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Could Terri Jones be Held Liable if He Causes Harm?

Is the Proposed Koran Burning a Mass Tort? Could there be Liability if Harm Occurs?
This looks a lot like a slow motion disaster in the making.

Terry Jones, the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida who is at the center of the Koran uproar, has so far resisted calls to cancel the bonfire.

President Obama and Eric Holder feel that there’s absolutely nothing they can do, apart from giving speeches, of course.

They have mis-interpreted the First Amendment, contrary to 230 years of US law, which is available in all law libraries. They feel that the First Amendment gives everybody an absolute right to say anything they want any time they want anywhere they want. They have decided to utterly disregard hundreds of Supreme Court cases that say that freedom of speech is limited (like every other right in the Bill of Rights).

One man’s right to free speech ends when that speech is highly likely to cause death or great bodilty harm to another person. Gen. Petraeus is on record in sworn testimony before the Congress that death or great bodily harm is the likely consequence of Terri Jones proposed speech act.

And yet the spineless, wormlike, Jellywaggle Blancmange Obamination — who has never seen any evil anywhere that he was willing to stand up to, says that he and Eric Holder’s hand are tied, there’s not a thing they can do — no injunction — no restraining order — not a thing — they are helpless.

Does that mean that every tort lawyer in the world is also helpless — and will be completely passive and inert if Terri Jones does his act and harm actually ensues.

See, then it’s not a First Amendment issue. The First Amendment is about prior restraint by the Federal government, not about tort suits brought after harm has been done by private tort lawyers.

Terri Jones and his Church and possibly his congregation members who participate in his act might very well be liable in civil law for all deaths and injuries that occur as proximate results of the proposed Koran burning. If a jury is satisfied that act A caused result B, and that result B was a clearly foreseeable consequence of act A, and that harm was done, then liability can be imposed as a matter of civil law. It’s called a mass tort — where a lot of people are hurt from a single act done by a single party — Terri Jones and his Church.

I think there’s also a case for damages based on the costs of increased security precautions that had to be put in place as a proximate result of the conduct of Terri Jones. So it’s like the Balloon Boy situation. One person causes a costly mass alarm that imposes otherwise unecessary costs on officials and law enforcement and security professionals.

Between these two torts Terri Jones will be out of business.

I think there’s also a Federal law that prevents malfeasors from profiting from book deals they make based on their bad acts. There may be a Florida law as well.

The fact that the President is a Jellywaggle Blancmange does not mean that Terri Jones is completely beyond the reach of American and world justice.

If the bad act is done the bad Karma will come to Terri Jones. I speak as a former member of the American Trial Lawyers Association (now retired).

We are not helpless.

We are not spineless.

When we see evil, we do something about it.
To the many out there who simply have no idea what the First Amendment protects, I have this question:

If Terri Jones shouted "Fire!" in a crowded theatre, when there was no fire, would his speech be protected by the First Amendment in your opinion?

Do you feel that the Supreme Court of the United States, in 100 opinions dating back 70 years, might possibly know more about the First Amendment, and what it protects, than you do based on Civics 101 that you slept through in High School?


I would not allow him to get to that point, This would all be long over. My deputy’s would have already handled the
matter to my request, And we would be doing what we
are paid to do. Which is to continue to protect and serve.

  1. odinscharge
    March 27th, 2011 at 12:09 | #1

    Only if he does something directly. If it results from his demonstration then no because this would be free speech. The only thing that could happen then would be if his congregation left him or removed him as church leader.
    References :

  2. Oyeloca Oyeloca
    March 27th, 2011 at 12:21 | #2

    Not really, he just does his thing. There’s hate speech 24/7 on tv everywhere, he just went a bit further.
    References :

  3. How_Would_I_Know
    March 27th, 2011 at 12:28 | #3

    Are you sure you want this? You should probably think it through a bit..

    You’re here supporting a book which calls or the genocide of billions of people. Believers in this book will follow it’s teachings and kill millions of people in the next year. Are you sure you want to be held liable for those murders?
    References :

  4. Moth on the wall.
    March 27th, 2011 at 12:51 | #4

    Actually, since the fire department refused his burn permit, all they could do is get him for a misdemeanor offense.
    References :

  5. Uncle Pennybags
    March 27th, 2011 at 13:05 | #5

    And naturally you’d feel the same way if people were angered by the building of the Ground Zero mosque and violence erupted as a result of them building the mosque despite the clear anger over it, right?
    References :

  6. TAT
    March 27th, 2011 at 13:42 | #6

    OMG! This is so funny! There is nothing illegal about burning a Bible, the Constitution, or the Koran. There is nothing illegal about standing up to radicals of any religion including the peaceful religion of Islam. If the fire gets out of hand and someone is burned, then yes. the church is responsible. But if one of those peaceful Muslims, decides to attack a military base, plant a car bomb in NYC, or hijack a plane, it is THEIR choice. You would never rationalize the random killing of muslims just bc someone offended our nation or religion, would you?
    References :

  7. Michael G
    March 27th, 2011 at 13:57 | #7

    see cartoon..
    References :

  8. The Scales of Justice are on the mend.
    March 27th, 2011 at 14:11 | #8

    I would not allow him to get to that point, This would all be long over. My deputy’s would have already handled the
    matter to my request, And we would be doing what we
    are paid to do. Which is to continue to protect and serve.
    References :

  9. ?GhostOfJaneDoe?
    March 27th, 2011 at 14:51 | #9

    Are the people issuing the death threats against him going to be held liable for threat of bodily harm? Probably not. But you’re a former lawyer, as you say. You wouldn’t even be asking this question if you’d have been hired by the good ole Rev. to protect his rights…
    References :

  10. CW Orange
    March 27th, 2011 at 23:21 | #10

    No wonder you got out of the practice of law. That is tortuous reasoning brought to you by an ambulance chaser.

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