UPDATE: Judge dismisses Levitt v. Felton, attorney seeks appeal

Order and opinion calls Todd Levitt 2.0 account 'protected free speech'

Central Michigan lawyer Todd Levitt, right, was in court on Friday at the Isabella County Trial Court building to see if his suit against CMU student Zachary Felton will go to trial. Levitt is suing Felton for defamation in regards to a parody social media account.

UPDATE: Todd Levitt told Central Michigan Life on Friday that he will seek an appeal.

"This is not the end of my case," Levitt said. "It's just the beginning. In some ways, this is a case of first impression that needs to go up to (a) higher court."

A new Twitter account titled "Zach Felton 2.0" appeared early Friday morning parodying the defendant. It is unknown at this time who runs the account.


Attorney Todd Levitt's case against Central Michigan University student Zachary Felton has been dismissed.

Isabella County Trial Court Judge Paul Chamberlain issued a written opinion and an order to dismiss the case Thursday. Chamberlain concluded that Felton's parody Twitter account is protected free speech.

"The Supreme Court has held that certain statements are protected, even when provable false," Chamberlain wrote. "In this case, (Felton's) Twitter account cannot be reasonably interpreted as anything other than a parody account."

Chamberlain pointed to the language of the Tweets as a clear indication of satire. Felton's lawyers argued the account made multiple attempts to distinguish it as parody. Chamberlain agreed.

Levitt sued Felton in June 2014 after the two feuded on Twitter using their respective accounts. Felton's account, titled Todd Levitt 2.0, posted tweets impersonating Levitt. The account also used Levitt's logos and pictures.

Felton Tweeted using Todd Levitt 2.0 three times Thursday, the first Tweets on the page in months. The first expressed his thoughts on winning the case.

"Motion for summary disposition granted," he wrote. "Levitt v. Felton is over. Parody lives on!"

Another Tweet took one last jab at the attorney.

"Rough day at the office," Felton wrote. "Lost another case... maybe the new 'Better Call Saul' will give me a boost."

Mount Pleasant attorney Gordon Bloem represented Felton since the case's inception. Bloem said he's happy the case is over, and that the decision was far from surprising.

"It's what we thought all along," Bloem said. "I thought the case law involved was well established and the discovery we did set the basis for the motion." 

Bloem believes his client's case was "solid from the get go." Felton's defense was aided by Grand Rapids attorney Jon Schrotenboer, who was added to the case in January. Felton's family has an insurance policy that protects them from this type of litigation, Bloem said. Schrotenboer joined the case so the policy could pay the legal fees.

Phone calls requesting comment from Levitt were not returned at the time of publication. Levitt does have a right to appeal.


About Ben Solis

Ben Solis is the Managing Editor of Central Michigan Life. He has served as a city and university ...

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