Remember that Jesse Ventura-defamation story? You do, right? If not, here’s a reminder.
Anyway, Jesse Ventura sued “American Sniper” sniper — and later his estate — for defaming him in his memoir, which has now been turned into a movie starring Bradley Cooper. (Some very powerful TV ads for it, too.)
Jesse won the lawsuit. Which surprised me (see above link containing two updates on the lawsuit). Because I was pretty snotty about Jesse and his chances. I don’t feel like apologizing exactly, but I do feel like admitting I was wrong.
Well, today’s Publisher’s Lunch had news that Jesse has now extended his lawsuit to the publisher of the book:
Six months after winning a $1.8 million award from the Chris Kyle estate in his defamation lawsuit, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura has filed suit against HarperCollins — publisher of AMERICAN SNIPER — in Minnesota Federal Court, seeking damages “in excess of $75,000” for defamation. As in the earlier suit against Kyle (and later, after his 2013 death, Kyle’s estate), Ventura takes issue with the “Scruff face” chapter in American Sniper, which documents an alleged fight between Kyle and Ventura and attributes anti-American remarks to Ventura which he denies ever making.
“The publicity and controversy generated by the false and defamatory story about Ventura substantially increased sales of American Sniper, thereby generating millions of dollars in revenues and profits for HarperCollins,” Ventura said in the complaint. Moreover, “even after Ventura successfully proved in federal court that Kyle’s story was false and defamatory, copies of American Sniper containing the Scruff Face sub-chapter continued to be sold throughout the country, including in Minnesota, and HarperCollins continued to profit from those sales.” Two HarperCollins employees, senior editor Peter Hubbard and director of media relations Sharyn Rosenblum, testified in the earlier trial.
Aside from reiterating many of the same points of the earlier trial relating to Kyle’s “Scruff face” story and the resulting media attention through television and radio appearances, Ventura also cited a follow-up opinion from Minnesota federal court on November 26, after Kyle’s widow Tara Kyle sought to overturn the verdict and demand a new trial. The court stated, “Given how much media attention the Ventura story garnered and how book sales sky-rocketed after select media appearances in which Kyle recounted and discussed the Ventura story, the jury’s conclusion that Kyle was unjustly enriched by his story about Ventura was supported by a preponderance of the evidence.” With the consent of both sides, however, the court had allowed a non-unanimous verdict when the 10-person jury was unable to come to complete agreement.
Ventura asks that HarperCollins “make restitution for all property and benefits unjustly received, including but not limited to revenues and profits from the sale of American Sniper books and/or any subsidiary or ancillary rights sales” and pay Ventura’s attorney fees and other administrative costs. A spokesperson for HarperCollins declined to comment.