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Lafayette lawsuit over fake Antifa events can proceed, Court of Appeals rules

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Posted at 6:47 PM, Mar 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-20 19:47:19-04

An appeals court is allowing a city-parish lawsuit against a comedian to continue, The Advocate reports.

That decision was handed down Wednesday, upholding a November decision by 15th Judicial District Court Judge Edward Broussard.

Comedian John Merrifield made two announcements on social media last year that Antifa would allegedly be holding events in Lafayette. Those events were fake.

The lawsuit, filed by Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory, seeks an unspecified amount of money for damages of less than $75,000 dollars, even though the suit admits the post was a hoax. The suit further 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."

Guillory says city-parish resources and tax dollars were spent in response to the fake events.

In September 2020, Merrifield filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds of Louisiana's anti-SLAPP law, which protects speakers and publishers against malicious or meritless lawsuits filed that arise "from any act of that person in furtherance of the person's right of petition or free speech under the United States or Louisiana Constitution."

The posts said that Antifa was coming to River Ranch and urged attendees to bring their arms, but added "legs are optional."

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