Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald filed a lawsuit Monday against the man who allegedly caused him to have a seizure on Twitter, and is potentially looking to sue more than 90 other individuals for similar alleged actions.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested John Rivello in March, months after he allegedly sent an animated image known as a GIF that Eichenwald says caused him to have a seizure. Eichenwald suffers from epilepsy, and an FBI affidavit said that Rivello told other Twitter users that he hoped the GIF “sends [Eichenwald] into a seizure.”
The civil lawsuit filed by Eichenwald’s attorney in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, alleges battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and purposeful infliction of bodily harm. A press release about the complaint said that through the civil discovery process, Eichenwald’s attorneys “intend to identify [individuals who allegedly conspired with Rivello and to pursue claims against them as well.”
“We are also considering additional civil actions against the more than 90 people who have sent flashing strobe lights to Mr. Eichenwald subsequent to the public disclosure that Mr. Rivello’s strobe attack had caused Mr. Eichenwald to have an epileptic seizure,” the press release from Rothwell Figg added.
Eichenwald plans to donate any proceeds from the Rivello lawsuit to a foundation dedicated to epilepsy. Rivello is the first internet user to be arrested for a message or posting that caused direct bodily harm, according to multiple experts.