Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Sixth Circuit Upholds Lower Court in March For Life Tweet Lawsuit Including Kathy Griffin as Defendant

The Sixth Circuit has affirmed the ruling of a lower court dismissing complaints against two defendants for tweets about the 2019 March for Life rally. Plaintiffs who were Covington High School students and participants in the March sued Twitter users Sujana Chandrasekhar and Kathy Griffin for their tweeted comments about the students and their participation in the rally. The plaintiffs argued that Griffin "waived her personal jurisdiction defense by failing to assert it when her attorney filed the Appearance of Counsel, but also that the exercise of jurisdiction satisfied both the state longarm statute and the Constitution." The district court dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction in the cases of both defendants.

On appeal, the plaintiffs argued that the ruling in Gerber v. Riordan required the Sixth Circuit to reverse the lower court, claiming that a notice of appearance of counsel causes the defendant to waive a personal jurisdiction defense. The Sixth Circuit clarified the ruling, writing, "Filing a notice of appearance does not, on its own, cause a defendant to waive her personal jurisdiction defense."

The case is Blessing v.Chandrasekhar.

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