Alleged “Psychic Intuition” Still Isn’t Enough to Make a Federal Claim “Plausible” Enough to Withstand Dismissal
From yesterday’s decision by Chief Magistrate Judge Raymond E. Patricco (D. Idaho) in Scofield v. Guillard:
This case arises out of the tragic murder of four University of Idaho students in November 2022. Plaintiff Rebecca Scofield is a professor at the University of Idaho. She alleges that she never met the students and was not involved with their murders in any way. Notwithstanding, Plaintiff alleges Defendant Ashley Guillard posted over 100 sensational TikTok videos falsely claiming that she had an inappropriate romantic affair with one of the victims and then ordered the murders to prevent the affair from coming to light. In turn, Plaintiff initiated this action … asserting two defamation claims against Defendant. One is premised upon false statements regarding Plaintiff’s involvement with the murders themselves. The other is premised upon false statements regarding Plaintiff’s romantic relationship with one of the murdered students….
On May 16, 2023, Defendant filed her Answer, Affirmative Defenses, and Counterclaims to Complaint. Within her Answer and Counterclaims, Defendant denied that she defamed Plaintiff because the accusations made against Plaintiff in Defendant’s TikTok videos are “substantially true.” Defendant maintained that she “used her spiritual brain, intuition, spiritual practice, and investigative skills to uncover the truth regarding the murder of the four University of Idaho students; and published her findings on her TikTok social media platform.” Defendant also affirmatively asserted 11 counterclaims against both Plaintiff and her legal counsel….
On August 8, the court dismissed the defendant’s counterclaims and granted plaintiff’s motion to quash a summons to her counsel; and yesterday, the court rejected a motion to reconsider that.
[1.] Among other things, the court says, in part:
Defendant disagrees with the Order and claims that it is void … because it “is obviously biased, one-sided, lacks in impartiality, and likely maliciously motivated.” She [argues] … that the Court violated her First Amendment Rights by ruling on the plausibility of her tarot card reading and psychic abilities ….
Defendant responded to Plaintiff’s defamation claims by going on the offensive [with her counterclaims], alleging that those claims (as well as statements made by Plaintiff’s counsel to the media about those claims) were themselves defamatory and purposely brought by Plaintiff and her counsel to systematically deprive Defendant of her constitutional rights to free speech and
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