Lawyer/blogger Andrew Lavoott Bluestone, in his New York Attorney Malpractice Blog, noted and quoted a case in which Brooklyn lawyer Marina Tylo was (unsuccessfully) sued by a client for “serving a summons before buying the index number,” that being the wrong order in which to do things in New York. Tylo has proceeded to sue Bluestone for $10 million and several blogs have already 1) mentioned the strong privilege that attaches to fair reports of court proceedings and 2) suggested that Tylo will before long be well acquainted with the phrase “Streisand effect“. Coverage: Scott Greenfield, Eric Turkewitz, Mike Cernovich (more), Citizen Media Law Project, Ambrogi/Legal Blog Watch.
In March Peter Robbins, a retired homicide detective who blogs for Cape Cod Today as the Robbins Report, ran an item criticizing the law offices of Paul Revere III (yes, a descendant of you-know-who) and various local residents he represents, for having filed a procedural action seeking to stop the dredging of Barnstable harbor on environmental grounds. Robbins opines (to quote the post in its current form):
In my opinion this, NIMBY, frivolous, malicious action is doing nothing but stalling the inevitable and costing us the taxpayers unnecessary time and money. Millway Beach and Blish Point were pretty much created by past dredging. Perhaps if the town didn’t have to waste its time with foolish actions such as these, they would have been able to concentrate on the real issues and the bulkhead could have been saved. Who knows?
Robbins mocked the lawyer as “Paul (the dredge isn’t coming) Revere III” and, in the original version of the post — now altered — described one of the local abutters filing the dredge action, Joseph Dugas, as “infamous” with an added, unprintable opinion-based expletive. Now Revere and Dugas have sued Robbins and an anonymous third party who posted further hostile comments about the two. (James Kinsella, “Defamation suit filed against CC Today blogger, commenter”, Cape Cod Today, Aug. 29). Robbins is being represented by our very own Overlawyered guestblogger and Boston-area lawyer Peter Morin, who wrote in a response, “This matter is a textbook example of the justification for an anti-SLAPP statute that protects the right of individuals to comment on matters of significant public concern.” David Ardia at Citizens Media Law Project has an analysis which mentions Massachusetts’s existing anti-SLAPP provisions, and Dan Kennedy at Media Nation (via Ambrogi) takes a look at the case, observing that it’s hard to evaluate the merits of the defamation claim since we don’t know exactly how the blog post read before the publisher made deletions to it at the demand of the plaintiffs.
Finally, Chicago’s BlockShopper is a site that reports on real estate transactions in in-town neighborhoods, often with descriptions of the professionals buying and selling the homes and condos, a practice that has now drawn a lawsuit from the giant international law firm Jones Day. “The suit alleges trademark infringement and unfair trade practices, based on Blockshopper’s use of the firm’s [Jones Day’s] service marks, links to its site and use of lawyers’ photos from its site.” Although BlockShopper removed all references to Jones Day, “the law firm continues to seek an injunction shutting down the site”. Unauthorized use of photographs and service marks presumably might give rise to valid claims, but the reference to “links to its site” may suggest a broader sweep, and in negotiations Jones Day is reportedly trying to extract a commitment from the site not to conduct journalism about its member lawyers’ real estate transactions at all. (R. David Donoghue, Chicago IP Litigation Blog, more; Ambrogi, Legal Blog Watch; Citizen Media Law Project).