A lawsuit brought against actor Alec Baldwin by the family of a Wyoming Marine killed in Afghanistan was dismissed Wednesday, court filings show, after a judge found it had no standing in the state.
Since Baldwin lives in New York, Judge Nancy Freudenthal said in her order, the Wyoming federal court has no jurisdiction over the case.
The sisters and widow of Rylee McCollum, a Marine from the Jackson area who was killed in an August bombing at the Kabul airport, alleged in the suit that Baldwin had subjected them to online harassment after reposting a photo shared by Roice McCollum from the Jan. 6 riots.
Baldwin had sent the family a $5,000 donation after hearing of Rylee’s death. When he saw Roice’s photo on Instagram, court documents state, he commented on her post and exchanged private messages with her to confirm she was the one who received his donation.
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He then reposted (and later deleted) her photo to his 2.4 million followers. In the complaint, the McCollums said that Roice then received hundreds of “hostile, aggressive, hateful” messages from his followers that caused her and the other plaintiffs distress, anxiety and fear.
The case was dismissed without prejudice, which means the plaintiffs could still bring their allegations again in another court.
According to the ruling, Baldwin was born and raised in New York and has no personal or business connection to Wyoming.
“The McCollum’s (sic) argument that ‘Baldwin cannot simply pick a fight in Wyoming and scurry back to his Manhattan penthouse claiming he is immune from the consequences of his action in Wyoming’ is entirely unpersuasive,” Freudenthal wrote. “Mr. Baldwin was never in Wyoming to ‘pick a fight’ and did not ‘scurry back’ as he never left New York.”
The judge ruled that since Baldwin made the posts from New York, and they were not directed at a Wyoming audience specifically, the case cannot be brought in the state.
“We are pleased with this victory,” said Baldwin lawyer Luke Nikas. “This is a significant step toward the complete dismissal of the lawsuit, which seeks to punish Mr. Baldwin for expressing his political opinion.”
Freudenthal’s order does not address “the multitude of allegations, claims and arguments” made in the initial complaint.
“Those tort claims are still alive, just not in Wyoming,” said Dennis Postiglione, a lawyer representing the McCollums. “We have full plans to refile in a jurisdiction where we can sue Baldwin.”
Postiglione said they’ll likely refile the case on the same allegations in New York or California, where Baldwin works.