Yesterday’s Lawsuit of the Day — Jones v. Minkin, a $44 million lawsuit against yours truly, Above the Law publisher David Minkin, and Dead Horse Media (now known as Breaking Media) — has been voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiff, University of Miami law professor Donald Jones.
There was NO SETTLEMENT in this case. Above the Law has made no changes to our prior posts, and we have paid no money to Professor Jones. The case was dismissed by the plaintiff without anything from our side, except a letter from our lawyer.
UPDATE (3:35 PM): We have offered Professor Jones a guest post on Above the Law in which to provide his side of the story, about either the lawsuit or the underlying facts. We have offered to keep the comments on that post closed or open, depending on his preference. (And we would have done this in the first place, had he made such a request.)
For the first time in over three years of operation, Above the Law has been sued. We feel the lawsuit has no merit, but we will not comment further on this ongoing litigation. To access the pro se complaint, coverage by other news outlets and blogs, and ATL’s prior posts about Professor Donald Jones, click on the links collected after the jump.
Please note that we have closed comments on this post, out of respect for the judicial process. Thank you.
UPDATE: We will be continually updating this post with links to news and blogosphere coverage. We have already added new links from the ABA Journal, the WSJ Law Blog, and the Volokh Conspiracy, among other sources.
The fresh links will appear AFTER THE JUMP, so check them out there. Thanks.
If you were hoping for the AutoAdmit lawsuit to result in courtroom drama, with Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey breaking down in tears on the stand, then we’re sorry to disappoint you. The case has ended, somewhat anticlimactically.
Last week, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their case against the remaining defendants. From the Hartford Courant:
Two former Yale University law school students have quietly settled a high-profile lawsuit they brought against about two dozen anonymous authors who the students said defamed and threatened them by posting malicious falsehoods on an Internet message board.
Perhaps plaintiff Brittan Heller felt ready to put down her sword, now that she’s happily married. But note that the dismissal is without prejudice (so check yo self, Pauliewalnuts).
What did the plaintiffs get out of filing their lawsuit?
But with a hot blonde model as the plaintiff. From our sister site, Fashionista:
Liskula Cohen’s modeled for Versace and Armani and landed international Vogue covers, but recently she’s made less fashionable headlines.
Last year, a doorman smashed her over the head with a vodka bottle, and this year she’s sued Google to reveal the identity of an especially cruel blogger. The both tragic and anonymous person used Google’s blogger.com platform to unleash constant rants about the blond’s imagined sexual habits, but argued in court that the words were “non-actionable opinion and/or hyperbole.”
Lindsay Lohan is kind of over as far as celebrity gossip goes: no more car accidents, no more sloppy drunk photographs, and in a relatively stable relationship. But now Lohan’s girlfriend, Samantha Ronson, is getting pulled back into the tabloids, and she’s dragging First Amendment attorney Martin Garbus along with her.
Martin Garbus prides himself on being “one of the country’s leading trial lawyers” and for “aggressively represent[ing] his commercial and criminal clients in both the courts and the public media.” He sounded like the perfect fit when Samantha Ronson decided to file a defamation suit against celeb gossip blogger Perez Hilton for calling her a “lezbot” and accusing her of selling access to Lohan to paparazzi.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the suit did not go well. Ronson didn’t want to pay Garbus’s exorbitant bills. She lost the suit. Now she’s on the hook for her and Hilton’s legal bills, to the tune of over $200k. Her solution was to sue Garbus for malpractice. He sued her right back for unpaid legal bills.
Ironically, the suit transformed Garbus, who had called celebrity blogs “trash,” into an unwitting comrade in Hilton’s quest for dirt on Ronson.
In order to defend himself, Garbus is going rooting in the garbage of Lohan and Ronson’s life together:
Garbus’ attorneys have identified Lohan as the most critical witness in the case besides the two litigants and have requested information concerning their relationship, finances, possible drug use and alleged rehab stays. In one measure of how far his defense plans to go, they have asked for copies of every text message and e-mail between the women over the last two years.
A trial is scheduled for May in Los Angeles. The parties spent the last few months squabbling over procedures for deposing Lohan and Ronson after lawyers for the women raised concerns that videotapes of the pretrial Q & As would be leaked to the media.
The only winner in all this seems to be Perez Hilton:
Watching from the sidelines, Hilton’s lawyer said he was stunned Ronson was pursuing the case. Coverage of the first suit had extended the life and increased the audience for a small blog item, he said, and the malpractice claim was making it even bigger.
Back in 2007, Judge Ernest B. Murphy won his libel case case against the Boston Herald. The Herald had reported that Murphy was soft on crime and, well, nobody puts Baby in the corner.
But winning just wasn’t enough for Judge Murphy. After he won he sent two threatening letters to Patrick Purcell, publisher of the Herald, on court stationery. The letters, which included the use of all-caps as pioneered by Chief Justice John Marshall, demanded that the Herald drop its appeal and hand deliver a check for half a million dollars more than the judgment, plus interest.
According to the Boston Globe, “Purcell testified that the letters were intimidating and looked like ransom notes.”
Yesterday, Murphy agreed to resign. Murphy claimed to have post-traumatic stress from his battle with the Herald. The Commission on Judicial Conduct had recommended a $25,000 fine, but they may amend their report in light of Murphy’s resignation.
We’d make a joke about how a judge could incur psychologically destructive stress from participating in a lawsuit, but we’re terrified that Murphy will sue us under the ADA. Judge who sued Herald agrees to leave bench [Boston Globe via WSJ Law Blog] Earlier: Murphy v. Boston Herald: Some Beantown Benchslappery
The embarrassing Google hit is one of the great new fears of the modern age. If the number-one Google hit for your name is your work bio, Corporate Challenge race-time results, or nothing at all, consider yourself lucky. You could have something worse, like, “Kashmir Hill. Is that her real name or her porn screen name?” Or something much worse, like the derogatory comments that spurred the Autoadmit lawsuit.
Seattle lawyer Shakespear Feyissa is in a Google predicament. He wants a ten-year-old article removed from his college newspaper’s archives. The school administrators say sure, but the college newspaper editors are adamantly opposed. We love principled undergrads. From the Seattle Times:
While a senior at [Seattle Pacific University] 10 years ago, Feyissa was arrested on suspicion of attempted sexual assault and suspended. He was never charged, but the suspension stuck — indefinitely.
Feyissa complained that his punishment was more severe because of his race, he told the student newspaper at the time, but an investigation dismissed his claim.
He’s a lawyer now, and that article — still among the first hits for Feyissa’s name on Google — continues to hurt him personally and professionally, he said. So Feyissa, at 33, has been pressuring SPU to help clear his name.
We question his tactics. By going after the school, he has succeeded in getting the original Falcon article knocked back a few pages when Google searching his name. But due to the media coverage of his crusade, he now has tons of hits with the paragraph intro, “A decade ago Shakespear Feyissa was arrested on suspicion of attempted sexual assault.”
Read more, after the jump.
See the links below for more details. Also note this, from Marc Randazza of the Legal Satyricon:
For anyone who is curious, I have personally spoken to the University of Texas adjunct who happens to bear the [same name as the formerly anonymous defendant known as ].
He IS NOT the person in question. I would appreciate it if any readers would keep that in mind, and educate anyone who might hold this mistaken belief. I can confirm with 100% certainty that the [individual identified as ] in the complaint is not an attorney and is not a law professor.
* Spitzer may — or make that will — resign today. [CNN; New York Times]
* Obama wins Mississippi, picks up more Texas delegates than Clinton. [CNN]
* Gitmo war-crimes tribunal to hear detainee’s case. [MSNBC]
* Houses passes proposal to create independent ethics panel. [Washington Post]
* Another French trader taken into custody in connection with gigantic trading scandal. [AP]
* Irish appeals court chews up, spits out, libel ruling against restaurant critic. [AFP via Drudge]
In last week’s ATL / Lateral Link survey, we asked you to submit your nominations for Lawyer of the Year. Today, you get to vote!
The nominees, and select comments explaining why, are below:
For both the attention focused, success of action, and for the visibility [he] brought to the secondary issue of partner/associate relations (but not those kinds of relations).
Exemplifies why lawyers are so mistrusted in this country.
The man had the credentials to do Biglaw. He chose public service instead. Although he is obviously politically ambitious, he at least appears to be in it for the people. He’s almost as hot as Judicial Hottie Jeffrey Sutton. I mean, did you see the Obama Girl videos? We’ve all got a crush on Obama. And he just might be president next year.
He’s generated the most thoughtful discussion of law school. That, and perhaps the publicity will help him get a job.
For his tireless defense and continuous commentary in countless RIAA cases.
We know that last one should really be a 2008 Lawyer of the Year, not a 2007 Lawyer of the Year, but we just don’t care. You demanded the nomination right now.
So who should win? Cast your vote below. Update: This survey is now closed. Click here for the results.
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months (Robert Kinney and Evan Jowers will be in Hong Kong again March 15 to 23), and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.
Are you challenged by the costs and logistics of maintaining your office, distracting you from the practice of law?
Many small firms are successfully moving part—or even all—of their practice to a virtual setting. This even includes multi-jurisdictional practice spanning several states and practice areas, although solo and small partnerships are still the largest adopters of virtual law.
Can you do the same? The new article Mobile in Practice, Virtual by Design from author Jared Correia, Esq., explores how mobile technology bring real-life benefits to a small law firm. Read this new article—the next in Thomson Reuters’ Independent Thinking series for small firms—to explore how a mobile practice:
Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media in Corporate America. But it is relatively safe to say that most law firms and lawyers are slightly behind the social curve. Most lawyers, at minimum, use LinkedIn, for networking. Some even use Twitter for pushing out short, pithy content, while many have Blogs, where they write their little hearts out. The adage “it is better to give than to receive” is not always true though in the world of Social. In the Social World – it is best to listen, give back and engage.
Social Media is a communications tool that can deeply educate you about the needs and wants of your clients and prospects when used in conjunction social media monitoring and sharing tools.
Take this quick quiz and see if you know how to use Social to help you engage more with your clients or to better service the ones you have.