A Minnesota District Court judge on Monday denied MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s motion to throw out a lawsuit brought by a voting technology company that claims he defamed it by pushing the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen.
Smartmatic, a company that provided election technology and services to Los Angeles in the 2020 election, alleges in the complaint that both Lindell and MyPillow defamed the voting tech company by falsely promoting the theory that its machines had been hacked or rigged in favor of President Joe Biden. Lindell is a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump and has falsely maintained since 2020 that Trump won the election over Biden.
Smartmatic also alleges that Lindell, who has advertised promo codes for MyPillow products to viewers and listeners during TV and radio segments where he pushed the false narrative that voting technology was rigged in the 2020 election, used deceptive trade practices.
The complaint is one of a flurry of cases filed after the 2020 election by Smartmatic and Dominion, another voting technology company, against Trump allies and media outlets who have spread false allegations about the companies’ voting systems.
Lindell moved to dismiss Smartmatic’s complaint, arguing that the company failed to adequately plea the defamation claim, and that the deceptive trade practices claim fails because Lindell was acting in a personal, not professional, capacity when making statements about the 2020 election. MyPillow separately moved to dismiss Smartmatic’s complaint, arguing that it is shielded by the First Amendment and that it did not make any statements about Smartmatic. The company also argued that Lindell’s statements can’t be imputed to MyPillow.
U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright on Monday denied both Lindell’s and MyPillow’s motions to dismiss the complaint. The court concluded that Smartmatic has alleged sufficient facts to support its defamation claim, including its claims that Lindell’s statements were false, that his defamatory statements were communicated to outside parties, that he knew or should have known his statements were false and that he acted with actual malice in promoting them.
The court concluded that MyPillow can be vicariously liable for Lindell’s actions, since the CEO intentionally promoted MyPillow while allegedly defaming Smartmatic in the media and during public appearances. The court also maintained that Smartmatic can pursue its claim that Lindell violated the Minnesota Deceptive Trade Practice law, since the company has alleged sufficient evidence to its claim that Lindell’s statements were made in part to promote MyPillow.
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