In opposing Ventura’s motion to substitute Taya Kyle, as executor of the estate of Chris Kyle, as defendant, the Executor noted that Ventura’s continuation of this lawsuitagainst her would establish that portrayal more clearly than any of Chris Kyle’sstatements. This case is unusual because the possible impact of the allegedly false and defamatory statements
so closely coincides with the possible (and possibly even greater)impact of Ventura’s subsequent deliberate litigation decisions.Ventura had a choice to continue this lawsuit, or to dismiss it after Chris Kyledied. He chose to continue the lawsuit. Public reaction to that choice was not favorable.Ventura had another choice when Taya Kyle asked to move trial of this action toTexas to mitigate the effect of trial on her young children. In opposing transfer, Venturahas chosen to regard his own convenience more highly than the convenience of the Kylefamily, and complains that a Texas jury pool would likely be biased against him. Themotion to transfer is not about whether Ventura is entitled to continue his lawsuit to pursue his oft-cited goal of “clearing his name.” Rather, it is simply about managing thelitigation so that Ventura can pursue his rights without inflicting unnecessary pain on theKyle family. Yet once again, Ventura’s choices convey the message that he is more
Ventura and his counsel adamantly assert that the “deserve to lose a few”statement amounts to an accusation that Ventura committed treason. (
, Dkt. #102 at42; Dkt. #183-4 at p.2; Ventura Tr.-307-09.) Such exaggerated allegations have no rolehere. Plaintiffs cannot base recovery in a libel action upon their own interpretations of defendants’ statements, rather than on the statements actually made.
Conroy v. Kilzer
,789 F. Supp. 1457, 1462 (D. Minn. 1992). Furthermore, as a matter of law, the statementat issue cannot amount to an accusation of treason; the attributed quotation “may berepugnant to listeners” but is entitled to constitutional protection.
Phelps-Roper v. Koster
,713 F.3d 942, 946, 948 (8th Cir. 2013) (Westboro Church members displayed signs atsoldiers’ funerals displaying such statements as “Thank God for Dead Soldiers”).
CASE 0:12-cv-00472-RHK-AJB Document 184 Filed 09/10/13 Page 2 of 13