Back on September 23, 2009, ACORN and two former employees filed suit against the young filmmakers who videotaped Baltimore employees of the community organizing group dispensing advice to a fake pimp and prostitute, as well as against the web site that publicized the videos, alleging violations of Maryland's law against surreptitious audio recording. At the time, I explained why I think the suit is doomed, as did others.
So what has happened in the three months and 17 days since the suit was filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City? Absolutely nothing. The plaintiffs have not even bothered to serve the complaint on the defendants, and thus there have been no hearings, no motions, no discovery -- nothing. I have zero experience litigating in Maryland courts, but my understanding is that service generally must be made within 60 days, though that is "renewable...on written request of the plaintiff." Maryland Rule of Civil Procedure 2-113. It's not as if the plaintiffs can't locate the defendants; what appear to be their home addresses are listed in the caption of the complaint.
So why would ACORN file such a lawsuit if they're not even bothering to prosecute it? Put their tormenters on the defensive. Make them spend money on lawyers. Chill further exercise of their First Amendment rights. Deter others from taking on the organization.
All of which raises the question: Was this a real lawsuit? Or just a press release on pleading paper?