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Trump asks Court to SLAPP Stormy Daniels with $341,559.50 in legal fees plus sanctions

Trump asks Court to SLAPP Stormy Daniels with $341,559.50 in legal fees plus sanctions

“Mr. Trump requests that the Court consider the conduct and statements of Plaintiff and her counsel, and the benefits they have received from maintaining a dispute against Mr. Trump, and enter a sanctions award of an amount equal to or greater than the fee award”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFEoyIGbRBg

Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, sued Donald Trump for defamation over Trump’s assertion that Daniels’ lied about supposed threats against her. She is represented in the case by Democrat presidential hopeful Michael Avenatti.

Those alleged threats were covered by us on April 17, 2018, Internet Works Feverishly to Identify Sketch of Stormy Daniel’s Alleged Threatener After Her Attorney Posts Reward Offer:

Stormy Daniels the (former?) porn star who claims Trump paid her $130,000 to keep quiet about their affair now claims she was threatened in 2011.

Daniels claims the “well dressed” man approached her in a parking lot and told her to “Leave Mr. Trump alone.”

Trump called the claim a “total con job”:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/986547093610299392

The tweet to which Trump was responded pointed out that the sketch of the alleged perp looked like Danielsex husband:

https://twitter.com/RealShennaFox/status/986544764395900928

Some people (like us, jokingly) speculated it looked like Avenatti:

The Court threw out the lawsuit, finding Trump’s commentary was protected by the First Amendment.

It’s important that Trump moved to dismiss, and the court granted dismissal, under the Texas Anti-SLAPP [Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation] Statute because that is where Daniels resided, even though the case was in California and Trump is a New Yorker. The court reasoned:

Under New York’s choice-of-law principles, the law of the situs of the injury generally applies to a tort lawsuit involving diverse parties. See Stoyanovskiy v. Amerada Hess Corp., 286 A.D.2d 727, 728 (2001). However, in this day and age, with the publication of statements in online fora, the tort of defamation often involves a plaintiff injured in several jurisdictions. For multistate defamation actions, where the situs of the injury may be in multiple jurisdictions, “New York applies the law of the state with the most significant interest in litigation,” which generally is the state where a plaintiff is domiciled. See Lee v. Bankers Trust Co., 166 F.3d 540, 545 (2d. Cir. 1999). Plaintiff alleges in the Complaint that Ms. Clifford is a “resident of the State of Texas,” (Compl. ¶ 1), and conceded during argument on September 24, 2018 that Ms. Clifford is domiciled in Texas. (See Transcript of Proceedings at 11: 7.) Therefore, this Court applies Texas law to Plaintiff’s allegations of defamation and Defendant’s Special Motion To Dismiss/Strike. [footnote omitted]

So when the court threw out the lawsuit, it did so under the Anti-SLAPP statute, which grants the successful defendant attorney’s fees, subject to a submission of proof:

Having granted the Special Motion and denied Plaintiff leave to amend, the Court finally holds that Defendant is entitled to attorney’s fees. Texas law is unambiguous that “the TCPA requires anaward of ‘reasonable attorney’s fees’ to the successful movant.” Sullivan v. Abraham, 488 S.W.3d 294, 299 (Tex. 2016). “A ‘reasonable’ attorney’s fee ‘is one that is not excessive or extreme, but rather moderate or fair.'” Id. (quoting Garcia v. Gomez, 319 S.W.3d 638, 642 (Tex.2010)).

Trump just submitted his motion for attorney’s fees. (h/t Brad Heath Twitter)

He’s seeking $341,559.50 in legal fees plus sanctions. The full motion (pdf.) is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Trump makes is repeated reference to how Daniels and Avenatti exploited the case:

Defendant Donald J. Trump (“Mr. Trump”) hereby moves for reimbursement of his attorneys’ fees, and for monetary sanctions, after prevailing on his Motion to Dismiss/Strike Plaintiff’s defamation claim (the “Motion to Strike”), and obtaining a complete dismissal of this action with prejudice. Mr. Trump seeks reimbursement of fees in the amount of $341,559.50 plus any additional fees incurred in connection with preparing a Reply and attending a hearing on this Motion. A detailed breakdown of these fees is attached as Exhibit A to the concurrently filed declaration of Charles J. Harder. These fees were necessary and reasonable for the reasons discussed herein.

* * *

Plaintiff never should have filed this action in the first place. This Court has effectively so stated on at least two occasions. At the hearing on the Motion to Strike, the Court stated: “I’m troubled that there’s a claim here for defamation in the first instance.” [ECF No. 34, p. 28:5-6.]1

In the Order granting the Motion to Strike, the Court stated: “Plaintiff seeks to use her defamation action to engage in a ‘fishing expedition’ concerning the conclusory allegations in the Complaint. The Court will not permit Plaintiff to exploit the legal process in this way.” [ECF No. 36, p. 12.] Plaintiff filed this action, not because it had any merit, but instead for the ulterior purposes of raising her media profile, engaging in political attacks against the President by herself and her attorney (who has appeared on more than 150 national television news interviews attacking the President and now is exploring a run for the Presidency himself in 2020), and to depose Mr. Trump and take discovery.

* * *

Any questions regarding the reasonableness of Mr. Trump’s fees should be resolved in favor of Mr. Trump. This action is virtually unprecedented in American legal history. Plaintiff not only brought a meritless claim for defamation against the sitting President of the United States, but she also has engaged, along with her attorney, in massive national publicity relating to the case and the related Dec. Relief Action, which has included three national television appearances by Plaintiff, more than 150 by her attorney, Plaintiff’s publication of a book, and Plaintiff’s national tour of live entertainment establishments, for four-times her normal performance fee.

This Motion also seeks reasonable sanctions against Plaintiff, which are mandatory under the TCPA, in an amount within the Court’s discretion that is sufficient to deter Plaintiff from bringing similar actions in the future. See Section IV.C., infra. Here, a substantial sanctions award is appropriate given the conduct of Plaintiff and her attorney in connection with this action, and also the benefits (financial and otherwise) that Plaintiff has received from maintaining this public litigation against Mr. Trump. Plaintiff should receive no benefit whatsoever from having filed this meritless action. Therefore, she should be required to pay to Mr. Trump monetary sanctions in an amount equal to or greater than the fee award.

This action is Plaintiff’s second meritless defamation action. She filed her first action against Michael Cohen on March 26, 2018, for which Mr. Cohen responded by filing a special motion to strike pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP law. [ECF Nos. 14, 31 (Dec. Relief Action).] Plaintiff filed this action thirty-five (35) days later. Plaintiff and her lawyer heavily publicized both lawsuits and derived benefits therefrom. The Court should deliver a clear message that meritless defamation actions are unacceptable, should never happen again, and will yield her no benefits.

So Avenatti is squarely in the center of Daniels’ potential liability to Trump.

Plaintiff has capitalized on her dispute with Mr. Trump, embarking on a nationwide tour of adult live entertainment venues for which she admittedly is being paid at least four times her normal appearance fee, an extensive publicity campaign against Mr. Trump, which has included appearances on 60 Minutes, The View and Saturday Night Live, and the publication of a book. [ECF No. 28-1, Exs. B-E, J, P-Q; ECF No. 87-1 (Dec. Relief Action), Ex. H.]

The conduct of Plaintiff and her counsel suggest they will continue to bring similar claims and meritless lawsuits against Mr. Trump, if sufficient sanctions do not deter them from doing so….

Accordingly, Mr. Trump requests that the Court consider the conduct and statements of Plaintiff and her counsel, and the benefits they have received from maintaining a dispute against Mr. Trump, and enter a sanctions award of an amount equal to or greater than the fee award, to deter Plaintiff from bring similar meritless actions in the future.

That presents a number of problems, not the least of which is that Avenatti arguably has a conflict of interest as to representation.

So will Stormy turn on Avenatti?

If so, she may have to get in line.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vYVDPbL_EA https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/watch/julie-swetnick-speaks-about-alleged-behavior-by-judge-kavanaugh-1334265923929?v=raila&

————————

Stormy Daniels v. Donald Trump – Trump Motion for Attorneys Fees and Sanctions by Legal Insurrection on Scribd

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Comments

G. de La Hoya | October 29, 2018 at 9:23 pm

Creepy Porn Lawyer. Nicely branded 🙂

How’s a “working girl” gonna get that kinda money?

    rabid wombat in reply to MarkS. | October 29, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    If you know the joke…”$0.25 at a time…”

    Observer in reply to MarkS. | October 29, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Dr. Crazy-Fraud from the Kavanaugh debacle reportedly got something in the range of a million dollars from the two GoFundMe accounts set up for her benefit.

    There are apparently lots of dim-witted, Trump-hating lefties who are willing to part with their cash in order to reward anybody trying to undermine Trump or his agenda. So there’s probably no need to worry about the stripper’s financial well-being.

      Re: the GoFundMe / Crowdfunding angle: You have to also remember that Clifford (Stormy) is STILL MARRIED at this moment, which makes any income to her “community property” to which her husband has a 50% claim to. So ALL of her stripper appearances, and her book royalty and her paid appearances on TV, etc., etc., etc… are ALL divisible in the Divorce.

      The Husband can (theoretically) make the claim that the defamation lawsuit is a “sole property” debt that Clifford should be separately stuck with (and I know for a fact that the Judge in the Divorce Court will listen to that argument and at least consider it; I practice in that Court, and I personally know the attorneys involved).

      Olinser in reply to Observer. | October 30, 2018 at 2:31 am

      They’re just slush funds for rich Democrats to quietly funnel money into.

      It’s not like there’s campaign finance laws covering donations. I’m pretty sure that they aren’t required to disclose who donated or how much.

      casualobserver in reply to Observer. | October 30, 2018 at 9:40 am

      At this stage it’s purely a money making enterprise. Maybe they should register Avennati-Daniels, LLC. I expect another GoFundMe just for this specific payout to Trump. Maybe even produce another book allowing the Kavannaugh accuser to join in. It would sell well to Trump haters. Enterprise. Or as PT Barnum said about suckers and money…

    Firewatch in reply to MarkS. | October 30, 2018 at 12:39 am

    She will need knee replacements.

    puhiawa in reply to MarkS. | October 30, 2018 at 1:01 am

    I guess she can join the Kavanaugh whores and start a Go Fund Me site. it is what liberal whores do….without the sex.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to MarkS. | November 3, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Now Stormy will appreciate personal lube more than ever.

DouglasJBender | October 29, 2018 at 9:56 pm

I may forget Avenatti’s name, but I will never forget that he is “Creepy Porn Lawyer”.

    MajorWood in reply to DouglasJBender. | October 30, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    I just hope that they use his head when they photoshop her cleavage down the road. It seems like an ideal surface substrate, is approximately the right size, and entirely appropriate when an enraged Englisnman calls him a “tit.”

How likely is Trump to collect all of those fees? Is over 300k reasonable for this case?

    That depends entirely on the exact wording of the Judge’s ORDER to Clifford (Stormy) and Avenatti. If he makes it collectable by any method for collecting a judgment, including contempt, except for wage garnishment, then Avenatti WILL pay it, simply to stay out of JAIL himself.

    I have a feeling thought that Avenatti is VERY cash-poor right now, given his Bankruptcy troubles and his Ex-Partner’s attempts to collect by freezing Avenatti’s case income stream. My guess is that somebody in the Leftist sphere floats him a loan so that he can continue to try to attack Trump (but makes it contingent on him bowing-out of the Presidential Race if Hillary, Harris, Biden, or Booker look like they’re going to get the nomination.

Here, a substantial sanctions award is appropriate given the conduct of Plaintiff and her attorney in connection with this action, and also the benefits (financial and otherwise) that Plaintiff has received from maintaining this public litigation against Mr. Trump. Plaintiff should receive no benefit whatsoever from having filed this meritless action.

Plaintiff has capitalized on her dispute with Mr. Trump, embarking on a nationwide tour of adult live entertainment venues for which she admittedly is being paid at least four times her normal appearance fee, an extensive publicity campaign against Mr. Trump, which has included appearances on 60 Minutes, The View and Saturday Night Live, and the publication of a book.

Whoof! I would be interested to see the El Apple I & II v. Olivas Lodestar submission to justify the billing on an invoice for $341,559.50 for Trump’s legal fees.

There’s a basic primer on it (which, admittedly, is a little out of date now: http://www.jtexconsumerlaw.com/V19N2/V19N2_ElApple.pdf

Full disclosure: I used to practice in El Paso County Court at Law 3, where the El Apple decision originated from. Judge Alvarez there is a stickler for law and procedure, and you will OFTEN see the attorneys carrying in the practice manuals so they can directly refer to precedent on a moments notice if the Judge asks an unexpected question.

    Couple comments. In addition to the attorney fees there are also liquidated damages per the agreement (I have signed a few in my years).
    As to fees, you have the hourly Declarations, but I see this is a SLAPP claim also. Not exactly fees, but punishment. Sort of a Rule 11 thing. But worse.
    Further, I suspect a New York law office could find enough billing time sending an intern to pick up a Pastrami sandwich to pay for a car. I have seen it tried here.

    case was decided under Texas anti-SLAPP, but damages are being awarded here in #Failifornia, not Texas.

    it’s safe to say The Donald does not scrimp on lawyers, so i doubt the bill is padded, since that would be unnecessary. their usual and customary fees would be yuge.

    i just wonder what the sanctions are going to come in at. any thoughts?

    either way, Stormy’s going to need a larger g-string to collect *that* many ones before she can retire.

      case was decided under Texas anti-SLAPP, but damages are being awarded here in #Failifornia, not Texas.

      Yes, it was decided under Texas Anti-SLAPP law, because the Judge decided that was the most applicable jurisdictional law to the situation, given the residences of the parties. But, since Texas is the applicable law, the Judge gets to follow TEXAS requirements on the prove-up requirements for the “reasonable” Attorney’s fees. So even though it will be a California Court, and a California Order, it will still be TEXAS law that gets applied for proof purposes, because TEXAS law makes the attorney’s fees mandatory.

Apparently some Avenatti supporter has decided to down-vote me. Pity they’re not responding to substance.

“A ‘reasonable’ attorney’s fee ‘is one that is not excessive or extreme, but rather moderate or fair.’”

They should put the funny stuff like this in Latin. It sounds much more professional that way.

Never, ever, sue to void a nondisclosure agreement unless it is for the public good in the strictest definition: safety of person or country.
Never break a nondisclosure agreement in search of profit.
Keep the secrets you bargained for.
The New York Madam fought to the bitter end to protect her clients. Think of that. It is that simple.

Am I the only one that finds the 50 cents HILARIOUS?

    redc1c4 in reply to Olinser. | October 30, 2018 at 2:38 am

    since the case is actually here in #Failifornia, it would have been even funnier if the bill had read $341,551.50.

    5150 being the CA code for psycho 😎

    tom_swift in reply to Olinser. | October 30, 2018 at 11:41 am

    That just implies that the cost of photostats has gone up. Heaven forbid that a customer not be billed for every single photocopy.

    The phrase “nickeled and dimed” was tailor-made for the American legal system. I’ve been charged for every last phone call, every last Xerox . . . I don’t recall ever being charged for a lawyer’s trip to a pay toilet, but they probably just called it something else for billing purposes.

‘Grab em by the pu***: Courtroom edition.’

If Trump is successful, he’ll be the only man in the modern era where a ‘working girl’ pays the customer.

That being said, for the sake of your wife and child, keep it in your pants, Mr. President. The world will thank you for a modicum of restrant.

So apparently someone paid her to keep her trap shut. She did not. Can “someone” sue her to get their money back?

Asking for a friend…

    She did violate the terms of the agreement, but I believe Cohen was listed on the agreement and not Trump and he’s done a face plant, I mean an about face and released her from the agreement.

Voice_of_Reason | October 30, 2018 at 12:27 pm

$341,000 penalty must equate to a whole otta d*** sucking…

2nd Ammendment Mother | October 30, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Anyone want to see Trump donate the judgement money to the Little Sisters of the Poor to assist with their legal fees in their fight against religious infringement by the Department of Justice?

It has never been established that Trump actually had sex with Stormy Daniels. He might have been acting on behalf of a third party, the way he did for Roger Ailes.

Maybe Stormy can pay the $341,000 in trade.

Shouldn’t take her too long.

She was supposed to take the money and walk. She broke the Ho Code. She deserves what she gets.

I think Stormy’s Gofundme account is about to be wiped out. Perhaps she should get a different attorney and sue Avenatti for malpractice?

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