• November 28, 2022

Appeals Court Overturns Jesse Ventura’s Suit Against Chris Kyle’s Widow


The US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a 1.8 million dollar suit won by Jesse Ventura in a lower court.  The decision vacates the half a million dollar defamation award and the 1.35 million dollar for unjust enrichment.  The court, in a 2-1 decision ruled that there was no unjust enrichment.  That case can only be appealed to the Supreme Court.  The court also vacated the defamation portion of the suit, but the court ruled that the portion of the suit covering defamation would be retried in district  court.  The ruling to throw out the unjust enrichment part of the suit was unanimous.

From The StarTribune:

In a partial dissent, Circuit Judge Lavenski Smith concurred with the majority’s decision to reverse the unjust enrichment award, but disagreed with the majority’s decision to vacate and remand the defamation judgment for a new trial.

 The 2014 verdict was the product of a rare split decision. After six days of deliberations the 10-member jury deadlocked and U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle won agreement from the attorneys on both sides to allow members to vote. The verdict was 8-2 in favor of Ventura. The estate appealed, arguing that the judge had erred in his instructions to the jury.
The original decision to sue the estate of Chris Kyle amounted to taking money out of the pocket of Kyle’s widow and was widely criticized by many in the media and on social networking.
The suit was predicated by a passage in Kyle’s book, American Sniper, where he confronted Ventura over his comments that the Navy Seals “deserved to lose a few” because of their conduct in the war.  Ventura denies it ever happened.  Ventura was a failed one term governor of Minnesota and a former entertainer in the WWF.

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