Klayman Files Another Defamation Suit

Highly litigious Larry Klayman has filed yet another lawsuit, this time against City Pages and the Phoenix New Times for libel after they reported on a magistrate judge’s conclusions that he may have touched his children inappropriately, conclusions that were included in a ruling on a custody dispute with his ex-wife. And he’s put out a press release about it.

Activist attorney Larry Klayman today announced filing a lawsuit in federal court here (Case 5:13-cv-00143-ACC-PRL) against City Pages of Minnesota and Phoenix New Times, charging that they defamed him by stating falsely that he inappropriately touched his children.

As alleged in the complaint, “The defendants in this lawsuit are ultra leftist publications who are maliciously using my children to harm me in retaliation for my legal representation of conservative clients fighting radical homosexual and pro illegal immigrant agendas.”

“To falsely use my young children to try to harm my clients and me is the lowest of the low and these ultra leftist publications and their reporters will pay a heavy legal price for doing so,” said Klayman.

“These companies and certain named reporters are being sued for defamation and defamation by inference under Florida law, for having widely published domestically and internationally false and misleading statements that I committed and was convicted of the crime of sexually abusing my own two children.”

Now I haven’t seen the articles from either of those publications, but I did write about this very subject in a post a few months ago. And I quoted the Ohio Court of Appeals ruling on the subject of the allegations made by his ex-wife against him. I didn’t accuse him of having touched his children inappropriately, and I have no idea whether he did. But that ruling at least indicates that the court found “competent, credible evidence” to support a lower court judge’s concerns in that regard.

Klayman claims that these allegations are false and were made by his wife to help her custody case and, for all I know, that may be true. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that one party in a custody dispute made up false allegations. But it’s hardly libel or defamation to quote from a public legal document that indicates that a magistrate judge found such allegations credible, or to point out that he was held in contempt of court in those proceedings and ordered to pay over $300,000 in legal fees incurred by his ex-wife and back child support he owed.

As usual, the legal complaint he filed is sure to irritate the hell out of whatever judge is unlucky enough to get assigned the case because it’s filled with irrelevant political boilerplate. He wastes an inordinate amount of time claiming that the defendants in the suit are “radical pro-homosexual activists” who promote a “perverse radical gay, lesbian, transgender sexual orientation and lifestyle for children,” as though that had anything at all to do with whether they committed libel or not. It’s almost as if he failed legal writing in law school or something, and he’s been hammered for this enough times that you’d think he would have learned his lesson by now. But this is why I call him the worst lawyer in America not named Mat Staver or Orly Taitz.


  1. Ben P says

    Bad choice….

    Arizona’s got an Anti-SLAPP law, and the 9th circuit’s held that state SLAPP laws can be used in federal court. (unlike the 2nd circuit which held that state anti-SLAPP laws were procedural in nature and could only could apply in state courts).

    If it falls under the law (and Arizona’s law may be narrow, like some others), Klayman could get stuck with the fees to defend his suit.

  2. jameshanley says

    Can he really use Florida law to go after persons in Minnesota and Phoenix? I can see this as a diversity case, allowing him to get into federal court, but would a federal court really apply Florida state law in this kind of case?

  3. Ben P says

    With or without state SLAPP laws you always have FRCP rule 11 sanctions available in federal court.

    I’m familiar with Rule 11, but I can tell you that as a matter of practice, Rule 11 sanctions are very very rare. Without being Ironic, you literally almost have to make Klayman/Taitz level screwups to end up paying on Rule 11, and then you have to be dumb about it.

    Here’s how it works.

    Plaintiff files an incredibly dumb lawsuit (well, kind of like this one). Defense lawyers will get it, and someone will draft a motion to dismiss/answer. Someone will bring up Rule 11, and it’ll get tossed around, “do we want to try it? or is the motion to dismiss enough?” Usually you come to the answer that we’ll just take up the motion to dismiss because Rule 11 risks distracting the judge from the points you want to argue.

    If you want to be the fangs out, aggressive type of lawyer, you file the Motion for Rule 11 sanctions along with your motion to dismiss. Then the other side has 21 days to decide whether he wants to withdraw the allegations. Only if the opposing party is dumb enough not to withdraw or correct the sanctionable allegations, does this issue come before the court.

    Then, a lot of times, what happens in the Judge will simply dismiss the case, you’ll bring up your rule 11 sanctions and the judge will respond with something like “you’ve already won counselor, what more do you want?”

    That is, unless the Plaintiff has made the judge angry, then you have a better chance.

  4. baal says

    Federal courts apply State law all the time.

    Klayman is …thinking poorly here. I don’t see what upside he has other than ‘go away’ money. Small newspapers don’t exactly have a lot of that. The down side risk is 1. his license 2. tens of thousands of dollars in direct court costs and 3) even more thousands for paying defendant’s reasonable costs (likely). His defamation case looks like a huge reach (on a brief skim).

  5. says

    And here is the City Pages story, I believe:


    That publication could be in some trouble. Although it mostly reports on and extensively quotes from the appellate court decision, near the end of its piece, it says:

    Turns out, gays aren’t the only ones capable of disturbing, criminal sexual behavior — apparently even conservative straight guys tight with Bradlee Dean can turn out to be total creeps.

    That’s pretty close to calling Klayman a criminal child abuser, which the court decision was not at all about.

  6. says

    Here is what I could gather:

    Klayman is suing Ken Avidor, Aaron Rupar, and Matthew Handley and their (alleged) employers. Three pieces are involved (only two of which are named in the suit), one by each writer.

    The first piece is a blog entry by Ken Avidor entitled “Bradlee Dean’s Lawyer Larry Klayman: ‘Allegations of Sexual Abuse to Children'”. Klayman doesn’t explicitly cite it, but it is Avidor’s only apparent connection to events. Avidor contrasts a piece written by Bradlee Dean with excerpts from Appeals Court Judge Mary Boyle, July 26, 2012. Avidor notes that it will be interesting to see how Dean treats that information.

    The second piece is an entry by Aaron Rupar entitled “Bradlee Dean’s attorney, Larry Klayman, allegedly sexually abused his own children”. Rupar likewise quoted from Boyle’s decision, crediting Avidor as the source. (Klayman claims that Avidor cowrote Rupar’s article but gives no evidence.) Rupar wrote “Turns out, gays aren’t the only ones capable of disturbing, criminal sexual behavior — apparently even conservative straight guys tight with Bradlee Dean can turn out to be total creeps.” Klayman says this is defamatory.

    The third piece by Matthew Hendley is entitled “Birther Lawyer Fighting Joe Arpaio Recall Was Found to Have ‘Inappropriately Touched’ Kids” and quotes from the same decision. Writing primarily about the Arpaio recall Hendley likewise quoted from Boyle’s decision, citing Rupar’s piece as a source. He noted:

    Obviously, we’re talking about civil court matters here, not criminal court or criminal charges.

    However, a magistrate judge weighed the evidence and found that Klayman acted “in a grossly inappropriate manner with the children.”

    Although Klayman isn’t specific I can only assume this is the passage he objected to, as it’s about all that Hendley had to say beyond the quotation from the decision. All three pieces quote Boyle as writing about “the magistrate’s finding that Klayman inappropriately touched the children”.

  7. drizzt says

    Can we see his birth certificate ? (surprised no one remembered to inject that one here, althougth the matter is serious)… :)

  8. D. C. Sessions says

    IANAL, so you’ve been warned. However, having no least clue has never stopped me before:

    As I remember it, you can’t turn a State-level libel case into a Federal one by joining an unrelated case against different defendants from another State. And also as I remember it, you don’t get to avoid the matter of Defendant’s home state jurisdiction that way.

    Publication in Arizona doesn’t cease to become an Arizona defamation case because the same facts were reported elsewhere. It’s that whole “personal jurisdiction and and substantial contact” thing. Which means that Arizona’s SLAPP statute would apply anyway.

    All most likely moot, because it’s going to be thrown out the moment a motion to dismiss is filed because the Court is going to need eye bleach after reading the complaint. The only reason it’s not being dismissed with prejudice sua sponte is because Federal District judges are too busy to read these things before they have to.

  9. DaveL says

    Looking over the complaint, I hit on this:

    …the magistrate who made the initial finding was biased and prejudiced against Plaintiff Klayman for his political and religious beliefs (the magistrate is Jewish and resented that(sic) Klayman, who is Jewish, because Klayman also believes in Jesus Christ and considers himself a Jewish Christian).

    Did the magistrate in this case actually recuse himself because of actual or perceived bias? Did another court officially find that he should have?

    Because if not… well, I don’t know very much about the law, but I imagine if you’re going to accuse a judge of impropriety, you’d better have all your ducks in a row and be able to prove it.

  10. DaveL says

    Here’s a real gem (emphasis mine):

    Defendants, each and every one of them, acting in concert and jointly and severally, thus caused large actual, compensatory pecuniary and exemplary damages.

    In concert and jointly? Why, that’s twice as doubly bad.

    As for the part about damages, it basically looks like he piled together every adjective in legal vernacular that could be applied to the word “damages” and threw them all in there, context be damned. How and for what were the plaintiffs being compensated by their infliction of these damages on Klayman? How could they impose exemplary (punitive) damages?

  11. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    The real sin of the Phoenix New times is their longstanding opposition to Klayman’s client, Joe Arpaio. Their lack of proper respect for the sheriff and his accomplishments.

    Arpaio hired Klayman to try to get the recall election thrown out. The new times dug up all the background on Klayman and reporterd it .. Klayman was not pleased.

  12. eava says

    He invoked the Fifth Amendment when being questioned about his conduct during the custody trial. While in a criminal trial, that cannot be used against you, in any civil matter the finder of fact, be it the judge or jury, can draw the strongest possible inference against you. And in child custody and child protection proceedings, someone may as well strap a giant neon sign to their head saying “YES I DID IT!” If they invoke the fifth amendment. It pisses judges off and they take it as an admission of guilt.

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