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Levitt v. Felton

2016 WL 2944824 (2016)

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Levitt v. Felton

Michigan Court of Appeals

2016 WL 2944824 (2016)

Facts

Todd Levitt (plaintiff) was an attorney and former adjunct professor at Central Michigan University (CMU). Levitt actively marketed his legal practice in a number of ways, including the use of a Twitter account. Levitt’s tweets frequently referenced alcohol or marijuana use. Zachary Felton (defendant) at some point created a Twitter account that used a similar handle name and displayed Levitt’s picture and firm logo. Felton’s account would frequently post as Levitt and encourage CMU students to engage in illegal activity and ridicule the practice of law. For instance, one tweet read “What’s the difference between the internet and my tweeted legal advice? A: none. They’re both 100% accurate!” Levitt alleged that the harassment from Felton’s account prompted him to delete his account, caused him to lose potential clients, and forced him to stop teaching as an adjunct professor at CMU. Levitt filed suit under various tort actions and asked the court for an injunction to terminate Felton’s parody account. Felton filed a motion for summary judgment and noted that on several occasions he tweeted disclaimers that the account was a parody. The trial court granted Felton’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the tweets were constitutionally protected free speech because they were clearly parody. Levitt appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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