Court orders Antifa activist to pay $11k for frivolous claims
A California court has ordered noted Antifa activist Yvette Felarca to pay over $11,000 in damages to former Berkeley College Republicans President Troy Worden.
The ruling, issued Wednesday, comes after a restraining order filed against Worden by Felarca was dropped in October, prompting Worden and his lawyer, Mark Meuser, to sue Felarca for damages and attorney fees, as Campus Reform first reported.
"The award of attorney fees should send a strong signal that she cannot abuse the court system to silence speech."
Worden, who has made numerous appearances on national media in his capacity as a Campus Reform correspondent to discuss his ongoing battles with the Berkeley administration and who was voted a winner of Campus Reform's 2017 Higher Ed Heroes Award, remarked at the time that "Felarca's frivolous legal actions were meant to intimidate [him] and hinder [his] political activism."
Harmeet Dhillon of the Dhillon Law Group, through which Meuser is representing Worden, said that Felarca has a history of “filing and dismissing utterly frivolous cases against innocent targets” and pledged to hold her and her lawyers “accountable.”
“Felarca and her fellow travelers in BAMN [By Any Means Necessary]/Antifa need to learn that the California courts are not their personal plaything to use and abuse at will by filing baseless and vexatious lawsuits,” she added, with Worden noting that the restraining order prevented him from exercising his free-speech rights on campus.
Now, Commissioner Thomas Rasch of the Superior Court of Alameda County has ordered Felarca to pay Worden $11,100 in attorney fees, according to a Thursday press release, which says Rasch determined that the order “had not been filed in good faith.”
Additionally, the press release notes that Felarca, whom it identifies as a Berkeley Middle School teacher, was arrested twice in 2017 for incitement of a riot, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer, arguing that the restraining order was an attempt to further stifle Worden’s First Amendment rights after the College Republicans invited several controversial speakers to campus.
“By ruling that she did not demonstrate good faith in filing the restraining order, the court recognized the frivolous nature of Felarca’s actions,” Meuser remarked. “The award of attorney fees should send a strong signal that she cannot abuse the court system to silence speech.”
The press release also notes that the University of California, Berkeley’s efforts to block speakers invited by the school’s College Republicans chapter are the subject on an ongoing federal lawsuit.
“This marks the second time in two months that Felarca and her lawyers have been ordered by an area court to pay the attorney fees of their opponents for filing legally and factually unsupported claims in court,” Dhillon commented. “True victims of harassment/stalking/assault need the courts to be available to them as a priority, not clogged with fabricated claims pursued in bad faith.”
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