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    SPLC Hires High-Powered Defamation Lawyer to Defend Tax-Exempt Status in RICO Lawsuit

    SPLC Hires High-Powered Defamation Lawyer to Defend Tax-Exempt Status in RICO Lawsuit

    By Tyler O'Neil February 1, 2019
    chat 126 comments

    Screenshot of the SPLC "hate map."

    On Thursday evening, Baltimore attorney Glen Keith Allen, who is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for racketeering, wire fraud, defamation, and other claims, told PJ Media that the SPLC has hired a high-powered attorney to defend them in the case. Among other things, Allen's suit demands a court judgment against the SPLC's 501c3 tax-exempt status, which could seriously cripple the organization.
    "The SPLC Defendants have engaged Chad Bowman of Ballard Spahr, a large and well-regarded D.C. law firm, as their counsel," Allen told PJ Media in an email statement. He also said that he has formally "served" the SPLC, Heidi Beirich, and Mark Potok and that they have acknowledged and received the service. In other words, it's on.
    Ballard Spahr is a Philadelphia-based law firm with more than 650 lawyers nationwide. It was founded in 1885 and is highly respected in the legal field.
    Chad R. Bowman is a Washington, D.C. counselor and litigator who focuses on working with new media and legacy media organizations, as well as other nonprofit and for-profits engaged in speech and public advocacy. Before joining Ballard Spahr, Bowman worked as a reporter at The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (BNA). He has represented media clients in cases involving defamation, privacy, copyright, subpoena, access, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and other First Amendment issues.
    Bowman defended the Associated Press against a libel claim from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, defended Gawker against a defamation claim from former Major League Baseball pitcher Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams, defended The New Yorker against a defamation claim from Canadian art authenticator Paul Biro, and defended CBS Interactive against a defamation claim from Hall of Fame basketball player Scottie Pippen.
    The SPLC's decision to hire an attorney with such a high profile, rather than looking to their own internal counsel, suggests a real fear that Allen's lawsuit has teeth and may prevail.
    For his part, Allen told PJ Media he "filed a pro hac vice motion for the admission of Frederick C. Kelly, a New York lawyer," to serve as co-counsel.
    The lawyer is expecting the SPLC to file a motion to dismiss.
    Lawsuit Claims SPLC Abetted Theft, Spread Lies to Destroy Lawyer for ‘Thought Crime’

    As for the process moving forward, Allen sent PJ Media this rough timeline of the stages of a lawsuit:

    • complaint filed
    • complaint served on defendants
    • initial disclosures and scheduling order
    • negotiation of a confidentiality agreement
    • defendants' motion to dismiss, i.e., argument that complaint on its face fails to state a viable claim
    • if complaint survives a motion to dismiss, discovery, e.g., document exchange, interrogatories, depositions, and subpoenas to third parties
    • defendants' motion for summary judgment based on what discovery revealed, i.e., argument that no reasonable fact finder could find for the plaintiff based on the evidence brought out in the discovery phase
    • if the plaintiff survives the motion for summary judgment, on to trial
    • trial
    • post-trial motions by the losing party
    • appeal to the federal circuit court of appeals (the Fourth Circuit in my case) by the losing party
    • possible petition for review (writ of certiorari) by the U.S. Supreme Court -- discretionary (Supreme Court accepts only a small fraction of certiorari petitions)

    Allen also claims that the SPLC, Beirich, and Potok caused intentional harm to his career and profited from his loss, defamed him, and aided and abetted Dilloway's breach of contract. In yet another count against the defendants, the lawsuit claims the SPLC negligently trained and supervised Beirich and Potok. In addition to the compensatory damages of $1.5 million, the suit demands punitive damages of $5 million.
    While defamation cases are notoriously hard to win, the SPLC is uniquely vulnerable to them, thanks to public statements revealing the group's motive in smearing mainstream organizations as "hate groups" — to "completely destroy them."
    Even Google may be vulnerable to such lawsuits due to its work with the SPLC. The far-Left group has consistently demanded that tech companies blacklist organizations on its list of "hate groups," and many have complied. Amazon, for instance, removed D. James Kennedy Ministries and ADF from its charity platform, Amazon Smile.
    The far-Left smear group is almost certain to ask the court to dismiss Allen's lawsuit, but its decision to hire Chad Bowman is revealing. The SPLC knows its tax-exempt status is in trouble.
    Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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