Back in February GOP turn LP presidential candidate Gary Johnson and several top members of his campaign staff were named defendants in a hefty $105K legal suit filed in Alexandria, Virginia Federal Court by Jonathan M. Bydlak, their former fundraiser. On Tuesday April 24th, Judge Liam O’Grady dismissed the case citing a lack of jurisdiction over several of the defendants. In addition, O’Grady noted that no single defendant was being sued in excess of $75,000, the court’s threshold.
Bydlak v. Gary Johnson (4/24/2012) [scribd]
Hammer of Truth obtained the documents from Johnson campaign spokesman Joe Hunter, who puts it bluntly, “It pretty much speaks for itself, so no, we don’t have an additional comment.”
We sought a legal analyst (who did not want to be named in this interview) who was more forthcoming on the implications of the ruling, explaining “it was dismissed on a jurisdictional technicality (lack of jurisdiction over the both the defendant AND the matter).” He looked at Burnham & Gorokhov and concluded, “These guys seem a bit young. They don’t really appear to do civil law much … focusing on criminal and white collar law. Every lawyer has his ‘weak area’”.
“The mistake they made on totaling up the dispute for jurisdictional amount is not the stupidest thing ever done. But every lawyer knows that Federal Court is a different beast than state court and that you really have to get your form as well as your content right. If they’d merely consulted with either a book about civil procedure or a practice guide for Federal Court, the first things everybody knows is to work really hard in preparation so that you don’t get bounced out of court on a technicality.”
“The best hurdle to clear is beating ‘summary judgment’. These guys didn’t even get close to that far before they got dismissed.”
The summary judgement noted in the brief factored in two key areas where jurisdiction came into play: a $75,000 minimum for at least one defendant; OAI, GJ2012 and Gary Johnson (personally) were subject to the court’s jurisdiction, but the other defendants were not.
Our legal expert summed it up, “They sued in Federal Court without, apparently, understanding how that’s supposed to work.”
Bydlak may yet still pursue his legal gambit by resubmitting in the correct venue, as we’re pretty he’ll do if he’s still miffed about that $105K he claims he’s owed.
Request for comments from Bydlak or his legal representatives at Burnham & Gorokhov, PLLC were not returned.