NRA Lobbyist Wins Legal Challenge

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posted on September 14, 2018
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One of the people who allegedly harassed NRA lobbyist Marion P. Hammer after the Parkland school shooting found out it’s not so easy to get off the hook—even when you’re a lawyer.

California attorney Lawrence Sorensen might have thought that if he just flew off the handle at Hammer, one of the top gun-rights advocates in Florida, she’d just shrug it off. But when the emails convey threats, well, that’s a different story.

Now that he is one of several people named in a lawsuit charging the men with harassment, he has apparently decided to try to use his legal expertise to shirk responsibility for sending the emails without considering the ramifications. Thing is, he picked a pretty lame argument, basing his petition for dismissal on the notion that Florida doesn’t have “personal jurisdiction” over him since he lives in California.

“Mr. Sorensen simply sent two email in one half hour in March to an email address that was published to the world on the internet,” the motion to dismiss said. “That email address, on its face, gave no indication that it was in Florida. Nothing in the text of the email mentioned or suggested a connection to Florida. In today's age, those two email could have been opened anywhere.” 

But U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle was having none of that. “To be sure, Mr. Sorensen says he did not know his email would be routed to Florida,” Hinkle wrote in his ruling earlier this month. “But this record shows that Mr. Sorensen could easily have learned—had he cared where he was sending his email—that Ms. Hammer was a Florida resident. In short, Mr. Sorensen intentionally sent the email to Ms. Hammer, wherever she might be, and he should have known the likely destination was Florida.”

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