WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2013 - Bill Maher insulted Donald Trump, and indirectly, perhaps The Donald’s parents, by publicly questioning Donald’s birth origin.
Donald and his attorney, Scott Balber, insulted all of us, and the legal system, when a contract-based lawsuit was filed against Maher.
You would think they would have considered a defamation lawsuit, if for only a split second.
Maher said he would give Trump $5 Million if Trump could prove he isn’t the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”
In October, 2012, Donald offered President Obama $5 Million, payable to the charity of Obama’s choice, if Obama would turn over his college transcripts and passport records. The next day, the President joked on Jay Leno’s show that Trump’s feud with him began when both men were “growing up” in Kenya. Barbara Walters thereafter told Trump from her seat on The View that he was making a fool of himself.
Maher says his comment was a joke. His audience laughed. Is there anybody who can seriously suggest Maher was doing anything other than mocking Trump’s offer to President Obama and making a joke? Trump’s britches apparently rode up too high and strangled his brain upon hearing Maher’s comment.
As an attorney, I feel an ethical obligation to represent the cause of justice. I want to have a feeling that I am using my time, skill, education, experience and talent, and the court system, to right a wrong. Clearly there are many cases where the definition of justice can be debated. There are also many attorneys who lose track of seeking justice when a big dollar sign emerges. How Mr. Balber determined there was a wrong perpetrated and that our court system is the appropriate place to address that wrong is beyond me.
A lawsuit that claims breach of contract must establish three things:
- An offer took place;
- An acceptance of the offer took place;
- There was consideration.
Here, Maher’s “offer” to pay the $5 Million cannot realistically be considered to be a serious willingness to give Trump the money if Trump can prove his father was not an orangutan.
As far as the “acceptance,” Trump, I would guess, somehow proved his dad was a human. I didn’t catch the news on that item. I’ll assume it with absolute certainty.
Consideration in the law means a price is paid for the promise of the other party. The price must be something of value, and it need not be money. Consideration can be a right, interest or benefit going to one of the parties, or some forbearance, detriment, or loss. The adequacy of consideration is rarely challenged, thus agreeing to give you a candy bar if you paint my entire house would be considered crazy by most, but would be legally sufficient as consideration. Perhaps it was a really good candy bar.
What consideration is Maher ostensibly getting here? Satisfaction of worldwide acknowledgment of Trump’s dad being human? Satisfaction of Trump responding?
In 2010 I had a radio show. Listeners would call in with legal questions. When there were no callers I would make comment on the legal implications of things in the news. During that summer Lindsay Lohan was constantly in the news. I abhorred talking about her, because it fueled publicity for her to whomever may have been listening, and tacitly suggested that her foibles and legal troubles were worth comment. I always ended my discussions about her by telling my listeners “this is what not to do.”
Here is an example of what not to do. Do not file a lawsuit because someone makes a joke that has zero effect on you, your world or your business.
Our court system is the best in the world. It handles cases of all sizes and mostly assists the parties in resolving their differences. In some circles, critics will talk about “frivolous” lawsuits and offer that these “clog up the system.”
The description of a lawsuit as being frivolous comes courtesy of so called “tort-reformers” who want to brainwash potential jurors and whom are mostly big businesses not interested in taking responsibility for the harms and losses they cause. Representative “tort-reform” groups are insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and tobacco companies. Truly “frivolous” lawsuits are few in number and once discovered as having no merit, they are routinely dismissed well before a trial wastes the time of a judge or jury. The concept of “clogging up the court system” is equally very much overstated.
Trump’s lawsuit will be tossed out. He continues to be an embarrassment with his actions and words. If you are reading this Donald, this is my opinion; leastwise you might sue me for slander. Wait, truth is a defense to slander.
My issue here is to publicly scold Trump’s attorney. Donald is a shameless publicist. His attorney here exercised some very bad judgment and advanced a ridiculous legal theory. Again, MAYBE a defamation case… if Donald can put on his poker face and tell us he was injured by Maher’s comment.
Paul A. Samakow is an attorney licensed in Maryland and Virginia, and has been practicing since 1980. He represents injury victims and routinely battles insurance companies and big businesses that will not accept full responsibility for the harms and losses they cause. He can be reached at any time by calling 1-866-SAMAKOW (1-866-726-2569), via email, or through his website. He is also available to speak to your group on numerous legal topics. Paul is the featured legal analyst on the Washington Times Radio, in Washington, D.C., on the Andy Parks show, the featured legal analyst for America’s Radio News Network, heard in 165 markets nationwide, and he is a columnist on the Washington Times Communities.
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