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Thompson sues Kotaku owner over comments, suit dismissed

Kyle Orland

[Update: The Kotaku suit has been dismissed by Federal District Court Judge Paul Huck, is now reporting. Apparently, Thompson "failed to follow the proper federal court procedure for amending a complaint." Thompson says he'll try it again though, so please, read on.]

The smoldering battle between Florida lawyer Jack Thompson and the gaming press has been taken to a new level. In a tersely worded post yesterday on Kotaku, Brian Crecente revealed that Thompson has added a complaint against Kotaku owner Gawker Media to a March 13 suit against the Florida Bar.

The childishly-worded complaint (He actually makes a "NOT!" joke on page 27) focuses on a few Kotaku commenters (which Thompson mistakenly refers to as "bloggers") that allegedly said Thompson "should be shot ... struck with a baseball bat, shot in the face by an irate gamer, [and] castrated and his testicles stuffed down his throat," among other things. To be fair, those are some strong, hateful words, and threats like these are not necessarily protected by the first amendment. Still, Gawker or Kotaku probably can't be held liable for them -- a federal judge ruled in June 2006 that "bloggers cannot be hit with libel suits on the basis of anonymous postings on their Web sites."

Perhaps knowing this, Thompson goes a different route in his complaint by alleging Kotaku is part of a "civil conspiracy ... to deprive Thompson of his various basic constitutional rights" and that the site is "attempt[ing] to intimidate a citizen for the exercise of his constitutional rights." Mark Methenitis goes into detail on what exactly is legally wrong with this overreach over at his Law of the Game blog. All we'll add is that we're sickened by this obvious attempt at legal intimidation and we support our blogging brothers at Gawker all the way.

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