Blog Wars

Andrew Shirvell (far right) and Chris Armstrong

Here’s a quick update on a past Lawsuit of the Day. Last month, Chris Armstrong, the openly gay ex-president of the University of Michigan student body, sued Andrew Shirvell, the former Michigan assistant attorney general and outspoken opponent of homosexuality. As you may recall, Shirvell criticized Armstrong in a blog called Chris Armstrong Watch, making allegations that according to Armstrong were false, and Shirvell also followed Armstrong around Ann Arbor. So Armstrong sued Shirvell for stalking, invasion of privacy, and defamation (among other claims).

Now Andrew Shirvell is firing back. Last week, Shirvell, proceeding pro se [FN1], moved to dismiss Chris Armstrong’s lawsuit.

Not surprisingly, Shirvell claimed in his motion to be a victim: “Plaintiff’s course of conduct was politically motivated and intended to make an example out of Defendant in order to deter others from criticizing Plaintiff’s homosexual activist agenda.” More specifically, Shirvell argued that certain counts of the Armstrong complaint fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted, that Shirvell’s criticism of Armstrong was protected by the First Amendment, and that Shirvell never had direct contact with Armstrong (e.g., by email or by phone).

In addition, Shirvell lodged some counterclaims against Armstrong. What is the basis for Shirvell suing Armstrong?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Shirvell Won’t Shrivel: Former Michigan Prosecutor Turns It Around on Chris Armstrong”

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”

Andrew Shirvell, now a FORMER Michigan AAG.

We mentioned this briefly last night in an update appended to Non-Sequiturs, but it’s big enough news that it merits more coverage. Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell — whom we’ve covered extensively, for his blogging campaign against Chris Armstrong, the openly gay (and ridiculously handsome) student body president at the University of Michigan — has been fired by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox.

(A commenter had this punny response to the news: “Gosh. Is that the last time Andrew Shirvell will run into trouble with Cox?”)

I previously wondered whether Shirvell deserved to be fired. As AG Cox noted in explaining why he didn’t fire Shirvell immediately, government lawyers have free speech rights too.

Most of you weren’t as concerned. In an Above the Law reader poll last month, over 80 percent of respondents said that Cox should fire Shirvell.

And so he has. According to the Michigan AG’s office, Shirvell went well beyond the bounds of permissible free speech….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Andrew Shirvell Is Out at the Michigan AG’s Office”

Michigan AAG Andrew Shirvell

Today brings some updates in the ongoing saga of Andrew Shirvell, the Michigan assistant attorney general who writes Chris Armstrong Watch, a blog devoted to attacking the openly gay student body president of the University of Michigan. We’ve covered the story extensively (see here and here).

First, Shirvell’s blog is now “open to invited readers only” — i.e., it’s password-protected.

Second, Chris Armstrong is seeking a restraining order against Shirvell (who has shown up at events attended by Armstrong and also at Armstrong’s home). Judge Nancy Francis declined to issue an immediate restraining order but scheduled a hearing for next week. (Shirvell has already been banned from the Michigan campus, despite his status as a UM alumnus.)

Third, and most notably, Shirvell has taken a personal leave from the Michigan AG’s office. This announcement was made today by a spokesperson for Attorney General Mike Cox — who also mentioned that Shirvell will be the subject of a disciplinary hearing when he returns to work.

The news that Shirvell is out of the Michigan AG’s office, at least temporarily, will be welcome to many. But some observers, including our own Elie Mystal, have called for more: namely, Shirvell’s firing.

Let’s pause and consider: Would it be that easy to fire Andrew Shirvell? As a former government lawyer who once blogged about judges while appearing before them as a prosecutor, I have some thoughts on this….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Michigan Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell Goes On Leave
And: Should AG Mike Cox Fire Shirvell?

Earlier this week, Conor Friedersdorf, writing for The Atlantic, poured a big bottle of haterade all over the legal profession. More specifically, he criticized the way “Ivy League” lawyers are recruited, and the “palpable sense of entitlement” they exhibit even when they don’t take Biglaw bucks and instead work for the government. Here’s the set up:

The details of how elite law and business consulting firms recruit astonish me every time I hear them. Even getting an interview often requires attending an Ivy League professional school or a very few top tier equivalents. Folks who succeed in that round are invited to spend a summer working at the firm, the most sane aspect of the process.

But subsequently, they participate in sell events where they’re plied with food and alcohol in the most lavish settings imaginable: five star resort hotels, fine cigar bars, the priciest restaurants.

And here’s the money shot, one that is careening around the legal blogosphere like Billy Joel trying to get back from the Hamptons before the hurricane hits:

Though it isn’t defensible, it is unsurprising that a lot of people who eschew offers to work at these firms, favoring public sector work instead, imagine that they are making an enormous personal sacrifice by taking government work. The palpable sense of entitlement some of these public sector folks exude is owed partly to how few of “our best and brightest” do eschew the big firm route (due partly to increasing debt levels among today’s graduates, no doubt).

Really? You want to do this now? You want to talk smack about the people on the bottom rung of this totem pole, while willfully ignoring the clients, partners, law schools, and state governments that generate huge sums of wealth off the backs of the palpably entitled?

Fine. Let me take off my glasses, and we’ll step outside…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The World Hates Lawyers: Mainstream Media Manages to Criticize Biglaw Summers AND Public Sector Lawyers in the Same Breath”

Gawker posed a very inflammatory question yesterday: How Did the Owner of a Barely-Legal Teen Gossip Blog Get Into a Prestigious Law School?

The law school in question is USC Gould School of Law, currently ranked #18. Gawker commenters wondered whether this was a misuse of the term “prestigious.”

The gossip blog owner in question is Christopher Stone, 31, who runs Sticky Drama and Sticky Noodz, dedicated to teenage gossip and teens’ nude photos, respectively. It’s a successful blog business model, as you can well imagine. The Sticky Drama site is currently down, but you can check out its tumblr. We sacrificed a few IQ points by looking it over: It’s a mish-mash of cute boys, half-naked girls, and screenshots of Facebook conversations about rape. The site most recently gained notoriety for launching 11-year-old Jessi Slaughter into the public eye, resulting in a cyberbullying frenzy.

Gawker describes it like this:

StickyDrama and its sister porn site, Sticky-n00dz, are two of the worst sites on the Internet, built on exploiting teens and tweens’ insecurities and then publicly humiliating them. Stickydrama is a crowd-sourced gossip blog that chronicles the lives of “E-celebs.” Sticky-n00dz is similar, but focused on nude pictures. E-celebs are kind of like regular, “In Real Life” celebrities, except their fame exists solely on social-networking sites like Myspace, Twitter, and the live webcam community Stickam.com, from which StickyDrama gets its name.

When Gawker is saying you’re a cesspool….

After seeing Stone tweet about law school — “lol @ all the Efagz pissed that I got into law school–ALL that I applied to. And my entire application was based on StickyDrama. So, nyah!” — Adrian Chen at Gawker asked his Twitter followers where Stone was going. Chen then wrote:

Attention, USC law! This man spends his free time harassing teenagers and videotaping live rapes… Admissions officers at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law just admitted him to their 18th-ranked program earlier this week.

We reached out to USC. They say Gawker got it wrong…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Christopher Stone Is Not Actually a Trojan Man”

Page 3 of 3123