A U.S. magistrate in Denver dismissed a class-action lawsuit that originated in Colorado against Dominion Voting Systems, Facebook and others accused of conspiring to cost Donald Trump last November's election.
U.S. District Court Magistrate N. Reid Neureiter issued a ruling less than 24 hours after arguments to dismiss the case Wednesday afternoon, because the plaintiffs who say they were harmed by unfair election tactics have the same problems as dozens of other failed cases have had: lack of standing.
Denver lawyer Gary Fielder filed the class-action lawsuit against the election software company at the center of conspiracy theories about a stolen election, in addition to Facebook, its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, as well as a nonprofit that helped local governments prepare for last November's vote.
The suit asked not to turn over the results of the election but to penalize the defendants $1,000 for each of the more than 160 million voters, adding up to more than $160 billion.
Neureiter said the suit was a "generalized complaint" — meaning it was based on information that hasn't been proven — and that it lacked enough facts “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face” and failed to "plausibly allege violation of constitutional rights."
Standing requires plaintiffs to have personally suffered a concrete and specific harm linked directly to the conduct they're challenging that can be fixed by a court decision.
"The Complaint, viewed as whole, is a generalized grievance about the operation of government, or about the actions of the Defendants on the operation of government, resulting in abstract harm to all registered voting Americans," Neureiter wrote. "It is not the kind of controversy that is justiciable in a federal court."
The judge cited similar verdicts and similar cases to the one he was dismissing in the Trump election saga that have also been dismissed by other judges in other states.
"In sum, federal courts addressing these issues, whether in the 2020 or other elections, are nearly uniform in finding the types of election-related harms of which the Plaintiffs complain insufficient to confer standing," Neureiter wrote.
On Tuesday, Fielder said his case was different, because he wasn't suing the government, but rather government officials as individuals and companies as people who played a role in the election.
Because the case was fatally flawed by standing, Neureiter said he would not take up the "many other bases for dismissal" in the lawsuit.
Dominion was represented in the case by Stan Garnett of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schrek.
"What's important is Dominion is a Colorado company, based in Denver, and they provide excellent service relating to elections around the country," Garnett said Wednesday evening. "They're very pleased Judge Neureiter issued a prompt order granting the order to dismiss, and he did it in a way that was very thorough and explained just how unfair and how wrong the plaintiffs' allegations were."