The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dean D. Pregerson United States District Judge
ORDER DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR A PERMANENT INJUNCTION [Docket No. 90]
Presently before the court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Permanent Injunction and Dismissal Following Summary Judgment ("Motion"). Having reviewed the parties' moving papers and heard oral argument, the court denies Plaintiffs' request to enjoin Defendant's speech and adopts the following Order. The court addresses and grants Plaintiffs' request to enjoin Defendant's conduct not involving speech in a separate Order.
Prior to 2006, Defendant Sean McWilliams ("McWilliams") worked as a consultant for a sunglasses company. In 2006, Plaintiff Oakley, Inc. ("Oakley") acquired the company. At the time, Oakley and its founder, Plaintiff James Jannard ("Jannard"), had no knowledge or awareness of McWilliams. McWilliams, however, soon began sending harassing emails to Oakley and Jannard's employees, associates, business partners, and industry personnel. McWilliams claims that he also sent emails to law enforcement agencies, such as the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
In the emails, McWilliams makes statements attacking Plaintiffs' character and accusing them of criminal activity. McWilliams accuses Oakley of sponsoring charity fraud, being part of a price fixing cartel, and hiring "Blackwater thugs" to intimidate him. McWilliams accuses Jannard of being a criminal and cheating on his wife. Some of the emails include pornographic images of McWilliams, which he claims Oakley and Jannard created. According to Plaintiffs, McWilliams also uses various email accounts to represent himself as Jannard, Oakley, or other industry actors. In at least one instance, McWilliams allegedly pretended to be Jannard posing as McWilliams, then made death threats to the President of the United States.
In its prior Summary Judgment Order, the court found that McWilliams intentionally published false facts that damaged Plaintiffs' character and reputation. The court also found that Plaintiffs were not public figures and rejected McWilliams' claim that the statements were privileged. Plaintiffs still have pending claims against McWilliams for fraud, publication of facts placing in false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The court has already held and reiterates that there is no evidence to support McWilliams' statements, which appear to arise from mental illness.
Plaintiffs now seek a permanent injunction of McWilliams' speech. Plaintiffs state that they have identified statements that the court has already found libelous, and ask the court to enjoin McWilliams from repeating these defamatory statements. Specifically, Plaintiffs' seek to enjoin McWilliams from: making the following defamatory statements about Plaintiffs, their parent, subsidiary, and affiliated companies or brands to any persons other than governmental officials with relevant enforcement responsibility: Jannard is a criminal; Jannard is an adulterer or cheated on his wife; Plaintiffs profited from proceeds generated from charity fraud; Plaintiffs (either directly or through agents) made death threats to McWilliams or his family; Plaintiffs created and/or sent pornography to or involving McWilliams; Plaintiffs engaged in intimidation tactics targeting McWilliams to secure a merger between Oakley and Luxottica; Plaintiffs sent thugs, Blackwater operatives, or military special forces to intimidate McWilliams; Plaintiffs hacked McWilliams' email account; Plaintiffs sent death threats, as McWilliams, to the White House; Plaintiffs have offered sums of money to McWilliams to remain quiet; Plaintiffs are war profiteers; Plaintiffs ignored corporate governance; Plaintiffs engaged in predatory surveillance.
Plaintiffs contend that the requested injunction of McWilliams' speech is narrowly tailored and therefore constitutional, pursuant to the California Supreme Court's decision in Balboa Island Village Inn, Inc. v. Lemen, 156 P.3d 339 (Cal. 2007).
For any permanent injunction, the moving party must show: "(1) that is has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction." eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, LLC, 547 U.S. 388, 391 (2006).
This case requires the court to determine whether it should issue an injunction against speech that the court has held to be defamatory. The traditional answer and the ...