by Mike Schneider
Associated Press Writer
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Spike Lee has asked a federal judge to throw out lawsuit filed by a Florida couple who say the movie director mistakenly retweeted their address as the home of George Zimmerman.
Lee’s attorneys filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Elaine and David McClain. The director’s attorneys argued the lawsuit should be tossed out since the couple reached a $10,000 settlement with Lee last year.
“The court should dismiss this case because plaintiffs have already settled the claim of negligence,” Lee’s attorneys said.
The McClains contend the settlement only covered damages through the March 2012 settlement date and didn’t include suffering that occurred afterward, including the aftermath last July of Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
The McClains received death threats and had to move out of their home after the original Twitter post, they said in their lawsuit.
“Plaintiffs suffered and continue to suffer mental anguish and distress,” the McClains attorneys said in the complaint. “Plaintiffs suffered and continue to suffer anxiety and fear.”
If the case isn’t dismissed, it should be heard in federal court rather than state court due to possible prejudices of local courts and juries on an out-of-state defendant, Lee’s attorneys said. The complaint originally was filed in Florida court but Lee sought to have the case moved to federal court. A magistrate judge recommended that the case be returned to state court and Lee has filed an objection.
After Lee put the McClains’ address in a Twitter post, the director removed the tweet and apologized for the mistake in another tweet.
Lee’s attorneys said the couple wants $1.2 million, based on a phone call they had with an attorney for the McClains. The couple’s attorneys, though, haven’t acknowledged in court filings the amount of damages they’re seeking.