Islamic Society of Arlington, Texas v. Kaufman

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

10/12/2007

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

Texas

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)
Injunction Issued

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
On October 12, 2007, the Islamic Society of Arlington, Texas, and several other Islamic organizations sued Joe Kaufman for libel and intentional infiction of emotional distress in Texas state court. In addition to seeking libel damages, the plaintiffs asked the court to... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Joe Kaufman

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Location of Party: 

  • Texas

Location of Party: 

  • Florida
Description

On October 12, 2007, the Islamic Society of Arlington, Texas, and several other Islamic organizations sued Joe Kaufman for libel and intentional infiction of emotional distress in Texas state court. In addition to seeking libel damages, the plaintiffs asked the court to prevent Kaufman from threatening, harming, or inciting violence against them.

Kaufman is the chairman of Americans Against Hate, an organization that describes itself as a "civil rights organization and terrorism watchdog group." Kaufman published an article on the FrontPage Magazine website calling for a protest of "Muslim Family Day" at Six Flags Over Texas, an amusement park in Arlington, Texas. In the course of the article, Kaufman claimed that two organizations co-sponsoring the event had ties to radical Islamic groups abroad, including Al-Qaeda. Neither of the two organizations mentioned in the article sued Kaufman.

The day the lawsuit was filed, the court issued a temporary restraining order against Kaufman, enjoining him from threatening or harming anyone associated with the Muslim Family Day event. The protest at Muslim Family Day, led by Kaufman, took place without incident. Weeks later, the court granted a temporary injunction forbidding Kaufman from threatening or causing bodily injury to the plaintiffs.

Update:

6/25/2009 - The Court of Appeals for the Second District of Texas reversed the trial court's denial of Kaufman's  motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment in his favor. The court found that the article was not "of and concerning" the plaintiff organizations as a matter of law. 

In deciding the appeal, the appellate court also held that Kaufman was entitled to take advantage of Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 51.014(a)(6), which allows "a member of the electronic or print media" to make an interlocutory appeal from an order denying a motion for summary judgment. The court rejected the plaintiffs' argument that Kaufman could not rely on the statute because he only published on the Internet.

7/01/09 - The Islamic Society filed a motion seeking a en banc rehearing.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Texas

Source of Law: 

  • Texas

Court Name: 

348th District Court of Tarrant County, Texas

Court Type: 

State

Case Number: 

348-226855-07

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

CMLP Notes: 

Status checked on 6/5/2008, no new information (AAB)

7/6/09 - AVM added information about request for en banc rehearing, and links to discussion of legal jihad