A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday rejected Sidney Powell’s counterclaim against Dominion Voting Systems. The “Kraken” lawyer had asserted the voting machine company’s litigation to “punish” her for her 2020 election claims amounted to “abuse of process.”
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, a Donald Trump appointee, made short work of Powell’s counterclaim in a three-page order. In doing so, the judge cited his similar prior dismissal of the MyPillow defendants’ counterclaim against Dominion.
“Previously, in related litigation, the Court granted Dominion’s motion to dismiss a counterclaim for abuse of process asserted by another group of defendants. See US Dominion, Inc. v. MyPillow, Inc., Civ. A. No. 21-445 (CJN), 2022 WL 1597420, at *3–4 (D.D.C. May 19, 2022),” Nichols said. “For substantially similar reasons, the Court will also grant Dominion’s motion to dismiss Powell’s counterclaim.”
Nichols said Powell fell short of alleging an ulterior motive, but the judge noted there was an even bigger problem.
“Even if Powell adequately alleged that Dominion had an ulterior motive in bringing its lawsuit, her counterclaim fails under the second element,” Nichols said.
Powell “fail[ed] to link her abuse-of-process claim to any act that Dominion has taken other than filing and pursuing its lawsuit.” The judge, noting that Powell’s counterclaim focused “entirely on an ulterior motive,” said she “failed to state a claim for abuse of process.”
The judge went into even more detail in a footnote, which appears in part below:
In her opposition to Dominion’s motion to dismiss, Powell points to two allegations made in the fact section of her counterclaim. First, Powell alleges that Dominion sent a letter—along with a copy of its complaint against Powell—to an individual demanding that he retract his allegedly defamatory statements about Dominion’s role in the 2020 election. Second, Powell alleges that Dominion has made public statements suggesting that it will file more lawsuits like the one it filed against Powell. Powell claims that both acts support a finding that Dominion is using its lawsuit to suppress public criticism.
But neither of these acts is improper, and both fall “far short of the usual case of abuse of process where there is an attempt at extortion in a manner collateral to the litigation.”
In ruling against MyPillow and its CEO Mike Lindell, Judge Nichols similarly noted “an abuse of process claim may not be based on the mere filing of a lawsuit.”
“In [Lindell’s] view, rather than targeting Dominion’s lawsuit, his claim targets Dominion’s ‘overarching Lawfare campaign to silence viewpoint-based speech,'” the judge said in the May opinion. “But Lindell fails to identify any act that Dominion has taken other than filing and pursuing its lawsuit. His abuse of process claim therefore also fails.”
Read the order here:
[Image via the Australian Broadcasting Corporation/YouTube]
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