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At RedState, Leon Wolf has been parodying the work of Senatorial daughter and talk-show personality Meghan McCain. McCain’s lawyer, Albin Gess of Snell & Wilmer, wrote RedState editor Erich Erichson to threaten litigation over the posts, which prompted this magnificent letter in response (PDF) from Georgia attorney Christopher Scott Badeaux, representing Wolf. It also guaranteed more critical attention to McCain herself and her work, including this cruel entry by Ken at Popehat.

What Ken calls “the use of money and power to achieve censorship” — particularly in jurisdictions where judges are averse to awarding sanctions and anti-SLAPP protections are weak — is a continuing problem long overdue for open public discussion.


Attorney demand letters

by Walter Olson on September 4, 2011

Should they be nastygrams, or adopt a more measured tone? [Ron Miller]

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Help wanted

by Walter Olson on June 29, 2011

Attorney, for intimidation purposes only, no followup required [Elie Mystal, Above the Law]

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Patrick at Popehat has compiled “A Small Businessman’s Guide To Dealing With Obnoxious Letters From Lawyers.”

“When people like Rachel Kane stand up to bullies, it makes it a little bit easier for each and every one of us to stand up to bullies,” writes Ken at Popehat about the blogger who runs a site making fun of some of the wares of the fashion chain Forever 21, and who’s not knuckling under despite a cease-and-desist letter from the store’s lawyer. More coverage: Atlantic Wire; press roundup at WTForever 21.


The law firm in question had sent a nastygram over a blog post that wasn’t even about their client, but merely combined the phrase “academic advantage” with (in comments) the word “scam.” Academic Advantage now says it has “severed its relationship” with the L.A. law firm involved. [California Watch, BoingBoing, earlier]


Behind the menacing letter in question, apparently: a baffling failure to grasp the context in which the phrase “Academic Advantage” appeared on the popular blog.


This time it’s Patterico on the receiving end. Excerpt: “I have filed over a hundred lawsuits and another one will be no sweat for me. On the other hand, it will cost you a lot of time and money and for what.”

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July 30 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 30, 2010

  • Hilton Head dispute over pet turkeys leads to $4.25 million verdict [Island Packet via Lowering the Bar]
  • “Lucasfilm lightsaber legal threat letter sells for $3,850″ [BoingBoing, earlier]
  • Raw milk: “If The Government Says That It’s Not About Freedom, Then It’s Just NOT” [Ken at Popehat vs. L.A. Times]
  • Dell “failed to stress” accounting disclosure. SEC: that will be $100 million [TJIC]
  • Dodd-Frank dubbed “Lawyers’ and Consultants’ Full Employment Act of 2010″ [Mark Perry, WSJ Law Blog]
  • “Did liberal judges invent the standing doctrine? An Empirical Study of the Evolution of Standing, 1921-2006″ [Ho/Ross, Stanford Law Review]
  • Office of Connecticut AG Blumenthal doesn’t emerge with glory from fertility doctor case [Pesci]
  • Massachusetts high court tosses 125-year-old rule: owners now face wider liability for snow/ice hazards [Globe]


And yet Mr. Page’s demand letter seems only to have succeeded in getting his name, and that of his modeling agency, into wider circulation. [Ken at Popehat]

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Lawyers for the National Pork Board, which maintains the trademark “The Other White Meat,” sent a 12-page cease-and-desist letter to a website which had promoted cans of supposed “Unicorn Meat” as the “new white meat.” It is not clear whether Faegre & Benson realized that the cans were a fake product intended for April Fool’s Day. [ThinkGeek] More: Lowering the Bar.


Watch out, warns Eric Scheie: it can be a cover for legal efforts to silence online critics, as with a religious group leader’s nastygram aimed at blogger Joy McCann (Little Miss Attila).


The telecom giant apologizes for a staffer’s legal rumblings.

May 26 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 26, 2010

  • Oh dear: Elena Kagan praised as “my judicial hero” Aharon Barak, ultra-activist Israeli jurist flayed by Posner as lawless [Stuart Taylor, Jr./Newsweek] Kagan and executive power [Root, Reason]
  • More on efforts to get feds to redesign hot dogs and other choking-risk foods [NYT, earlier]
  • Amid brouhaha over Rand Paul views, Chicago firefighter-test case provides reminder of how discrimination law actually plays out in courts today [Tabarrok, MargRev]
  • So please, Ken, tell us what you really think of this Mr. Francis (“Girls Gone Wild”) and his nastygrams [Popehat]
  • More on SEIU’s tactic of sending mob to banker’s home in suburban Maryland [Volokh and more, earlier]
  • “Intensive Parenting Enforced: Parents Criminal Liability for Children Skipping School” [Gaia Bernstein, ConcurOp on a California bill]
  • Julian Ku unimpressed with United Nations officials’ claims that Arizona immigration statute violates international civil rights law [Opinio Juris] Plus, a complaint to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights [Kopel, Volokh] Ilya Shapiro analyzes statute’s constitutionality [Cato]
  • Bill moving through Congress would force states, localities to accept unionization, arbitration for public safety workforces [Fox, Jottings] And here comes the giant federal bailout of union pension funds [Megan McArdle]


Subway descends

by Walter Olson on May 19, 2010

“If you sell sandwiches that happen to be, oh, 12 inches long, and you dare to refer to said sandwiches as being a ‘footlong,’ then Subway would like to have a word with you.” [Bruce Carton, Legal Blog Watch; cease and desist letter, PDF, via NPR]


And prints a saucy response. Earlier here, here, etc.

And now someone must pay [The Smoking Gun]

More: Jon Coppelman consults Ogletree’s “settlement calculator”.


Peabody Energy, by way of St. Louis law firm Senniger Powers, has sent a nastygram (PDF) demanding the takedown of an enviro-activist website that critically mimics the “Consortium for ‘Clean Coal’ Utilization,” of which Peabody is a part. Along with trademark infringement claims, the letter advances a congeries of other legal theories (defamation, tortious interference with contracts) and insists on the total removal of the site. [Citizen Media Law, EFF, Riverfront Times]