An unfortunate reality of the modern era seems to be that if you stick around creating online content long enough — doesn’t matter what it is — eventually, someone will decide to sue you. It makes no difference if you are a legal blogger or the creator of hilariously nerdy web comics.
Our inbox has been exploding the last few days with tips about The Oatmeal, a popular web comic, facing what appears to be a pretty absurd defamation lawsuit. The lawsuit in and of itself looks fairly spurious, but the best part is the author’s animated response.
Let’s take a look at our Potential Lawsuit of the Day, which serves as a good reminder that if you want to win an online argument, don’t get mad, get funny…
* Dewey retired partners with unfunded pensions get a seat at the table for this bankruptcy circus? Yeah, but only because the U.S. Trustee did something unheard of and appointed a committee of former partners as creditors. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Yesterday was definitely a great day to be gay on the east coast. In addition to the First Circuit’s DOMA decision, a New York appellate court ruled that being called gay is no longer defamatory per se. [New York Law Journal]
* Milberg is the latest firm to dump Paul Ceglia of Facebook lawsuit fame, but Dean Boland, his other lawyer, says the Biglaw firm just “serve[d] as a distraction.” Somebody please give this man a dislike button. [Buffalo News]
* Elizabeth Warren has confirmed that she told Harvard Law and Penn Law that she was a Native American, but only after she had been hired. She didn’t get any action of the affirmative variety, no sir. [Associated Press]
* Activision settled a lawsuit with two Call of Duty developers, but isn’t worried about an effect on its financials due to a strong third quarter performance. And you can thank your damn Elite packages for that. [PCMag]
For years now, the number of people suing in hopes of getting rich through some tenuous connection to Facebook’s early days has been longer than the line in front of Wal-Mart on Black Friday. And with Facebook’s rumored multibillion-dollar IPO possibly happening at the end of this week, the list of hopefuls is only getting longer.
This week, a magistrate judge in Massachusetts tossed out another one of these suits, filed by one of Mark Zuckerberg’s former classmates. This suit was a bit unusual, though. Instead of going after Facebook or Zuckerberg himself, the man used a roundabout strategy of suing the producers of The Social Network for “defamation by omission.”
Keep reading to learn more about Aaron Greenspan, the man who says he is just too damn important to have been left out of the Oscar-winning movie about Facebook…
We’ve covered the trials and tribulations — and occasional dishonorable public unveiling — of anonymous internet commenters before. And we have learned that just because someone comments anonymously does not mean no one can find out their identity.
A Texas couple, a day spa owner and a prominent attorney, won a large defamation suit against would-be anonymous commenters last week, showing once again that your secret identity is never as secret as you might hope.
* It’s time for the Supreme Court to sound off on the battle over women’s wombs, and you know it’s bad when even a sitting justice calls it “a mess.” Can a child conceived after a parent’s death receive survivor benefits? [CNN]
* Disgusting health warning pictures on cigarette packaging and advertising: now constitutional according to the Sixth Circuit. Maybe this will inspire people to quit a habit that’s almost equally as disgusting. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* When Biglaw is involved, so is big money. Say “aloha” to the largest personal injury settlement in Hawaii’s history. The state will pay $15.4M over the hiking death of Gibson Dunn partner Elizabeth Brem. [Am Law Daily]
* A lawsuit filed against fashionista Alexander Wang over his alleged “sweatshop” has been discontinued, and not because there isn’t a case, but because the lawyers on either side have major beef. [New York Magazine]
* The Better Business Bureau has moved to dismiss a Florida law firm’s suit over its “F” grade. Because sometimes the truth hurts, but that doesn’t mean you can sue over it if you don’t like it. [Orlando Sentinel]
* The biggest bimbo from Wisteria Lane gets screwed again, but this time in court. A mistrial has been declared in Nicollette Sheridan’s lawsuit against the producers of “Desperate Housewives.” [Reuters]
People always ask the Above the Law editors, “What kinds of people leave such horrible comments on your website?” And we always say, “Regular people, the ones you work with or socialize with.”
Most internet commenters are regular people who, under the Invisibility Cloak of cyberspace, feel free to say whatever disgusting/ridiculous/illogical thing that pops into their heads.
Lest anyone think the phenomenon is unique to our website, please think again. For better or worse, trolling is an inevitable part of online media. Most of the time, it’s best to just ignore it. Once a while, however, anonymous online commenting may signify something larger and more pernicious.
Case in point: our inbox was flooded over the weekend with the emerging scandal of a prosecommenter (yeah, you read that right) in New Orleans. This is what happens when a federal prosecutor takes his case to the interwebs instead of the court. Bad times…
* All your base are belong to… Rick Santorum? Error! Malfunction! Super Tuesday was not quite as super as Mitt Romney was hoping for. Looks like it’s time to reprogram the Mitt-bot so he can conquer the true conservatives. [CNN]
* Complete pwnage: a handful of LulzSec hacktivists were arrested after their leader, an FBI informant, turned on them. How will this affect the Anonymous movement? More importantly, who cares? [New York Times]
* No postponements for you, Casey Anthony. Try as she might, the acquitted ex-MILF just can’t escape the defamation lawsuit filed by a woman who was only supposed to be make believe. [Washington Post]
At the end of January, we brought you a detailed report on a lawsuit filed by former prosecutor and Court TV analyst Matthew Couloute Jr., who alleged that his ex-girlfriends had taken to the internet to let loose about his alleged infidelities. His exes’ scathing words were found on LiarsCheatersRUs, a website created to “save others from the heartache” associated with a cheating significant other.
In his suit, Couloute alleged that his former girlfriends, Amanda Ryncarz and Stacey Blitsch, had caused “tortious interference with [his] prospective business relations” by virtue of their online diatribes. After all, if you Google any derivative of the man’s name, one of the first few hits that appears is his profile on the scandalous cheaters website.
All the man wanted was a clean Google search, but it looks like he’s never heard of the Streisand effect. Now, just about every piece of information about Couloute that can be found on the web relates to his lawsuit, including the latest ruling made by Judge Harold Baer….
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@example.com.
We currently have a very exciting and rare type of in-house opening in China at one of the world’s leading internet and social media companies. Our client is looking for an IP Transactional / TMT / Licensing attorney with 2 to 6 years experience. The new hire will be based in Shenzhen or Shanghai. Mandarin is not required (deal documentation will be in English) but is preferred. A solid reason to be in China and a commitment to that market is required of course. This new hire will likely be US qualified (but could also be qualified in UK or other jurisdictions) and with experience and training at a top law firm’s IP transactional / TMT practice and could be currently at a law firm or in-house. Qualified candidates currently Asia based, Europe based or US based will be considered. The new hire’s supervisors in this technology transactions in-house team are very well regarded US trained IP transactional lawyers, with substantial experience at Silicon Valley firms. The culture and atmosphere in this in-house group and the company in general is entrepreneurial, team oriented, and the work is cutting edge, even for a cutting edge industry. The upside of being in an important strategic in-house position in this fast growing and world leading internet company is of the “sky is the limit” variety. Its a very exciting place to be in China for a rising IP transactional lawyer in our opinion, for many reasons beyond the basic info we can share here in this ad / post. This is a special A+ opportunity.
If your firm is in ‘go’ mode when it comes to recruiting lateral partners with loyal clients, then take this quiz to see how well you measure up. Keep track of your ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses.
1. Does your firm have a clearly defined strategy of practice groups that are priorities of growth for your office? Nothing gets done by random chance, but with a clear vision for the future. Identify the top practice areas for which you wish to add lateral partners. Seek input from practice group leaders and get specifics on needs, outcomes, and ideal target profiles.
2. In addition to clarifying your firm’s growth strategy, are you still open to the hire of a partner outside of your plan? I’ve made several placements that fit this category. The partner’s practice was not within the strategic growth plan of my client, but once the two parties started talking with each other, we all saw how it could indeed be a seamless fit. Be open to “Opportunistic Hires.” You never know where your next producing partner might come from, so you have to be open to it. I will be the first to admit that there is a quirky element of randomness in recruiting.
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