November 16, 2007 -
Jack Thompson wants to sue me.
For a million bucks.
He also wants to sue the ECA, which represents video game consumers and is the parent company of GamePolitics.
Yesterday, the controversial Miami attorney filed a motion with the U.S. District Court in Florida seeking to add myself and the ECA as defendants in his ongoing lawsuit against the Florida Bar.
The Bar, as reported by GamePolitics, has disciplinary proceedings in the works which could see Thompson lose his license to practice law. Thompson's Bar trial before a referee appointed by the Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to begin on November 26th. Thompson is also suing that referee, Judge Dava Tunis.
So, what does Thompson allege that GP and the ECA did? That's a bit unclear. He seems to hang his hat on the fact that I filed a Bar complaint against him in April, 2006. The Bar investigated my complaint for several months before opting not to proceed on it. From yesterday's Thompson court filing:
One of Thompson’s SLAPP Bar complainants has been Dennis McCauley, who owns and operates the video game industry apologist site... GamePolitics is owned by the ECA, which is the Entertainment Consumers Association. The ECA is part of the collaborative effort within the industry to disbar Thompson. The ECA represents retailers and others who seek the continued distribution of Mature-rated video games to minors.
Wow. Quite a few inaccuracies in Thompson's opening paragraph...
For reasons known only to himself, Thompson has often tried to paint me as a game industry stooge. I think the various game industry entities I've zinged over the years would have a chuckle at that notion.
As for his assertion that the ECA represents game retailers? Hardly. ECA is a consumer group. It would seemingly be difficult for a regular reader of GamePolitics - like Thompson - not to be aware of that fact.
Collaborative game industry effort to disbar Thompson? The Supreme Court referee will decide Thompson's fate based on complaints filed by, among others, two judges, neither of whom has ties to the video game industry. As for the ECA, neither it nor anyone associated with it has ever filed a complaint against Thompson. My complaint, which I filed months before the ECA even existed, was closed out by the Bar in September of 2006.
Thompson has a longstanding, contentious legal relationship with a Florida attorney by the name of Norm Kent. In the motion he seeks to tie GP to Kent:
Mr. McCauley has provided Norm Kent... the opportunity to hold forth on Mr. Kent’s analyses of Jack Thompson on his http://www.gamepolitics.com/ site, with no opportunity by Thompson to respond.
I've searched Kent's name on GP. It appears only four times. Three of those stories carry brief quotes from Kent. A couple of those were published during a time when Thompson was not permitted to post at GamePolitics, so I guess that is what he is saying here. On the other hand, no one has held forth more fervently than Thompson in GP's comments area since I lifted his ban in July. And, thanks to his frequent press releases and high profile in the game violence debate, Thompson gets covered so frequently here on GP that we created a category tag for him. So it's not like he hasn't been given a chance to be heard.
More immediately, what seems to have sparked the attempt to add GP/ECA to the suit was an e-mail exchange yesterday morning. In the daily roundup GP blogged about a gameindustry.Biz interview with Lorne Lanning, Thompson's debate opponent at the recent VGXPO. Thompson took offense to one of Lanning's comments and let us know about it.
Based on Thompson's own words and writings, I didn't think Lanning's remark was especially off-base, but agreed to delete the disputed sentence from the GP story by way of keeping the peace. Within a few hours Thompson had included the Lanning quote as part of the basis for dragging me into his lawsuit. So much for making a conciliatory gesture...
Of the Lanning quote, Thompson wrote to the court:
As if trying to further prove the above-stated point, the ECA’s http://www.gamepolitics.com/ has linked to an interview of Lorne Lanning, whom Thompson debated in Philadelphia two weeks ago.
And then, along comes some anonymous idiot who proceeeds to post a quasi-menacing comment to GP's Lanning story. Thompson was upset about this and I don't blame him. However, I don't screen comments (unless the spam filter grabs them) and I never saw this one. Thompson started sending e-mails to me about the post at 12:12 PM but I was away from my PC for several hours. By 1:30 PM he had added it to court record as a basis for his ridiculous claim against me. At about 2:30 PM, I returned to my PC, saw the comment, deleted it and IP-banned the fool who posted it - as I always do in such cases.
So apparently I am being sued for something inappropriate that someone else wrote. Something that I deleted when I discovered it. Something that, by banning its author, I took steps to prevent from happening again. Yeah, I guess that's justice...
Thompson, however, writes in his motion to the court that I have "allowed" the menacing post:
Dennis McCauley and his http://www.gamepolitics.com/, owned by the ECA has, for quite sometime, been part of that conspiracy... Now the conspiracy has taken the form of solicitations of murder against Thompson... McCauley has allowed the posting of... solicitation of murder...
It's always pleasant to see one's name attached to "solicitation of murder"... Oddly enough, Thompson, who seems to take this "solicitation" so seriously, jokes about it in his lead-in to the court:
WARNING: CONTAINS DEATH THREAT. THOMPSON DOES NOT WANT THE COURT TO BE OFFENDED… OR ENCOURAGED
Frankly, I don't expect Thompson's motion to go anywhere. Federal court cases involving alleged civil rights violations generally pertain to allegations of abuse by governmental entities. In this case, Thompson brought his original suit against the Florida Bar. So he's alleging, essentially, that myself, the Florida Bar and others are wrapped up in this vast conspiracy to get Jack Thompson.
What's more, Judge Adalberto Jordan has to approve this amendment to Thompson's complaint. I don't believe that's likely to happen. Did I mention that Thompson also tried to add Judge Jordan himself as a defendant last month?