Mike Lindell, the MyPillow CEO and stalwart Donald Trump supporter who continues to push election conspiracy theories, has lost his appeal after a lower court refused to dismiss an election-related defamation case against him.
Dominion Voting Systems sued Lindell for $1.3 billion in February of 2021, accusing Lindell of falsely accusing the company of rigging voting machines to steal the 2020 presidential election from Trump in favor of president Joe Biden.
According to Dominion, Lindell pushed the “Big Lie” of voter fraud so that he could push his own products for profit.
“MyPillow’s defamatory marketing campaign—with promo codes like ‘FightforTrump,’ ’45,’ ‘Proof,’ and ‘Qanon’—has increased MyPillow sales by 30-40% and continues duping people into redirecting their election-lie outrage into pillow purchases,” Dominion’s complaint said.
In April, Lindell sought to have the case dismissed. Among other arguments, Lindell said that Dominion couldn’t sue for Lindell’s statements about a “debate on public issues,” that Dominion didn’t plead “actual malice,” and that his statements were truthful.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, denied Lindell’s motion in August.
“Dominion has alleged numerous instances in which Lindell told audiences to purchase MyPillow products after making his claims of election fraud and providing MyPillow promotional codes related to those theories,” Nichols wrote in his order. “In totality, it has adequately alleged that Lindell made his claims knowing that they were false or with reckless disregard for the truth.”
Lindell sought certification of that denial from Nichols so that he could appeal, and then appealed the denial in September while the certification motion was still pending.
Dominion, in turn, filed its own motion to dismiss Lindell’s appeal.
On Thursday, a three-judge panel granted Dominion’s motion, stopping Lindell’s would-be appeal in its tracks.
The appeal was before Circuit Judges Robert Wilkins, a Barack Obama appointee; Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee; and Ketanji Brown Jackson, a Joe Biden appointee.
“The district court’s order denying appellants’ motion to dismiss does not qualify for immediate review under the collateral order doctrine,” the per curiam order said. The order also said that Lindell hadn’t shown that Nichols’ dismissal denied a “colorable” immunity defense, and the order “is effectively reviewable on appeal from final judgment.”
In other words, the appellate court said, Nichols’ order denying Lindell’s motion to dismiss wasn’t a final order and couldn’t be appealed.
The order also noted that Nichols hadn’t certified his order for immediate appeal pursuant to federal civil procedure rules for appeals.
“Appellants therefore have not provided any valid basis upon which this court could exercise appellate jurisdiction,” the order said.
Since the 2020 presidential election, Dominion, along with voting machine company Smartmatic, have filed a combined 11 lawsuits over baseless voter fraud claims. Other than Lindell, defendants have included right-wing and conservative networks One America News, Newsmax, and Fox News, along with various hosts and personalities, and pro-Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.
Read the court’s order below:
[Image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]