PARDALIS & NOHAVICKA Free Speech Law Update:
Defamation Case Against Trump Dismissed – Calling Someone A “Dummy” Is Non-Actionable Opinion
Cheryl Jacobus sued Donald Trump to recover damages for a defamation. Cheryl is a self-styled “political strategist and public relations consultant” and a frequent commentator on television news channels and other media outlets, offering “political opinion and analysis from the Republican perspective.”
On February 2, 2016, Trump posted the following on Twitter: “Great job on @donlemon tonight @kayleighmcenany @cherijacobus begged us for a job. We said no and she went hostile. A real dummy! @CNN.”
Three days after that, Trump posted the following tweet about plaintiff: “Really dumb @CheriJacobus. Begged my people for a job. Turned her down twice and she went hostile. Major loser, zero credibility!”
Trump’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss, and Justice Barbara Jaffe agreed with Trump noting: “His tweets about his critics, necessarily restricted to 140 characters or less, are rife with vague and simplistic insults such as “loser” or “total loser” or “totally biased loser,” “dummy” or “dope” or “dumb,” “zero/no credibility,” “crazy” or “wacko,” and “disaster,” all deflecting serious consideration.
The Court reasoned that Trump’s statements that they rejected Cheryl for a campaign position do not suggest that she improperly performed her professional duties, engaged in unprofessional conduct, or injured her in her profession — a political commentator during a raucous Republican presidential primary. Therefore, the tweets were nothing more than non-actionable opinion.
Here is the Case: Jacobus v Trump