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Posted on Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 10:46 a.m.

Candidate's lawsuit blames Facebook for failed campaign to oust Congressman John Dingell

By Ryan J. Stanton

Dearborn attorney Majed Moughni, a Republican who sought to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. John Dingell in last year's election, is blaming Facebook for his failed campaign.

In a 10-page lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, Moughni claims his Facebook page was yanked by the site on June 10, blowing his chances of winning.

"In an attempt to overthrow the Dingell Dynasty, (I) devised a plan to use Facebook to accumulate thousands of friends, who in turn would spread the message and overseat (sic) the longest-serving member of Congress," the suit states.

A Facebook spokesman told the Detroit News that Moughni's account was shut down by a system that "flags suspicious or anomalous behavior.'' The spokesman said the system is designed to guard against harassing behavior, such as sending friend requests to people the user doesn't know or sending large numbers of messages to people who aren't the user's friends on Facebook.

Moughni finished fourth in the Republican primary last August in the 15th District race for the U.S. House, getting just 4 percent of the vote. Republican Rob Steele emerged the victor in the GOP primary but ultimately fell to the longtime incumbent in November.

The 15th District includes Ann Arbor.

Moughni says his lawsuit is serious and was filed to address "the lack of due process at Facebook," but bloggers around the net already are starting to make light of his case.

"I once sat on a plane that was overseated, but I didn't know one could actually do that to a member of Congress," Chris Matyszczyk writes in a piece posted to on Thursday.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


mike from saline

Sun, Mar 6, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

I surrender! You win! I give up! I don't care to have anything to do with your paper anymore. End my subsciption now. I'll call the subscription department in the morning to tie up any loose ends.

Joel A. Levitt

Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

"A man who has himserlf as his attorney, has a fool for a client," except when he can find no other clients.


Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.



Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 6:42 p.m.

So glad I saw this after lunch. I love a little light Saturday humor. :D

j bredell

Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 3:04 p.m.

Notice how politicians are quick to demonize "frivolous lawsuits" denying seriously injured people access to the courthouse, and then turn around and file this nonesense. What a joke.


Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 1:53 p.m.

Aww, another white male republican is victimized by a private company and he wants to clog up the courts with a frivolous lawsuit. Can you say h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e? I know you can.


Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

Facebook is a private entity. It can do whatever it wants according to its Terms of Service. No "due process" is required. If Mr. Moughni doesn't like it then maybe he can ask for a refund on what he paid Facebook. Oh, wait, it's free...


Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 10:11 a.m.

While reading this article, all I could think about was the Geoffrey Fieger commercial where he says there is no such thing as a frivolous law suit, only frivolous defenses


Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 2:55 a.m.

With as little as I know about Facebook, I do know this - to market or solicit business (or votes) on Facebook, one must have a "fan page". An individual's page is not designed or allowed to be for anything other than just connecting with friends and family. I wonder if Attorney Moughni knew this, or if his Facebook was a fan page or not.

John B.

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

What is Facebook? Is that some newfangled thing on the Internets?

Matt Cooper

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

Why, of course, it's always someone else's fault. Isn't it?


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 9:33 p.m.

LOL Internet. Maybe he should have read the terms and conditions more closely before using or filing against facebook: "WE ARE PROVIDING FACEBOOK "AS IS" WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE,..." There is no case or claim here, at all.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

I didn't get his friend request on FB. He left me out. I feel horrible about that. Depressed. Sullen. Anxious. It's affecting my quality of life. I should sue. Where's that list of attorneys?


Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

Me either! Looks like we've got enough members for a class action now!


Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.

Hahahahaaa!!! He didn't try to "friend" me either! Sigh.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

Funny but I did not see any republican post supporting this guy! But yet like everything else step up and blame republicans as a whole for this actions of this nut! Do we need to briong up every democrat nut case? I THINK NOT! But show a little class by not throwing out the rupublicans are to blame card for eveything. It only dillutes any legitimate arguements you put forth!

Turd Ferguson

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 8 p.m.

Why is he blaming FB? (I mean suing) Really? Heck, Rob Steele, a prominant name put together one heck of a campaign against Dingell and still lost. I think dading's post says it all... Who?


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 6:41 p.m.

Uhm, pure conjecture and speculation that people would have a) accepted his friend request, b) read his messages and c) voted for him. Plus, his damages are limited to the differences between what he gets paid now, and what a salary of a congressional rep is, unless of course he adds the kickbacks and honest graft he was expecting if he got into office. I'm also betting, but don't know, that Facebook has a mandatory arbitration clause in its acceptance of use terms.

Silly Sally

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.

I voted for Rob Steele and I'm sure glad that he wasn't the candidate suing. This is sillyness to the max!! Dr. Steele still lost to the Dingelsoarous and Mr. Moughni would have lost by even more. Such a silly suit! I hope that the judge tosses it out so the Dingelsoarous doesn't need to hire a lawyer of his own.

Atticus F.

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

Funny how republicans claim to be in favor of tort reform, property rights, and fewer regulations... But when a private company chooses to ban spammers, then all of a sudden it's time for a lawsuit.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

Maybe I'm off base here, but since FB is a private company, can't they deactivate his account for really any reason they want? I mean, isn't it even the case that they could shut down his account for being a Republican, if they truly wanted to do so?


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 9:35 p.m.

Read the FB terms at the bottom, there is no warranty of any kind for any type or purpose. They can do almost whatever they want basically and at anytime. They could just kick people off willy nilly if they wanted.

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

Absolutely! There's no right to Free Speech on a private website. I have no idea why he's suing or what he's hoping to accomplish, other than getting publicity. (And, I think I hit the nail on the head there at the end, eh?)

Top Cat

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.

He has pretty much torpedoed any future shot at elected office. I really wish there was an elected position for Dog Catcher so I could write him in.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

I don't think getting 4% is any sort of shot to begin with, thats almost a statistical error quantity (voted for him by accident by checking the wrong box or confusing his name, etc).

Silly Sally

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

I guess that a cat would like dog catchers and need good ones at that!!

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 5:34 p.m.

Wah, wah, wah. What a crybaby. Like Facebook is the only medium people use to learn about politicians. I predict this will get tossed out of court with a quickness.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

must be a slow news day to print this story!


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

Turnabout is fair play. Remember, Leigh Greden, an attorney who was endorsed for re-election to Ann Arbor City Council by Congressman Dingell, saw his career in politics tank after he was caught playing on Facebook for over an hour during a City Council meeting. Now Facebook has returned the favor for John Dingell, who gets the last Facebook laugh.

Rod Johnson

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 5:53 p.m.

I'm not sure if I understand this. If Facebook has returned a favor for Dingell, what favor did Dingell do for Facebook?


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

This is another reason I'm not on Facebook...egad.


Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 11:27 a.m.

Unlike this venue on FB it's really easy to ignore people you don't want to listen to. There's at least 4.7 good reasons to be on FB, mostly for LAWLZ.

Rod Johnson

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

I think there's a law that in any internet thread mentioning Facebook, at least one person has to make sure everyone knows he's not on Facebook. Thank you for your diligence on this.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

He didn't read the fine print in the TOS


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

Attorney Moughni earlier received a bit of notariety for organizing a public rally against Islamic terrorism. He angered a number of local Muslims. He is a personal injury attorney fron eastern Dearborn. I think he will have to show that Facebook breached some contractual provision or acted in bad faith. If Facebook helped him lose the GOP primary, then they probably did him a favor. I think this is another one of his plans to garner publicity which he could noot get in the GOP primary. I am sure Facebook legal counsel will keep him and the judge busy with dismissal motions.


Sat, Mar 5, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

gee...i actually now like the guy for his rally ( although you probably dont for the same reason)...although you must be ecstatic at the supreme court Phelps cult ruling. see you at SELMA one of these days?? ( i'll be there on the 18th).

dading dont delete me bro

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.


Jenna Thom

Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

Notice that he never denied sending the spam ( unsolicited friend requests and emails). Facebook does have rules and policies and if you don't follow them, you get deactivated. But...aaahh..wait...he is one of those republicans who thinks rules and procedures are for "other" people. He is a do as I say, not as I do sort of Republican. Good riddance.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

"Moughni finished fourth in the Republican primary last August in the 15th District race for the U.S. House, getting just 4 percent of the vote." Looks like the voters made the right decision. Also sound to me like the guy has too much time on his hands....maybe not enough clients? Can't understand why given his obvious grasp of the Queen's English. Given a choice between him and Dingell, I may have even chosen Dingell. (I just threw up a little in my mouth.)


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

sooo...the guy wanted to , in effect, spam the vote and now wants to blame the intended spam vehicle for catching on. Nice! Welcome to 'planet facebook'..(.which actually may not be all that great ,as events unfold from the middle east to teaparty america).


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Please let us know how this lawsuit goes. Should be interesting and a good reflection on this man.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

Yeah, lawsuits solve everything. Suing Facebook is laughable. But then he is a Republican and probably in favor of tort reform. I'm afraid to think of the havoc he could create with a 4G smartphone, if he knew how to use it.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

Yeah, it was totally facebook's fault and not the fact that few people thought he was a viable candidate in an election that was likely to go to the incumbent anyway.


Fri, Mar 4, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

Poor man. To so publicly expose his own lack of judgment shows a certain, well, lack of judgment.