Alex Jones and InfoWars provide a good lesson in how not to conduct a lawsuit. Alex Jones and InfoWars are being sued for making false claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre was not real. One of the parents of the murdered children, Neil Heslin, sued Mr. Jones for defamation in Travis County, Texas. Another lawsuit is pending in Connecticut. The Texas judge, Scott Jenkins recently issued sanctions against Mr. Jones and InfoWars. Judge Jenkins sanctioned the Defendants for sending a corporate representative to a deposition who could not testify to a critical issue, on what basis did Alex Jones and InfoWars claim the Sandy Hook parents were “crisis actors.” The Defendants also failed to preserve many social media posts regarding its frivolous claims about the Sandy Hook shooting.
Among the violations cited in Plaintiff’s motion (Cause No. D-1-GN-19-004651, Travis County) for sanctions:
- the Defendants failed to issue a litigation preservation hold until a year after the lawsuit had been filed
- the Defendants failed to preserve relevant videos
- the Defendants destroyed tens of thousands of emails
- Mr. Jones fired his lawyer the evening before he was to be deposed
- Before the corporate representative testified in his deposition, he admitted he essentially did nothing to prepare for the deposition. He spoke with no InfoWars employee other than Mr. Jones. Yet, this was a deposition in which he was expected to testify about critical issues.
- In answer to an interrogatory asking Mr. Jones for his sources for 18 different claims about the Sandy Hook massacre, he simply responded various news sources. But, in his deposition, he said he did not recall the sources, but if he had known to look, he could have found the sources.
- And, the same Defendants were previously sanctioned in three earlier lawsuits.
It is remarkable that the plaintiff submitted a very detailed 47 page motion for sanctions. While the Defendants responded with a six page response that did not respond to many of he allegations in Plaintiff’s motion. Alex Jones and InfoWars are clearly engaging in dilatory tactics.
State court judges do not issue sanctions lightly. One could say, and I have said this many times, that it is very difficult to get sanctions in state court. That Judge Jenkins issued sanctions indicates Alex Jones and InfoWars have disregarded the rules of civil procedure several times. The judge sanctioned the Defendants $65,825. The judge also sanctioned the Defendants another $34,323 on the same day. All this just due to discovery issues. Trial is still a long way away. It appears Alex Jones and InfoWars are not taking this lawsuit seriously. See Daily Beast report here.
And, this all comes just a few months after the Defendants sent child porn to the Plaintiff as part of its discovery documents. The Defendants claimed an internet troll sent the porn. But, it certainly shows negligence or incompetence on the part of the Defendants.