Klayman Loses Suit Over Park 51 Mosque

Looks like Larry Klayman, the worst lawyer in America not named Mat Staver, has lost another frivolous lawsuit. This time it’s a suit against the owner of the Park 51 Islamic Center, the infamous and misnamed Ground Zero Mosque, for “public and private nuisance, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and assault.” You can see the full ruling here.

The plaintiff is Vincent Forras, who owns office space a 8-10 blocks away from the Park 51 center. He basically claimed that the very existence of the Islamic center was causing him psychological and emotional distress because he “suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is in immediate fear of injury and death from the mosque” and those who go to it. The fact that it hasn’t even been built yet doesn’t seem to have slowed Klayman down a bit in making such claims.

In fact, all of the claims that he made of harm actually happened because of 9/11, with the premise of the argument being that Muslims caused 9/11, therefore his knowledge that there are Muslims practicing their religion 10 blocks away is causing him serious economic and emotional damage. The judge rejected every claim of harm:

Despite this forgiving standard, the very distance between plaintiff’s premises and defendants’ activity of which plaintiff complains poses an obvious impediment to showing any nuisance, extreme or outrageous conduct as required for infliction of emotional distress, or assaultive conduct that would emanate from a religious institution to cause injury several blocks away. Plaintiff alleges increased anxiety and fear due to Islamic rituals in one room inside the building at 45-51 Park Place, but nothing akin to a congregation’s animated, frenzied, threatening, or assaultive behavior outside the building, let alone spewing out to its environs…

As injuries, plaintiff claims interference with use of his leased business premises, increased costs for security at the premises, and their reduced value. Even if, as a tenant, he has incurred the increased security costs, or reduced property value has increased his costs, rather than reducing his rent, he acknowledges that he incurred those costs due to fears engendered by the attack September 11, 2001, not due to defendants’ interference with the use of his leased space or any other action by defendants…

To support the element of extreme and outrageous conduct, plaintiff must show that defendants’ conduct was “beyond all

possible bounds of decency” and “utterly intolerable in a civilized community.” Simply stated, defendants’ use of

their property as a mosque and Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero alleged by plaintiff is not extreme and outrageous conduct…

Although plaintiff suggests fear for his safety due to defendants describing him as an enemy of Islam, his complaint

nowhere alleges any threatening conduct by defendants. Nor has plaintiff alleged that defendants breached any duty owed to him so as to unreasonably endanger his safety or cause him to fear for his safety…

Plaintiff’s assault claim fails for at least two reasons. First the mosque, which has not yet been constructed, poses no threat of immediate harmful contact. Second, plaintiff nowhere alleges any physical conduct that caused an apprehension of harmful contact.

The judge also nailed Klayman for filing his usual complaint full of angry political rhetoric instead of actual legal claims:

Plaintiff’s rhetoric and vitriolic allegations and adds irrelevant factual details that do not cure any of the deficiencies in pleading discussed above.

Every legal filing I’ve ever seen from Klayman is nothing more than one long political diatribe, something judges tend not to like very much. But the judge did conclude that the filing was not “entirely frivolous,” so he didn’t sanction Klayman as other courts have done. But since Klayman failed to appear in court for a hearing, which the ruling says “remains unexplained,” he did order the plaintiff to pay “$1,500.00 for the unexplained failure of plaintiff’s attorneys to appear for oral argument March 3, 2011.”

The plaintiff should look on the bright side: At least Klayman didn’t take $25,000 from him and then not do any legal work for it, like the woman in Florida. In that case, Klayman was reprimanded by the Florida Supreme Court and ordered to repay the woman thousands of dollars, but he pleaded poverty and said he couldn’t afford to pay it. That might have something to do with the fact that he’s a terrible attorney who rarely seems to win cases but has a long track record of being sanctioned by courts.

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