Not surprisingly, the hoax lawsuit filed against Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has been thrown out of court. Somewhat surprisingly, it took nearly two weeks to get there.
“The complaint is stricken as immaterial, impertinent and scandalous,” Judge Steven Merryday said in the written order dismissing the complaint, via Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today. (Jackie Chiles approves of that message.)
The order was entered on May 28. The claim had been filed on May 16.
The obvious hoax prompted a debate (at least on these pages) about whether courthouse personnel should be required to flag filings that seem suspicious for review by a judge or someone else who could decide whether it’s a legitimate document that should be made part of the public record. Absent such protections, anyone can smear an athlete or celebrity with a fictitious lawsuit that, for at least a little while by at least a segment of the media and in turn the population, will be regarded as an actual claim.
For Manziel, he deftly turned the page on the information that emerged on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend by having a memorable weekend in Las Vegas. Which to date has spawned no lawsuits, real or fabricated.