Rall v. LA Times: Lawsuit Update

Here’s the latest on my defamation and wrongful termination lawsuit against the Los Angeles Times.

At the first of three hearings to consider the Times’ anti-SLAPP motions against me, the judge in the case chastised both the Times’ and my attorneys for violating court rules governing page counts.

The problem began because Times’ attorney Kelli Sager submitted a 27.5 page anti-SLAPP motion against me, asking the court to dismiss my suit and award the Times’ its six-figure legal bill. Court rules limit the page count to 15.

We adhered to the 15-page limit, but it wasn’t possible to reply to 27.5 pages of argument with 15 pages. So in order to effectively counter the Times’ 27.5 page motion, we used a smaller font size.

According to Law360.com: “At the start of the hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Sanchez-Gordon announced she was continuing the hearings on all three motions to future dates and asked that the parties respectively submit amended court filings ‘in compliance with court’s rules and without appendices and footnotes.’ The refiled documents should not exceed 20 pages, she said. ‘I just want both of you to adhere to the California Rules of Court, that’s all I’m saying,’ Judge Sanchez-Gordon said. ‘I’m continuing this because I could not get through [them], I’m sorry.'”

Both the Times and I will resubmit revised anti-SLAPP and opposition to anti-SLAPP motions, respectively, to the court for hearings to be held in June and July.

“Many cartoonists in the States will watch what ensues with interest, considering it a timely test of the First Amendment,” reports Cartoonist Rights Network International.


  • Thanks for the update, Ted – we’ve been waiting with bated breath.

    Maybe they’ll get lucky and you’ll die of old age before you actually get to trial.

  • Thanks for the update, Ted. Did the judge need a magnifying glass to read your lawyers’ “reduced-font” submission? (Admittedly, I laughed out loud when I read that.) 😀

  • «We adhered to the 15-page limit, but it wasn’t possible to reply to 27.5 pages of argument with 15 pages. So in order to effectively counter the Times’ 27.5 page motion, we used a smaller font size.» Does that mean, Ted, that from now on we’re going to get 7 frames per cartoon, instead of, as hither to 4, but reduced in size ? In which case, I strongly approve of the manoeuvre….


  • alex_the_tired
    March 8, 2017 6:55 AM

    And it begins. First, note that had Ted’s lawyer not adhered to the page count limit, the case would have summarily been decided for Tronc. But when the LATimes’ side violates the rules, it’s not a big deal, is it?

    I suspect this is how it will go from this point forward. The other side will continue to mess with things in such a way as to force Ted’s side to not be able to adhere to the rules in some way. They will ask for continuances, they will explain that their shoelaces weren’t tied properly, and thus they deserve a do-over, and all shall be granted.

    When Ted’s side can’t get into court because of a “security issue”? Case summarily dismissed, ruling in favor of Tronc. Mr. Rall. The law means the law. You and your lawyers must respect the law’s reasonable demands. That you were physically barred from entering the building is not our fault.

    If they win, it will be on such a technicality.

    • I note that the LA Times is offering me the opportunity to purchase items from their so-called Free Speech Collection. Search as I might, I was unable to find a coffee cup or a T-shirt with the text «We fire cartoonists who irritate the LAPD», but perhaps they’re saving that item for the Anti-Free Speech Collection….

      (They are also offering me «Start your special trial today to receive 8 weeks of home delivery of the Sunday paper plus Unlimited Digital Access every day for just 99¢.») I’m almost tempted to take them up on that one, in order to see how they will provide me with home delivery of eight issues of the Sunday paper for 0.99 USD. Or perhaps their lawyers will submit a 27.5 anti-SLAPP memorandum to demonstrate that nothing in «home delivery» can be construed to mean delivery to my home, in the event such delivery would place a burden on the newspaper. Perhaps I can get the court hearings scheduled so that I’ll meet Ted, either coming or going…. 😉 )


  • It has been my experience in LA Superior Court that what rules the number of pages is a word-count (click file, then properties) at a 14 font next a 1 and a half line spacing with a one-inch bofder all around. THEN, if you follow the rules while your opponent does not, the judge is obligated to toss their filing back at them (without even a summary review of their reasoning) with one chance to amend. If they still file it bloated, the judge should then sanction them, and maybe even toss their cause. What rules-of-court is your judge using Ted?


    • hmmm, so I guess we’re free to speculate as to HOW you got so familiar with the LA Superior Court. >:-D

      So I was at a motorcycle rally recently. One guy was selling knives. He had a nice switchblade so I asked the price. He said, “I can only sell that to law enforcement personnel” so I said “I’ve had a lot of experience with law enforcement”, and walked away with a shiny new knife…

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