by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed created quite a stir in 2015 when he brought a strange-looking electronic device into MacArthur High School in Irving, TX. Although Ahmed later claimed the device was simply a home-made a digital clock, police officers took him into custody and charged him with making a “hoax bomb.”
The charges were eventually dropped, and Ahmed returned to school after a three day suspension, by which time he’d become a minor celebrity. Even President Obama took notice, tweeting, “Cool clock, Ahmed.” At the president’s invitation, Ahmed attended Astronomy Night at the Whitehouse and was introduced to NASA’s Associate Administrator for the Science Mission.
Not a bad outcome, one might think, but it didn’t satisfy Ahmed and his family. On Ahmed’s behalf, his father, Mohamed Mohamed, filed two lawsuits: one against a group of individuals, including reporters, news outlets, and the mayor of Irving, and another against the Irving School District and the City of Irving.
Last year, Ahmed’s father’s lawsuit against various individuals was dismissed, and he was ordered to pay the defendants’ considerable legal fees. When I posted about this at the time, I quoted a former federal prosecutor saying:
Mohamed has been utterly crushed…. This is the right result; his frivolous lawsuit was … calculated to harass detractors, garner publicity, and wage political war through other means.
It is hereby ordered, adjudged, and decreed that Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed (“Plaintiff”), as next friend for A.M., a minor, take nothing against Defendants … ; that this action … is dismissed with prejudice; that all relief requested by Plaintiff is denied; and that all allowable and reasonable costs are taxed against Plaintiff. [Emphasis in original.]
Whether any of the defendants in these suits will succeed in recovering their costs is doubtful. Ahmed and his father have moved to Qatar.