Thought the whole Bob Murray / John Oliver story was over with the judge making it clear Murray had no case and preparing to dismiss the whole thing? It appears that Murray cannot let it go. As first spotted by YouTubing lawyer Leonard French, Murray (not his lawyers) sent the judge a letter whining about the whole thing (check out French’s video for a wonderful dramatic reading of the letter):
Or just go check out the letter yourself (kudos to French for getting the document and posting it and doing the dramatic read, shame on the West Virginia courts for not having web-accessible electronic records, and a plea to French to stop putting lame ugly watermarks on public documents). Of course, the reason the letter is public is that (1) parties are not supposed to talk to the judge about their case without telling the other side, and (2) parties are not supposed to communicate with the court directly, rather than via their attorneys. And, thus, the judge added Murray’s letter to the docket in the case, along with a bit of a benchslap:
This date the Court received the attached unsolicited missive from the Plaintiff, Robert E. Murray. As it does not appear Mr. Murray forwarded copies of the same to Defense Counsel, pursuant to Rule 2.9(B) of the West Virginia Rules of Judicial Conduct, the Court has copied and enclosed the correspondence herein and filed the original in the Court’s file.
Mr. Murray’s letter is an improper ex parte communication with the Court, therefore the request to reconsider the Court’s decision cannot and will not be entertained.
The Court respectfully requests Plaintiffs’ Counsel to advise Mr. Murray against future ex parte correspondence which could result in sanctions against the Plaintiffs in this matter.
In other words: don’t do this shit, Bob.
But, of course, the real joy is in Murray’s letter itself, which is absolutely hilarious. It starts off talking about how disappointed he is in the ruling, which, sure, is understandable but it’s totally improper to send a personal letter to the judge about it.
We are deeply disappointed to learn that you intend to dismiss our lawsuit against Home Box Office, Inc., Time Warner Inc., Mr. John Oliver, and others (collectively “Defendants”). We will appeal that decision in due course.
Right. If you (stupidly) decide to appeal this, your lawyers should appeal it in due course. Reaching out to the judge on your own is… not part of that “due course.”
The jobs of our 6,000 coal miners depend on me and my reputation.
Right, then maybe you shouldn’t have done a bunch of things that caused John Oliver and many others to mock you. And those mockable things include suing John Oliver for mocking you in the first place. Because the “harm” to your reputation was caused by you — not John Oliver. There is no right in this country not to have people mock you, and considering how frequently Murray seems to be flag waving about how proud he is to be an American, he might want to take some time to read the First Amendment of the Constitution.
So, if 6,000 coal miner jobs really depend on your reputation (which, also: citation needed), then perhaps the first thing you should do is improve your reputation (pro tip: sending a hilariously dumb letter to the judge in your case does the opposite of improving your reputation).
My name is on the Company, and I am the one who our 140 lenders, our utility customers, the regulators, and the public look to in order to keep these jobs. You have enabled the Defendants to further destroy our miners’ families. We write you today to inform you of the continued personal attack and harassment by the Defendants in this case.
If your lenders and customers bail because John Oliver made fun of you, perhaps there are larger issues at play. And, of course, Murray presents no evidence that any such lender, customer, regulator or anyone else has done anything to the company as a result of Oliver’s story, or the ruling in this case.
As for “continued personal attacks,” again I have to point you to the First Amendment. Personal attacks are protected. Making fun of you is protected. Telling you to “eat shit, Bob” is protected. This isn’t even close. Telling the court that just told you such things are protected that such “personal attacks” have continued is not a compelling argument. It suggests someone is acting like a sore loser without even understanding why he lost.
Just because you feel bad, Bob, it doesn’t make it illegal.
Indeed, just yesterday, the Defendants aired worldwide the enclose attack on the undersigned and our Compay, whereby John Oliver taunted us, once again, stating “Eat Sh-t Bob” and announcing that, once your order is issued, he will “gloat” and he will be “rubbing it in the face of the person that lost over and over again.”
Oooooooooooooh. He taunted you again. I mean, that’s positively Pythonesque, and we all know how King Arthur v. French Knight turned out, don’t we?
This clearly demonstrates the vindictiveness and intentional destruction that the Defendants have caused.
No. It means that you were mocked, had such thin skin that you sued in a case that you quickly lost, and thus were called out on filing a bad case (pretty mildly too, frankly). It doesn’t show “vindictiveness.” You know what shows vindictiveness? Suing a television comedian for reporting on your antics because you don’t like how you were portrayed. And, really, if anyone’s trying to “destroy” anyone, I think that honor must go to the person who sued someone for making fun of them, demanding “general damages,” “special damages,” “punitive damages,” “attorneys’ fees” and “a permanent injunction” against the person who made fun of you.
It shows that these attacks will continue in perpetuity, as a result of your order.
No, not as a result of the order. As a result of you doing silly, mockable things up to and including filing a lawsuit over someone expressing their opinion that things you did were silly and mockable.
I am a dying old man, but our employees will pay for your decision.
Nice baseless appeal to emotion. But, of course, if you’re dying, then how does your earlier statement about how all these employees relying on your reputation for their jobs make sense? Does that mean once you die they’re all out of work? If so, isn’t that a bigger threat to their jobs?
Further, since your ruling, we have been subjected to multiple insulting and threatening email and telephone messages, including these: “BOB, KISS MY A–“‘ “Hey Bob, I guess John Oliver f—ed you in your a–. You are a real evil piece of s–t”; “Consume defecation, Bob.”; “What an old and selfish c–t of a human being. You and your industry are no longer relevant and the entire world knows it.”; “Congratulations on having HBO make you look like a big fat lardass loser in court. Idiot.;” And “Ha ha you fat pig, you lost your lawsuit… burn in hell dr. evil.” This is a very small sampling of the flagrant and extremely damaging personal attacks that we continue to receive on a daily basis.
First off, Bob, thank you for sharing those. We never would have seen them otherwise. I’m assuming that Bob self-censored the dashes in the curse words, which is nice of him. But, really, the “consume defecation, Bob” statement is a really tremendous work of art.
Oh, and Bob, defamation is not “people made fun of me and I’m sad.” It requires false statements of fact made with actual malice. That’s not what’s happening. And you don’t even bother to allege that’s what’s happening, because it isn’t.
Accordingly, we respectfully request that you reconsider your decision to dismiss this lawsuit and allow this case to proceed on the merits.
What merits? There are no merits, which is what the judge has already made clear.
Indeed, this lawsuit is extremely important to our employees, who rely on Murray Energy and me for their continued livelihoods, and to our lenders, customers, and suppliers who depend on our integrity and performance. We cannot sit idly and allow our jobs and livelihoods to be destroyed by the cruel and baseless attacks of these defendants.
Wait. This lawsuit — in which a key part is about John Oliver quoting one of your employees writing “Eat Shit Bob” on a bonus check he was voiding over safety concerns — is “important” to your employees? You sure about that, Bob?
And, again, it’s not the people making fun of you that’s “destroying livelihoods.”
The ACLU of West Virginia’s Legal Director, Jamie Lynn Crofts, put out a nice statement in response to all of this:
“Other than the fact that Bob Murray’s case against John Oliver is a ridiculous attempt to quell speech by abusing our legal system, it really is the gift that keeps on giving. With the disdain Mr. Murray has shown for our constitution and our legal system, I’m not surprised that he would also improperly try to influence a judge in this way (or with such a hilarious letter). Unfortunately for Bob, everything John Oliver has said on his show was and continues to be protected speech. It is, in fact, legal for anyone to say, ‘Consume defecation, Bob.’”
Yes, all together now: Consume Defecation, Bob.
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