$24,625.23. That's how much a judge in 2012 ordered homophobic wingnut preacher Bradlee Dean to pay lawyers for Rachel Maddow and NBCUniversal to extricate himself from a defamation lawsuit he filed in 2011. The lawsuit--a simultaneously hilarious and offensive pontification filed by wingnut lawyer Larry Klayman--alleged that Maddow defamed Dean on her MSNBC show in two segments in which she addressed comments Dean made about gays and Muslims, two groups of people who have really, really gotten inside Bradlee Dean's head.
In February of 2012, seven months after filing the lawsuit, Dean wanted to withdraw it from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (the DC equivalent of state court) and file it in federal court instead because a recent federal court ruling apparently led Klayman to believe that federal court would be more friendly forum. (This tactic, known as forum shopping, is frowned upon but not prohibited.) On the same day Klayman filed the case in federal court, he notified the Superior Court that Dean wanted to voluntarily dismiss his case from that court. After a flurry of motions and responses from both sides, Judge Joan Zeldon ruled that she would dismiss the case without prejudice, which would allow Dean to relitigate it in federal court, only if Dean paid Maddow's lawyers for work they did on the case in her court that could not be used in defense of the case in federal court, work she determined to be worth $24,625.23. When Dean didn't pay the fees, Judge Zeldon dismissed the case with prejudice, which prohibits him from relitigating it in federal court.
Dean appealed the ruling, alleging--among other things--that Judge Zeldon was biased in favor of the defendants, as evidenced by the fact that the judge once referred to attorneys for the defendants as distinguished but never once referred to Klayman as distinguished. (Seriously, Klayman's brief makes that point several times.) He also argued that Judge Zeldon's ruling allowed a big, mean corporation to abuse poor little Bradlee Dean, a man of meager means who only wants to positively influence young people and stop the promotion of the 'homosexual agenda.' Unsurprisingly, the appeals court did not see it that way. Last month, it affirmed the lower court's ruling.
This decision does not address any of the substantive issues of this lawsuit. It says nothing about whether Rachel Maddow defamed Bradlee Dean. It merely resolves a dispute over a maneuver that Larry Klayman tried to use to forum shop. The federal court case, put on hold pending the outcome of this appeal, is still alive, but, since the appeals court upheld the trial court's dismissal with prejudice, it probably won't be much longer. It's not clear yet how that case will be put out of its misery, but it is abundantly clear that Rachel Maddow will not be paying Bradlee Dean any of the $50,000,000 he was asking for in his lawsuit.
It is also abundantly clear that Bradlee Dean needs a better lawyer.