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In what might be one of the oddest of oddball politician-related lawsuits we've seen this year, Devin Nunes, the Republican representative from California, is suing Twitter and the owners of two parody Twitter accounts pretending to be his cow and his mother, for one quarter billion dollars.
The lawsuit alleges defamation, negligence, and seeks an injunction demanding Twitter deactivate the defendants' Twitter accounts and reveal their true identities. Based on the commentary to date, the lawsuit has been called frivolous, and has been ridiculed by nearly every single late night comedy host.
Barbra Nunes' Cow
At this point, had Nunes never done nothing, the Twitter parody account probably would have run out of steam after a year or two more, without ever really gaining that much more traction, as most parody accounts do. We all love them, but few actually make it to @Popehat status, and now, @DevinCow has surpassed even the holiest of Twitter hats.
But for the fact that Nunes filed the lawsuit, the two accounts probably would have remained relatively obscure. After the lawsuit was filed and the late night comedy TV circuit caught wind of it, @DevinCow went from a thousand-some followers to 400,000-plus. This is often referred to as the Streisand effect.
Now, Nunes is facing a media and social media pile on, with pretty much everyone in agreement that the lawsuit is ridiculous, and destined to fail.
Don't Have a Cow Devin?
While the things the Twitter cow and fake Twitter mom said clearly are critical of Nunes, and even mean, the accounts are clearly parody. Another factor that doesn't play up Nunes' case in the court of public opinion is the fact that he co-sponsored a recent bill aimed at combating frivolous litigation.
One of the big legal critiques Nunes faces is the blatant attempt at forum shopping. The matter was filed in the state court of Virginia. Nunes and Twitter are both considered California residents, which really begs the question as to why the case was filed in Virginia.