We’d like to talk to you about Michigan lawyer Todd Levitt, the self-styled “BadAss Lawyer,” but we have no idea where to start. We’re also pretty concerned he might sue us, so we are going to minimize our editorializing and get all just the facts, ma’am up in here.
Last year, Levitt, who is an adjunct at Central Michigan University, sued Zach Felton, a CMU student, because Felton dared to make fun of Levitt on Twitter. It seems that after Levitt began marketing his BadAss1 self, Felton decided to mock him via a parody account. When Levitt found out, his reaction was less than charitable, and perhaps less than professional.
It didn’t help matters that young Mr. Felton was the son of another professor at CMU.
Now, even the law students among you know that parody is generally going to be protected, particularly if you say, again and again, that your parody is, well, parody. But Levitt seemed a bit unclear on the concept and sued. However, the good folks at the Isabella County, Michigan, trial court agreed with Felton and tossed the case on summary judgment.
The fact that this account is titled “Todd Levitt 2.0″ is an initial indication that this is not an original and genuine Todd Levitt Twitter account. Further, defendant included a disclaimer on the account’s main page, which stated, “A badass parody of our favorite lawyer most likely seen on Main Street.”
Additionally, defendant included three separate Tweets reminding any readers that the account was parody or satire. On April 15, 2014, defendant tweeted, “Remember kiddoes, parody accounts are #badass and #lawful.” On April 16, 2014, defendant tweeted, “Word of the day for @twebbsays is satire. Three syllables. Once you get a grasp of the concept a lot of things will start making sense.” Finally, on April 22, 2014, defendant tweeted, “A gentle reminder to potential seekers of Todd Levitt: This is not him. This is a parody account. You can find the real Todd(ler) @levittlaw.” When Todd Levitt 2.0 is considered in the context of these multiple disclaimers, this court finds that the account cannot reasonably be interpreted as stating actual facts about the plaintiff.
For most of us, this would likely be humiliation enough. Walk away, lick your wounds, put this unpleasantness behind you. But that just isn’t what BadAsses do. Nope, they sue some more…and this time they sue EVERYBODY.
Mount Pleasant attorney Todd Levitt filed a civil lawsuit Thursday against [Central Michigan newspaper] The Morning Sun, Digital First Media […] Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis, community engagement editor of The Morning Sun, College of Business professors James Felton and Kenneth Sanney and [Gordon, the attorney that represented Felton in the Twitter lawsuit] Bloem are named in the lawsuit. Levitt is accusing the defendants of libel and slander, false light invasion of privacy, intentional interference with business expectancy, infliction of emotional distress and reckless conduct through the published work of The Morning Sun. Levitt is seeking $1 million in damages for each count.
Apparently Levitt is madsad about how The Morning Sun reported information during the original lawsuit AND how the other professors defamed him AND how someone — or everyone, maybe — tortiously interfered with his BadAss business.
We wish him the best of luck in this lawsuit, mainly so that he doesn’t name us as defendants in the next one.
Listen, we think it is probably just spelled “badass” as well, but Levitt seems pretty certain that it should be stylized as BadAss so who are we to argue? ↩