LAKE CHARLES, La. — The Third Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court's November 2020 ruling that the lawsuit filed by the Lafayette Consolidated Government against a comedian over satire posts about fake events may proceed.
The event, "ANTIFA takes River Ranch," was posted by the Cajuuun Memes page, which was created by local comedian John Merrifield in July.
The lawsuit asks the court to find Merrifield liable for any expenses the city incurred, even though the lawsuit admits the post was a hoax.
Merrifield's attorney, Andrew D. Bizer, filed a motion in September to strike the lawsuit through Louisiana's anti-SLAPP law.
However, a district court judge denied that motion.
The appeals court said in its March 17 ruling that it found no error in the trial court's ruling.
However, Bizer says that they will appeal the decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court. He added that both the appeal and lower courts provided no analysis in their rulings.
“It is disappointing that the 3rd Circuit denied the writ with absolutely no analysis whatsoever," said Bizer in a statement. "We are confident that the Louisiana Supreme Court will reverse the trial court’s ruling and this frivolous and vindictive lawsuit will be ultimately dismissed for what it is.”
The lawsuit against Merrifield claims that the city was required to send officers to the fake event "to ensure no harm befell any citizens or property from people taking the Antifa hoax seriously."
The lawsuit doesn't say how much money the city wants, but it does say the damages are less than $75,000.
Merrifield, who lives in New York, posted the fake event on his satire Facebook page, which said that Antifa was coming to River Ranch. It referenced "membership cards" and "uniforms." It also urged attendees to bring their arms, but added "legs are optional."
“I look forward to hearing what the Louisiana Supreme Court thinks of Josh Guillory trying to shake me down after reacting in excess to an event they admittedly knew was fake all along,” said Merrifield in a statement.
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