The complaint is one of a flurry of cases filed after the 2020 election by Smartmatic and Dominion, another voting technology company, against Trump allies and media outlets who have spread false allegations about the companies’ voting systems.
Lindell moved to dismiss Smartmatic’s complaint, arguing that the company failed to adequately plea the defamation claim, and that the deceptive trade practices claim fails because Lindell was acting in a personal, not professional, capacity when making statements about the 2020 election. MyPillow separately moved to dismiss Smartmatic’s complaint, arguing that it is shielded by the First Amendment and that it did not make any statements about Smartmatic. The company also argued that Lindell’s statements can’t be imputed to MyPillow.
U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright on Monday denied both Lindell’s and MyPillow’s motions to dismiss the complaint. The court concluded that Smartmatic has alleged sufficient facts to support its defamation claim, including its claims that Lindell’s statements were false, that his defamatory statements were communicated to outside parties, that he knew or should have known his statements were false and that he acted with actual malice in promoting them.
The court concluded that MyPillow can be vicariously liable for Lindell’s actions, since the CEO intentionally promoted MyPillow while allegedly defaming Smartmatic in the media and during public appearances. The court also maintained that Smartmatic can pursue its claim that Lindell violated the Minnesota Deceptive Trade Practice law, since the company has alleged sufficient evidence to its claim that Lindell’s statements were made in part to promote MyPillow.