MyPillow’s Mike Lindell Rejected by Supreme Court on Defamation Suit

(Bloomberg) -- The US Supreme Court turned away a bid by MyPillow Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mike Lindell to derail a lawsuit accusing him of defaming a voting technology company with his claims that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

Most Read from Bloomberg

The court decided against reviewing a federal appeals court’s conclusion that it couldn’t legally hear Lindell’s appeal until a final judgment was made in district court.

Dominion Voting Systems Inc. sued Lindell and MyPillow for $1.3 billion in damages for spreading a false conspiracy theory that Dominion helped rigged the 2020 presidential election against Trump. The business has sued others for defamation, including former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani and Fox News.

Lindell turned to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia after a district judge denied his motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Lindell’s lawyers urged the Supreme Court to pick up his case to clarify in what situations lower court decisions can be appealed before a final judgment. In his petition, his lawyers argued that the criticisms Lindell made about Dominion Voting are protected by a previous Supreme Court decision called New York Times v. Sullivan, which concluded that to face liability for defamation there must be “actual malice” or a “reckless disregard” for the truth.

Lindell contended that he didn’t act with “actual malice” because he believes he gave factual statements about Dominion Voting. The lawsuit “is designed to silence Lindell,” according to his petition.

For those reasons, Lindell’s lawyers argued that he should be able to appeal before a final judgment to protect his First Amendment rights and to avoid an “expensive and stressful judicial proceeding.”

Two of the court’s conservatives, Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, have called for the court to reconsider the New York Times v. Sullivan ruling.

The justices didn’t ask Dominion to file a response, signaling they weren’t seriously considering taking up Lindell’s appeal.

Lindell has faced challenges fighting his defamation cases. In September, a federal judge in Minnesota denied his motion to dismiss a defamation suit brought by Smartmatic Corp., a competitor to Dominion. In May, US District Judge Carl Nichols threw out a lawsuit Lindell brought against Dominion and Smartmatic that claimed defamation and a conspiracy against him by the two companies.

The case is MyPillow v. US Dominion, 21-1580.

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.