Lawsuit against NextDoor, residents, dismissed

August 7, 2020

A lawsuit brought by two Bloomfield Township officials against the social media platform NextDoor, as well as township residents Val Murray and Kathleen Norton-Schock, was dismissed with prejudice by Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Dan O'Brien on Wednesday, August 5.

In early May, township supervisor Leo Savoie and treasurer Brian Kepes, acting as part of a class action suit for local members of NextDoor, filed suit in Oakland County Circuit Court against the social media platform NextDoor, as well as township residents Val Murray and Kathleen Norton-Schock, the local administrator, alleging the company allowed Murray to monopolize posting boards with demonstrably false postings, to bully, insult and intimidate other members and to spread misinformation to defeat a ballot initiative in August 2019 seeking a $9 million special assessment district, and to continue her actions, and that Norton-Schock did not follow the platform's stated policies in monitoring the postings or banning her from the site.

Brian Wassom of the Southfield office of Warner Norcross + Judd filed for a dismissal of the lawsuit because the lawsuit violated the First Amendment.

 He said he now intends to ask the court to sanction the plaintiffs for having brought a frivolous lawsuit.

“Today’s decision is a complete validation of the First Amendment right to engage in free and open debate online without fear of being censored simply because some else disagrees with your viewpoints,” said Wassom. “The plaintiff’s lawsuit was exposed as a petty attempt to suppress opposing political opinions.”

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