April 16, 1999
In an important legal victory for the Institute for Historical Review, the US District Court for the District of Columbia on April 13 dismissed with prejudice Willis Carto’s and Liberty Lobby’s “RICO” lawsuit (case number 1:98CV0236) against the Legion for the Survival of Freedom (parent corporation of the IHR), and its officers and directors. Carto and Liberty Lobby (LL) had been asking for more than $160 million in damages.
Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. found that the Carto/Liberty Lobby lawsuit
"… is outrageously long-winded and redundant, and hides the substance of the claims within its prolixity … the complaint was designed, with no expectation of prevailing on the merits, to burden the defendants by forcing them to spend time and energy in attempting to decipher an utterly confusing and lengthy pleading.”
Kennedy also found that the language of the lengthy complaint — 148 pages, with 769 paragraphs — was “rambling and expansive,” and violated rules for federal civil procedures which specify that all complaints “must contain a 'short and plain statement showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'”
Kennedy rejected the suit’s arguments, as well. “[T]he complaint is suffused with factual allegations that have previously been litigated and adjudged in California state courts,” he wrote. “To permit the plaintiffs to use this court to relitigate these issues in merely recycled form will needlessly waste time and effort.”
Despite its length, the original suit was submitted with not a single exhibit or piece of evidence to support any of its numerous claims. LL’s suit was the product of “a lot of work, primarily by [Liberty Lobby's] longtime attorney, Mark Lane and his able co-counsel, Frazer Walton, Jr., who prepared the suit,” wrote Carto (Spotlight, November 9, 1998). LL Chairman Vince Ryan wrote that “Attorney Mark Lane, working with attorneys in California and Texas, took six months to prepare it, producing many drafts until he was completely satisfied.” Including this initial preparation and a virtual blizzard of motions from Mark Lane in the fourteen months since it was filed, it is estimated to have cost between $300,000 and $500,000. Meanwhile, LL has been classified as “inactive” as a lobbying entity, spending none of the millions in takes in each year on outreach to the senators and congressmen who convene just three blocks away from LL’s office.
Since January 29, 1998, when the suit was filed, readers of Liberty Lobby’s weekly tabloid, The Spotlight, have repeatedly been told that this suit would vindicate Carto and LL of accusations arising out of the protracted legal battle they have waged against the Legion and IHR. Among other things, this battle has precipitated a financial crisis as a result of the Legion’s November 1996 judgment of $2.65 million dollars against LL, a judgment that also found Carto liable for $6.43 million. Ryan assured readers that this suit would “bring about a new day for Liberty Lobby,” LL’s bankruptcy schedules included anticipated proceeds from this suit as the major portion of its assets, and The Spotlight offered copies of the complaint for sale. Carto even implied in The Spotlight of November 9, 1998, that Liberty Lobby had already won the case, and that LL would soon be collecting enough money to pay off all creditors with plenty left over.
As in many other cases initiated by Carto against the Legion and IHR since 1993, however, these predictions proved wildly inaccurate.