Sunday, February 14, 2016

Defamation Suit Stemming From Ground Zero Mosque Plans Dismissed

Forras v. Rauf, (DC Cir., Feb. 12, 2016), is another installment in the battle that began in 2010 over plans to build the so-called "Ground-Zero Mosque" near the site of the 2001 World Trade Center Attacks.  When the plans were announced, former firefighter Vincent Forras filed suit attempting to stop the project, contending it was a public nuisance and asserting claims for infliction of emotional distress and assault. (See prior posting.) In seeking dismissal of the case, defendant Imam Rauf's attorney submitted an affidavit contending that the lawsuit was motivated by "blind bigotry."  Forras' suit was dismissed, but he and his attorney Larry Klayman then sued Rauf and Bailey in federal district court in the District of Columbia for defamation. In this opinion, the D.C. Circuit held that the defamation suit should be dismissed because there is no personal jurisdiction in D.C. over defendants under D.C.'s long-arm statute.