February 4, 2013

Donald Trump says he's suing Bill Maher for $5 million after Trump accepted his offer, making a valid contract.

The "offer," made last month, was to "pay $5 million to Trump’s charity of choice if he provided a birth certificate proving that he’s not 'spawn of his mother having sex with orangutan.'"

Maher was comically commenting on Trump's offer to pay $5 million to Obama's charity of choice if Obama releases his college records.

This lawsuit news is, of course, Trump, once again, hogging — orangutanning — the media spotlight. Fine. I don't care. But to actually file a lawsuit is: 1. An offense against free speech, and 2. An irresponsible appropriation of the public wealth that will be consumed processing the lawsuit.
“I don’t think he was joking. He said it with venom. That was venom. That wasn’t a joke. In fact, he was nervous when he said it. It was a pathetic delivery,” Trump said on Fox News.
Speaking of pathetic... go away, Donald. And take your hair with you when you leave. 

52 comments:

edutcher said...

No offense, but lawyers talk people into filing lawsuits for dumber stuff than this all the time.

Shouting Thomas said...

Pox on both sides.

I could get into watching them destroy one another.

bagoh20 said...

But what if Donald donates the 5 Mil to pay all court costs and the rest to the ACLU.

I know we have to respect the rights of even the lowest, but Maher? Nobody thought it would mean people THAT low.

bagoh20 said...

A better fight would be Maher and Fred Phelps. That's a gladiator match. Kill, Kill Kill!

ricpic said...

I love The Donald!

sparrow said...

Judges should have the authority not just to toss out the lawsuits but to fine/otherwise punish the lawyers who brought it.

AprilApple said...

Maher and Fred Phelps... Yes. A much better match.
Two bottom feeding trolls.

BDNYC said...

I despise The Donald, but I support him in his efforts to make that scumbag Maher pay.

KenK said...

Trump is providing some work for all those excess lawyers you're cranking out every June Professor. You should be grateful.

X said...

An irresponsible appropriation of the public wealth that will be consumed

I though that was Obama America's highest calling.

Bob Boyd said...

I would think the orangutan has a case against Maher for slander.

furious_a said...

Like someone said about the Iran/Iraq War...

...a pity they BOTH can't lose.

bagoh20 said...

"An irresponsible appropriation of the public wealth that will be consumed"

The public is flat broke. Don't worry about us. We can afford this.

Kirby Olson said...

There are very few people in the national media that I can stand: O'Reilly, perhaps, is the only one for whom I have any respect. The rest are clowns, whores, or baboons.

Levi Starks said...

Actually I see viable lawsuit here, But not by Trump.
First he needs to name the charity, possibly www.nads.org/ the National association for Downs Syndrome (NADS).
You see when he offered to give the money to a charity, that's when it stopped being funny...

pogo101 said...

I tend to agree that a reasonable person wouldn't believe Maher's "offer" was earnest. It's a closer call in this case, however, because of the specific mention of giving the money to charity. That aspect of it, at least, bespeaks a serious offer. If one is joking, why mention the charity getting the money?

They both stink up the joint, Maher and Trump alike.

cf said...

A soft bigotry causes people to underestimate others: judging Donald Trump because of his choice of hairstyle blinds one to the brilliance of the man.

I understand in Business travel circles, in this lousy economy, Trump's hotelier staff and service for their guests is astonishing, personal, anticipating needs and sprinting the extra mile to make their trips feel effortless.

I love Mr. Donald.

And Maher is a snake.

William said...

Trump is in the same sweet spot that Charley Sheen was in. Charley's cocaine binges with porn stars only burnished his reputation as a party animal. Trump makes his living as a ham fisted, overbearing tycoon. This only adds lustre to that reputation. If Trump replied to his critics with irony and deferential gestures, it would be the end of his career.

carrie said...

The only negative thing about this is that it provides Maher with too much publicity.

Balfegor said...

This lawsuit news is, of course, Trump, once again, hogging — orangutanning — the media spotlight. Fine. I don't care. But to actually file a lawsuit is: 1. An offense against free speech, and 2. An irresponsible appropriation of the public wealth that will be consumed processing the lawsuit.

I can see (2), but from what you've put in the post, I don't see (1) at all. It sounds like this is an action in contract. You don't get out of a valid contract by claiming that "free speech" means it doesn't count.

And if it's not a valid contract for whatever reason, then one imagines it will get thrown out at a pretty early stage, on a motion to dismiss. The facts are all public, so I can't imagine there's going to be much dispute in the facts alleged.

Chuck Currie said...

Free speech is now like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder.

Cheers

dbp said...

It is a shame that somehow they can't both lose.

Balfegor said...

re: dpb:

It is a shame that somehow they can't both lose.

If the lawsuit costs enough, they both will!

Unfortunately, this seems like it would be a pretty cut and dried case in which the only question is whether a valid contract was formed. Our discovery system is mad, and helps drive up the costs of litigation to astronomical heights, but this is one case in which it seems like it could be kept to a minimum. I suppose they could try pulling in a bunch of counterclaims, though I wouldn't know what they could be.

KenK said...

I prefer to have Bill Maher represent the points of view he does. Whenever your enemy's in self-destruct mode, don't interrupt them just stand back and watch.

KenK said...

Every time I get my NRA director's ballot I cringe when i see Ted Nugent and Grover Norquist on it. I imagine a lot of people on the left side of things feel the same way whenever Maher calls someone a cunt or a twat or whatever. Useful idiots come in all kinds.

rehajm said...

An irresponsible appropriation of the public wealth that will be consumed processing the lawsuit.

Which happens on a daily basis in every jurisdiction around the country without fanfare, but because it's Trump, up goes Ann's dander...

Trump's shtick is tired, but it's satisfying when he uses it against people who deserve a good finger/eye poke.



KenK said...

90% of what lawyers do is a waste of public resources. So what?

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Anything that causes consternation to Bill Maher, is, by definition, a good thing.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Donald shouldn't have sued.

He should have sent a polite letter with the document, laughing at the joke but complimenting Mr. Maher for so generous an offer. Donald could have enclosed a photocopy of his check to the charity, along with a postage-paid envelope, made out to the same charity.

pogo101 said...

Father Fox, all perfectly true, but you assume that one or both of these men has class. :/

Jerome said...

"Judges should have the authority not just to toss out the lawsuits but to fine/otherwise punish the lawyers who brought it."

Attorneys can be disciplined for filing frivolous suits. But it is not evident this suit is frivolous. Mr. Maher made a public offer of a contractual arrangement, which he set forth quite clearly. Mr. Trump accepted that offer in good faith, and carried out his stipulated contractual obligations. Maher might argue that the terms are so ridiculous that no one could have supposed the offer was legitimate. However, Mr. Trump made a similar offer to Mr. Obama, which appears to have been a good faith offer. And Maher did donate a million dollars to the Obama campaign, so he can hardly argue that the amount is outside the realm of the possible. I think Maher better start thinking about a settlement.

timb said...

Jerome, there is no consideration in this contract, thus it is invalid. Go audit a Contract class in any decent university (let alone ANY law school) and you will discover 1) a contract in jest is not a contract, 2) a contract formed without consideration is not a contract, and 3) the reference was satirical and thus falls under free speech rubric protecting parodies.

Donald is so lame even Ann sees through him

timb said...

Jerome, there is no consideration in this contract, thus it is invalid. Go audit a Contract class in any decent university (let alone ANY law school) and you will discover 1) a contract in jest is not a contract, 2) a contract formed without consideration is not a contract, and 3) the reference was satirical and thus falls under free speech rubric protecting parodies.

Donald is so lame even Ann sees through him

timb said...

Jerome, there is no consideration in this contract, thus it is invalid. Go audit a Contract class in any decent university (let alone ANY law school) and you will discover 1) a contract in jest is not a contract, 2) a contract formed without consideration is not a contract, and 3) the reference was satirical and thus falls under free speech rubric protecting parodies.

Donald is so lame even Ann sees through him

Chris Lopes said...

dbp said...
"It is a shame that somehow they can't both lose."

This, very much this.

AllenS said...

Since our weapons haven't been confiscated yet, may I propose a duel?

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Balfegor said...

Re: timb:

Jerome, there is no consideration in this contract, thus it is invalid. Go audit a Contract class in any decent university (let alone ANY law school) and you will discover 1) a contract in jest is not a contract, 2) a contract formed without consideration is not a contract, and 3) the reference was satirical and thus falls under free speech rubric protecting parodies.

1) is true and is probably why the case would end on a motion to dismiss;

2) is not relevant here because the offer specified performance of a particular act (providing a birth certificate) in consideration of the $5 million donation;

3) can you give a cite? If it were a valid contract, I don't see how "free speech" could be relevant at all. Obliging people to live up to contractual terms is simply not a meaningful burden on free speech. If an offer is reasonably understood to be a serious offer, you can't just flout your contractual obligations by saying "But it was satire!" And if the case were dismissed under 1), the fact that it's "satire" is totally irrelevant -- any joke offer (e.g. for a Harrier jet in exchange for Pepsi points) should suffice.

KenK said...

AllenS is on to something. Discourse would be a lot more civil if snooty pricks like Maher and Trump had to meet in the hills of Weehawken, or somesuch, and defend their intemporate remarks physically. And the proceeds of the of the pay-per-view take could be split among the charities of the participants choice.

O Ritmo Segundo said...

These things have a way of turning out badly for Republicans.

Last time FOX sued Al Franken for making fun of them, he let it be known that he wasn't aware of having broken the law against satire.

Republicans have skins thinner than paper. And apparently hairpieces that thin, too.

Trump is an asshole. Isn't there some way of making a plaintiff who loses pay the bill? It's a good way to disincentivize against the frivolous bullshit.

And your hatred for Maher is funnier than the man, himself. You must really hate the idea that someone can untouchably make so much fun and money off of so much Republican stupidity.

Bwah.

Thorley Winston said...

Jerome, there is no consideration in this contract, thus it is invalid.

Providing the copy of his birth certificate would qualify as consideration.



O Ritmo Segundo said...

If an offer is reasonably understood to be a serious offer...

No reasonable man would have thought this. See the FOX suit against Franken. Republicans are simply humor-handicapped, but I think even most of y'all here understand that Trump is just doing his Trump thing. He practically invented the idea of manufacturing outrage from thin air. And look at how well it's caught on! (Among the right-wing).

Trump doesn't care what he responds to... if there's merit in the response or not - as long as he does it indignantly and FLAMBOYANTLY.

In this respect he is the Ur-Republican.

And no one gives a shit about your stupid pedigree either, Donald.

Think about it. For the suit to have merit, Don would have to prove that reasonable people could have believed his parents were apes.

You all are such buffoons.

This is a classic trick. When an author wants to defame a person in their work, they say "Mr. X, who has a small penis..."

If Mr. X then decides to sue, he must admit that he was accurately depicted in the work, small penis and all.

Which makes it unlikely that he will sue.

Trump is a big enough buffoon to break even this rule.

beowulf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Trump has got him on the letter of the law. But obviously Maher was only joking.
Perhaps this will wake up some on the left to our over litigious society and how the dems special interest group will sue people for the most frivolous things because they can.
So, ridiculous lawsuit. Absolutely. Still, I hope Maher feels a bit of discomfort for a while (simply because he's a dick)

Matt said...

Love or hate Maher he has won this one. Any time a thin skinned boob like Trump sues a comedian over a joke then the joke really is on them.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

This is a lot like the kid that sued Pepsi for not giving him a Jet for 7,000,000 million pepsi points (Because the commercial had a teen landing a harrier jet on his lawn and getting out and smiling and underneath the caption read "Harrier Jet 7,000,000 Pepsi points or something to that effect).
Technically Pepsi did have it in their commercial. But did anyone really believe that Pepsi was serious?
Ultimately the guy bringing the suit lost, as Trump will.
Doesn't mean that they won't bring the suit.


jr565 said...

Note though, that I think things like suing to make a Christmas Tree be called a Holiday Tree is a similar example of abusing the tort system and is as ridiculous as Trump's charge.
What's the federal holiday on december 25th called again? If you can have a federal holiday (based on religion) and it's not a separation of church and state you can certainly call a tree a christmas tree during that holiday season.

Methadras said...

No, what will happen is that he will financially strangle the little shit and make him squeal like a pig. Maher, will settle quickly to avoid bleeding financially because Trump will do that to the little shit.

bardseyeview said...

Donald Trump is the spawn of his mother. And his birth certificate does not prove that he himself never had sex with an orangutan.

"...proving he's not the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan."

The Maher "offer" could be interpreted as refering to a sex act between Trump, as the spawn of his mother, and an orangutan. Anyway, that's what Maher's mouthpiece will argue.




kiruwa said...

I'm slightly disappointed, professor.

In bad taste or not, my (admitedly limited) understanding of contract law indicates that Trump is actually correct here. An offer was made, Trump apparently 'accepted', and provided his half. He has every legal right to demand Maher's half of the contract.

This isn't a contract of "goods for sale", so it shouldn't need to be written. Is there any precedent for this sort of thing either way?

GrandpaMark said...

I guess trump did not like Maher publicly calling his mom an orangutang fucker.