Update (September 4, 2013): Counsel for Defendant, Taya Kyle, as Executrix of the Estate of Chris Kyle, has brought a motion to transfer this lawsuit, discussed below and covered heavily in the local press, to Texas. I do not see that happening but I guess we’ll wait and see. If the motion was a swing and a miss, as I think it was, then, to continue the pugilistic metaphor, Plaintiff’s counsel landed some hard counter-punches in its response. Among other things, Ventura’s counsel recites a litany of defense counsel’s overblown rhetoric (including fixing the esoteric label of a “fanfaron” on Ventura (which apparently means “an empty boaster”)). Lawyers love language and they can actually get intoxicated by purple prose. But they should be careful, write responsibly, and, if intoxicated by arcane folderol or florid bombast, for God’s sake, have a designated proof-reader.
Update (February 3, 2013): (Under the subject line: Tragic Twist in High Profile Defamation Case): “American Sniper” author, Chris Kyle, was murdered at the age of 38, shot at a firing range. Presumably Ventura’s defamation case will continue. He also named other defendants and perhaps the case against Kyle continues against Kyle’s estate. Someone may be doing legal research on that issue right now.
Original post (December 12, 2012): [Under the subject line: American Sniper Missed His Target Today (But He Still May Have Plenty of Shots):] Earlier this week, Minnesota Litigator discussed an aspect of Jesse Ventura’s defamation-based claims against Chris Kyle. Today, Sr. U.S. District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle (D. Minn.) denied Kyle’s motion for summary judgment on Ventura’s claims. The Court reasoned:
Because the parties do not agree whether Kyle’s statements were true or false, the Court cannot determine whether the First Amendment protects them.
Also, the Court rejected defendants’ argument that Kyle’s supposed appropriation of Ventura’s name was not for a commercial purpose. Even without a commercial aspect, appropriation may violate Minnesota law, the Court ruled, citing a 2006 case brought by Kyle’s own law firm as plaintiff, Faegre & Benson, LLP v. Purdy (ouch?).
Congratulations to Jesse Ventura and his lawyers at Henson & Efron (Court Anderson, David Olsen, and John Bisanz) for the win, though this is plainly just one battle in a more prolonged war, the outcome of which is anyone’s guess at this stage.