Case was moot since Trump did not seek to enforce the NDA. Dismissal deprives Stormy and Michael Avenatti of chance to take depositions.
Stormy Daniels (aka Stephanie Clifford) has lost another lawsuit against Donald Trump.
In the prior lawsuit, which involved a claim that Trump defamed her by mocking her story about being threatened, Stormy Daniels was ordered to pay Trump $293,052.33 in attorneys’ fees, costs, and sanctions.
There was a second lawsuit by Stormy, before the same judge, seeking to void the non-disclosure provisions of the agreement under which Stormy was paid $130,000. She got paid, and went on national TV, but wanted a declaration that Trump wouldn’t enforce the non-disclosure. The case started in state court, then was ‘removed’ to federal court. You can read the The First Amended Complaint (pdf.).
Trump moved to dismiss the case as moot because his lawyers filed with the court statements that Trump had not intention of enforcing the non-disclosure provisions.
The Court found the case was moot except for the declaratory request, which did not satisfy federal court jurisdictional requirements.
In the instant case, the Court must determine if Defendants’ Covenants moot Plaintiff’s declaratory relief cause of action, eliminating the case or controversy that exists before the Court.2 To address this question, the Court is mindful of the fact that “a defendant cannot automatically moot a case simply by ending its unlawful conduct once sued. Otherwise, a defendant could engage in unlawful conduct, stop when sued to have the case declared moot, then pick up where he left off, repeating this cycle until he achieves all his unlawful ends. Given this concern,  cases have explained that ‘a defendant claiming that its voluntary compliance moots a case bears the formidable burden of showing that it is absolutely clear the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected to recur.'” Id. (internal citations omitted).
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Plaintiff’s claim under the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act is moot….
Defendants’ Covenants make it impossible for Defendants to sue Plaintiff based on the Agreement. EC “covenant[ed] not to assert any rights and/or claims against [Plaintiff] with respect to the validity and/or enforcement of the Confidential Settlement Agreement, including but not limited to any claims against [Plaintiff ] for breach thereof. [Defendant EC reserved] the right to seek reimbursement for the $130,000 in consideration paid to [Plaintiff] in connection therewith.” (ECF No. 79, Ex. A.) Similarly, Defendant DJT stated that he “[did] not, and w[ould] not, contest [Plaintiff]’s assertion that the  Agreement was never formed, or in the alternative, should be rescinded. Moreover, [he covenanted] that he [would] not bring any action, proceeding or claim against Plaintiff to enforce any of the terms of the  Agreement.” Based on Defendants’ Covenants, Defendants’ purportedly wrongful behavior, suing Plaintiff under the Agreement, could not reasonably be expected to recur.
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No active case or controversy exists before the Court under California Law, either…. As with the federal declaratory relief claim, there is no longer an active case or controversy before this Court because of Defendants’ Covenants.
Stormy and her attorney Michael Avenatti are declaring victory from the dismissal. But that’s idiotic, since Trump previously told the court he wouldn’t enforce the NDA. Stormy and Avenatti wanted to keep the case alive so they could take depositions, as KTLA reports:
Daniels had fought dismissal of the case because she wanted to record sworn testimony from the two.
Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, made no mention of that broader goal in declaring victory Thursday.
“The court found that Ms. Daniels received everything she asked for by way of the lawsuit — she won,” Avenatti said.
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