Pseudonymous Cow 1, Devin Nunes 0

Devin Nunes' lawsuit was not a good idea. It was a predictable failure.
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By Steve Benen

In March 2019, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) thought it'd be a good idea to sue Twitter and some of its users, accusing them of defamation and negligence. As NBC News reported at the time, the defendants included two pseudonymous parody accounts: "Devin Nunes' Mom" and "Devin Nunes' Cow."

The Republican congressman -- who, ironically, co-sponsored legislation intended to discourage frivolous lawsuits -- sought $250 million in damages. No, seriously.

This was not a good idea, and as the Fresno Bee reported yesterday, the case was a predictable failure.

A judge has ruled that Rep. Devin Nunes has no right to sue Twitter over statements made by a fake Internet cow, someone parodying his mother and a Republican strategist. Judge John Marshall said in a decision Friday that Twitter was "immune from the defamation claims of" Nunes, R-Tulare, due to federal law that says social media companies are not liable for what people post on their platforms.

The GOP lawmaker "seeks to have the court treat Twitter as the publisher or speaker of the content provided by others based on its allowing or not allowing certain content to be on its internet platform," Marshall wrote. "The court refuses to do so."

This is not to say the case was inconsequential: as the Washington Post noted, when Nunes first sued, in part over the "Devin Nunes' Cow" Twitter account, it had 1,000 followers. Thanks to the California Republican's litigation, it now has over 725,000 followers.

Perhaps the account holder should send the congressman some kind of dairy-related gift basket.

All is not lost for Nunes, however. According to a recent tally from Dana Milbank, the congressman has also filed suit against the Washington Post, McClatchy, CNN, Hearst Magazines, Fusion GPS, Republican strategist Liz Mair, a watchdog group called the Campaign for Accountability, and an organic fruit farmer who called Nunes a "fake farmer."

The GOP lawmaker has faced some questions about how he's paying for all of this litigation.