Defamation

[Partner David] Cowling and the very intoxicated summer student began to dance in a sexually explicit manner. The student’s arms were around Cowling’s neck and his hands were on her waist and buttocks. While dancing, Cowling placed his hand on the student’s breast. Shortly thereafter, the summer student fell to the floor. She was assisted to her feet by Cowling and others. The summer student then went to the washroom where she vomited over her hair, body and clothes

– Canadian lawyer Sarah Diebel, in the statement of defense she filed in opposition to a defamation lawsuit by David Cowling, a former partner at the Canadian law firm of Mathews Dinsdale & Clarke.

(Cowling sued Diebel and another former associate, Adrian Jakibchuk, for defamation, alleging that their statements about a wild party in January 2009 defamed him. We covered Cowling’s defamation lawsuit here. Earlier this week, Jakibchuk sued Mathews Dinsdale for wrongful termination, bringing the firm’s “night of debauchery” back into the news.)

Former Michigan prosecutor Andrew Shirvell might be gone from the Michigan attorney general’s office, but he has not been forgotten. Shirvell, an outspoken opponent of homosexuality, has just been hit with a lawsuit — by Chris Armstrong, the ex-president of the University of Michigan student body.

Armstrong is suing Shirvell in Michigan state court for stalking, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and abuse of process. His lawsuit seeks more than $25,000 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and injunctive relief (to enjoin Shirvell from, well, being such a creep).

As you may recall, Shirvell seemed obsessed with the young, beauteous, and openly gay Armstrong, devoting an entire blog to criticism of Armstrong and following Armstrong around, day and night. As explained by Armstrong’s lawyer, Deborah Gordon, Shirvell demonstrated a “bizarre personal obsession” with Armstrong, reflected in numerous blog and Facebook postings in which Shirvell asserted that Armstrong was advancing a “radical homosexual agenda.” [FN1]

Let’s take a closer look at the complaint….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Day: Chris Armstrong v. Andrew Shirvell”

Jay Z (aka Shawn Corey Carter)

* A Libyan woman is being sued for slander over her rape allegations. Is this how the Libyan militiamen serve and protect their country? [Boston Globe]

* Call this one a learning experience. Pictures of things we now know we can’t post on Facebook: placentas, dead girls. [CNN Justice]

* Jay-Z is down to 98 problems, and that bitch Big Papi ain’t one. [New York Daily News]

* Are your tiny balls a matter of public record? Jason Giambi’s are after testifying at the Barry Bonds trial. [Bloomberg]

* Law firms will now receive a gold star if their women are making it rain. Guess my firm is out, I’m only making it hail. [National Law Journal]

* Michigan’s Attorney General, Bill Schuette, is suing a clinic offering non-peer abortions. [Chicago Tribune]

* Protip: if you’re going to pistol-whip your mom until she buys you a car, at least force her to buy you a new one. [ABA Journal]


* Sorry Wisconsin, but Judge Sumi’s going on vacation, so you can take your bargaining rights and stick ‘em where the sun don’t shine. Man, I hope she’s going to a place where the sun does shine. [Wisconsin State Journal]

* An NBA referee is suing a sportswriter over a tweet made during a Timberwolves/Rockets game. Seriously? You can’t call a foul just because someone hurt your feelings. [St. Paul Pioneer Press]

* Quinnipiac Law: where being convicted of fraud is a pre-req for employment as the registrar. I guess they must have a work from home option, since Mary Ellen Durso is under house arrest. [Hartford Courant]

* Should all buildings that were damaged in the September 11th attacks be declared landmarks? Probably not — after all, Century 21 was damaged, and that’s just a landmark for crappy couture. [Reuters]

Capturing Somali pirates.

* Arr, me matey. Five Somali pirates were forced to walk the plank. Okay, not really, but it was the first time in 190 years that a U.S. jury convicted a defendant of the peg-legged kind of piracy. [CNN Justice]

* Because common sense is hard for some lawyers, you probably shouldn’t advise your clients to break into their foreclosed homes. You probably shouldn’t break in on their behalf, either. [ABA Journal]

* William J. Stuntz, Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, R.I.P. [Harvard Law School]

Ashley Alexandra Dupré

This is not Amber Arpaio.

Three years after the Client Number Nine scandal, those involved have moved on to bigger and better things. Well, depending on how you define “bigger and better”: Eliot Spitzer landed a gig at CNN, while his former call girl, Ashley Alexandra Dupré, now pens a sex column for the New York Post and was featured on the cover of Playboy. But some people who weren’t directly involved have had a harder time moving on, namely a woman named Amber Arpaio.

You may remember her name and perhaps even her driver’s license photo from this YouTube video released by “Girls Gone Wild.” At the height of the Client Number Nine media frenzy, Joe Francis offered Dupré one million dollars to do a “Girls Gone Wild” magazine shoot and promotional tour. He withdrew that offer when he serendipitously realized he already had footage of Dupré from earlier times in his archive. Dupré then sued him, saying she was only 17 at the time that footage was shot.

Francis responded by releasing a video of Dupré mugging for the camera in a towel, claiming to be 18, and saying her name was Amber Arpaio. The camera then lingers on Arpaio’s New Jersey license for about 30 seconds. The video was widely circulated on the Web, and led Dupré to drop her lawsuit — Francis and ‘Girls Gone Wild’ were triumphant!

Well, until Amber Arpaio filed her own lawsuit against Dupré and “Girls Gone Wild,” for defamation and invasion of privacy…

Read on at Forbes….

How long do we have to live under the world view of this prude?

Well now this would be interesting. Can you imagine living in a world where the United Kingdom wasn’t the worldwide meeting place for pissed off celebrities with no grounds for defamation/libel lawsuits?

It could happen. According to reports, Deputy British Prime Minister Nick Clegg is sick of England being a “laughing stock” when it comes to its plaintiff-friendly libel laws.

That would be awesome. I’m sick of living in fear that Harvard will sue me in the U.K. for defaming their existence by possessing their degrees…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “U.K. No Longer Your One-Stop Shopping Spot for Libel/Defamation Issues?”

Tonight America comes together to celebrate its most important holiday. Whether you’re Christian or other, tonight you will plop down on the couch, crack a beer, wait with bated breath for the first commercial break, likely have a heart attack, and definitely beat all holy hell out of your wife.

Some say football is America’s national religion. And if that’s so, A.J. Daulerio is its… sorry, I didn’t really think this metaphor through. Perhaps you already know who A.J. Daulerio is. Perhaps you read the profile of him in GQ or read the article last fall in the Times. Or, if you’re anything like me, you have Deadspin bookmarked. If it’s that last one, you probably already know what this is about.

This is about what happens when lawyers stop being polite… and start getting real. Oh, and it’s about The Sanchize, Mark Sanchez, or El Sucio Sanchez if you’re not into the whole brevity thing…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyers Are Just Hype Men”

This is rich. The owner of the Washington Redskins, Dan Snyder, has sued the Washington City Paper for a column he claims defamed him and used anti-Semitic imagery. That’s right, the man who has famously defended his right to name an entire football team after an ethnic slur is playing the ethnic card because a columnist made fun of him.

The kicker is that on top of this amazing execution of rank hypocrisy, Snyder manages to insult all Jews who have actually dealt with anti-Semitism by coming up with an ethnic offense where none existed. The columnist wasn’t making Jewish jokes or playing off of Jewish stereotypes. He was calling Dan Snyder a terrible owner and a shady dude. Saying he was a victim of anti-Semitism degrades the term and make this entire lawsuit look like the petulant reaction of a narcissistic millionaire.

As Dennis Green might say: Daniel Snyder is who we thought he was….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dan Snyder, Owner of a Team Named After an Ethnic Slur, Sues Over Perceived Anti-Semitism”

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Unless it involves defamatory Facebook postings and a retaliatory lawsuit.

The new CBS show The Defenders has Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell dramatizing and glamorizing the life and work of Las Vegas attorneys. But for the real attorneys working in the tumbleweeds of Nevada, it can be a tough gig. Ask Jonathan Goldsmith, a “60% Bankruptcy / 10% Family Law / 10% Criminal Defense / 5% Personal Injury” of counsel at Rosenfeld & Rinato. (They don’t bother with associates there — you’re either of counsel or a founding partner, even if you’re just two years out of law school; Goldsmith is a 2009 University of Las Vegas law grad.)

Goldsmith was plaintiff’s counsel in a divorce case, and the husband being divorced, Jordan Cooper, took a disliking to him. Which he naturally expressed on Facebook…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Nevada Lawyer Sues Over Mean Facebook Comments”

Bengals cheerleader has a short-lived victory

This story may provide some good fodder for “dumb cheerleader” jokes. Sarah Jones, a high school English teacher and cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals, was understandably upset when a gossip website called TheDirty.com published an article entitled “The Dirty Bengals Cheerleader,” asking, “Why are high school teachers freaks in the sack?”

According to Jones’s December 23, 2009 complaint, the article, published on December 7, 2009, quoted a commenter who alleged that Jones had slept with all the members of the Bengals team and had STDs. The complaint for defamation, libel, and invasion of privacy states that Jones’s school had seen the post and that her students had commented on it. Hopefully, not with insight into how freaky she is in the sack…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawsuit of the Weekend: Rah Rah… Whoops.”

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