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Judge rules that LCG lawsuit over satire posts may proceed

Posted at 6:19 PM, Nov 02, 2020

LAFAYETTE, La. — A district judge ruled Monday 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 suit 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.

According to Bizer, the judge denied that motion at Monday's hearing because he said he felt that there was a call to illegal activity and violence in the context of the event.

Bizer said he intends to file a appeal of the judge's decision with the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in Lake Charles and ask that proceedings be stayed pending the appeal.

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."

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