skin would be enough as liquids cool quickly with increased surface area is exposed to air.

9 jesse spurway 02.08.13 at 3:41 pm

both maher and trump are funny, but in different universes.

10 Max Kennerly 02.14.13 at 1:11 am

No one with any degree of experience in the civil litigation system would compare Trump’s suit to the Liebeck suit. Accepting all of the facts alleged by Trump to be true, his suit fails as a matter of law, a lame attempt to “enforce” something no reasonable person could believe to be an offer. Liebeck’s case, in contrast, presented two simple questions of fact: was it unreasonable to serve coffee at 180-190, and did that increase in temperature cause her greater injury?

One suit is frivolous. The other suit presents a factual issue for a jury.

11 John Mac 02.15.13 at 10:57 pm

Maher is hilarious, Trump is a pompous waste of oxygen. Yet, despite his obvious lack of substance we pay him so much attention. And if the spotlight fades or if it is drawn away him for even a moment he finds something worthless pursuit to call attention back to him. How pathetic. All of that money and still no satisfaction. how very, very sad.
Donny, why not go after Rosie O’ Donnell again. Maybe this time you will win.

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