Back in April, we wrote about Mark and Rhonda Lesher, a couple in rural Texas who won a massive defamation verdict against formerly anonymous online commenters. The online comments followed a trial during which they were acquitted of sexual assault. The multimillion dollar verdict appeared to set things right.
But it turns out there is much, much more to their story. Theirs is an unsettling tale of small-town justice, politics, and Mark Lesher, a lawyer-slash-“professional agitator,” who tried to do the right thing in a town that apparently wanted none of it.
Let’s start with news that the defamation verdict was overturned last month, and go backwards from there….
Shortly after the ads were posted, Cooley Law fired back with a defamation complaint against the firm, alleging in a school-wide announcement that Team Strauss/Anziska and Kurzon Strauss had been “unethically soliciting former and present Cooley students to join in a class action lawsuit.” One month later, that very class-action lawsuit was filed, and rocked the world of legal education as we know it — calls for reform were made, and career services offices scrambled to clean up their employment statistics.
Perhaps Cooley Law wasn’t as superstitious as it should have been, because now, one year later, the little law firm that could has launched an additional suit against Cooley Law and its dean, Don LeDuc, this time alleging that the law school’s public claims against Kurzon LLP were false and defamatory….
Back in June, we brought you news of a potential lawsuit against Nadya Suleman, aka Octopussy Octomom, she of the clown car uterus. In an apparent desperate money grab, Suleman entered into a contract with Florida strip club T’s Lounge to perform a topless routine from July 11 to July 14. Unfortunately, she canceled her scheduled appearances after one of the club’s employees allegedly called her “a little crazy” in an interview with a local TV station.
As noted in a prior letter from the attorney for T’s Lounge, the strip joint planned to file suit immediately if Suleman failed to comply with the terms of her performance agreement. And in a filing from July 6 that recently came to light, T’s Lounge did just that, accusing Octomom of performing the ultimate strip tease — apparently she’s scheduled herself to appear at another gentlemen’s club to shake her booty.
Unwilling to accept this, T’s Lounge has asked a Palm Beach County court for an emergency injunction to prevent Suleman from bumping and grinding her post-partum goodies on an alternative greased-up pole….
* Dewey know how many professional firms have been allowed to stay on as advisers for the largest law firm bankruptcy in U.S. history? Six out of nine firms were permitted to continue services, but Proskauer wasn’t one of them. [Am Law Daily (sub. req.)]
* In other defunct firm news, Al Togut will be presenting Dewey & LeBoeuf’s former partners with a proposed settlement on Wednesday. You’ve been warned: prepare yourselves for some Biglaw-style bitching. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* Despite reports of the billable hour going the way of the dodo bird, it looks like they’re here to stay. Right now, corporate law departments are still much more excited about alternative billing arrangements than law firms. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Judge Sam Sparks, the King of Benchslaps, dismissed Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit against the USADA in record time. That ruling came too quickly — guess it’s time to investigate judicial doping. [New York Times]
* Marc Dreier’s son, Spencer Dreier, is representing himself pro se in a defamation suit against his former college roommate. Looks like Daddy couldn’t spring for his kid’s lawyer while he was in the clink. [Bloomberg]
* A California woman claims that the Food and Drug Administration’s methods regarding sperm donations are unconstitutional. Why should she have to go to an intermediary to get sperminated? [Huffington Post]
* Do you smell what The Rock is cooking? It’s not exactly something to be proud of. Actor Dwayne Johnson is listed as a “co-conspirator” in a $1.8M fraud lawsuit that’s been filed by a South Florida family. [NBC Miami]
Free speech is a complex area legally, but it’s important to recognize that there are distinctions between one’s ability to express an opinion versus one’s ability to use F.C.C.-regulated airwaves to do so, and also one’s ability to engage in speech versus one’s ability to engage in slander.
The folks at FunnyJunk threatened to sue Inman for copyright infringement and defamation, and the internet comedian responded with another comic, of course, and a plea to his readers to raise $20,000, not for settling the legal threat, but for a “Bear Love” charity campaign on behalf of of the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. (Inman also mentioned something about a drawing of the FunnyJunk attorney’s mother seducing a Kodiak.) In any case, we’re off a pretty good start here, right? Sure, but it gets way better….
When it comes to Nadya Suleman, aka Octomom, we’ve only mentioned her in passing, and that’s probably because no one actually cares about the woes of a mother of 14 children (holy crap) — come on now, she doesn’t even have her own reality TV show. But it’s hard to feed so many mouths, so back in April, Suleman claimed that she would consider taking any job, as long as the price was right.
Unfortunately for Octomom, dignity was too costly an option. Instead, she’ll be starring in her own [link is quasi-NSFW] masturbation film — set for online release on June 20, and sadly not entitled “Octopussy.” And she’ll be stripping at a Florida venue the second week of July.
Well, she was supposed to show off her sexy C-section scars in mid-July, but she apparently decided to pull out of her contract. If only she hadn’t undergone in vitro fertilization, this would have been great joke fodder.
Now Suleman may be facing an epic lawsuit, but to be honest, we’re surprised that it took this long for someone to threaten to sue her….
Last month, we wrote about another in the increasingly long list of Facebook creation story-related lawsuits. The plaintiff in that story was Aaron Greenspan, a college classmate of Mark Zuckerberg. While Greenspan was in school, he created a similar social network to what eventually became Facebook.
Greenspan alleges that he was unfairly omitted from The Social Network, the 2011 film purportedly telling the history of Facebook. Greenspan felt so jilted at being left out of the movie that he sued the company that published The Accidental Billionaires, on which the hit movie was based (affiliate links).
As of of our last story, Greenspan’s suit alleging “defamation by omission” had just been dismissed by a Massachusetts federal judge.
But he appealed the decision to the First Circuit. Over the weekend, he also emailed us, and gave us more detail about his story. Let’s check in and hear what he has to say, along with a colorful deposition story from the old ConnectU case. There’s more than meets the eye to this tenacious programmer turned Facebook nemesis…
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…
Ms. JD is hosting their 2nd annual cocktail benefit to raise money for the Global Education Fund. The event will be held on August 21, 2014 at 111 Minna in San Francisco. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to fund the legal educations of four dedicated law students in Uganda who count on our support to continue their studies at Makerere University during the 2014-15 academic year.
The Global Education Fund enable womens in developing countries to pursue legal educations who otherwise would not have access to further education. According to the World Bank, investment in education for girls has one of the highest rates of return to promote development. In Uganda, more than 45% of women over the age of 25 have no schooling at all, and men are more than twice as likely as women to have access to higher education. Together, we can work to end educational inequality. For more information about the program, please visit http://ms-jd.org/programs/global-education-fund/
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 seven years. You can reach them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We at Kinney Asia have made a number of FCPA / White Collar US associate placements in Hong Kong / China thus far in 2014. Most of such placements have been commercial litigation associates from major US markets, fluent in Mandarin, switching to FCPA / White Collar litigation. Some have already had FCPA experience, but those are difficult candidates for firms to find (this will change in coming years as US firms are now promoting FCPA / White Collar to their 2L summers who are fluent in Mandarin and have an interest in transferring to China at some point).
Legal Week quoted Kinney’s Head of Asia, Evan Jowers, extensively in the following relevant article here.
There is a new trend in the market, though, where mid-level transactional US associates, fluent in spoken Mandarin and written Chinese, are interviewing for and in some cases landing junior FCPA / White Collar spots in Hong Kong / China at very top tier US firms.
When the LexisNexis Cloud Technology Survey results were reported earlier this year, it showed that attorneys were starting to peer less skeptically into the future, and slowly but surely leaning more toward all the benefits the law cloud has to offer.
Because let’s face it, plenty of attorneys are perhaps a bit too comfortable with their “system” of practice management, which may or may not include neon highlighters, sticky notes, dog-eared file folders, and a word processing program that was last updated when the term “raise the roof” was still de rigueur.