(Photo credit: ElectronicFrontierFoundation)The Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF"), a nonprofit online free speech advocate, wants a California federal court to retain a defamation suit into which a federal judge in Illinois has inserted himself, the Courthouse News Service reports.
The United States District Court for the Central District of California is where plaintiffs last month initially filed an 18-page Complaint alleging, among other counts, defamation, trade libel and trademark infringement in EDrop-Off Chicago LLC & Corri McFadden v. Nancy R. Burke Midley, Inc. d/b/a Purseblog.com (Case No. 12-cv-04095). McFadden, a VH1 tv reality star of House of Consignment, alleges the defendant's blog posts amounted to cyberbullying and harmed her eBay business by accusing McFadden of engaging in "shill bidding", a practice that artificially inflates a product's value.
Since then, however, the plaintiffs obtained a temporary restraining order from United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Eastern Division) Judge Matthew F. Kennelly prohibiting the defendant from levying "shill bidding" allegations against the plaintiffs in EDrop-Off Chicago LLC & Corri McFadden v. Nancy R. Burke Midley, Inc. d/b/a Purseblog.com (Case No. 12-cv-036323).
Enter the EFF, which has filed a 16-page amicus curiae brief urging that the case remain in California and that the court deny plaintiffs' motion to dismiss the California case without prejudice. The crux of the EFF's argument is that the plaintiffs are seeking to move to Illinois to avoid California's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statute and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's free speech-friendly approach toward the Communications Decency Act. The EFF asserts transferring the case from California would have a chilling effect on free speech.