Blogs are not easy targets
He got served
You Got Served: BlogNYC Retains Legal Counsel to Defend Its Right to Free Speech and Squash the Frivolous Lawsuit Filed by Stephanie Adams
by James Poling
It's both a sad and happy day here at BlogNYC. My official reign of pretending to be my own lawyer has officially come to an end. My parents were so proud of my time as my own fake attorney. Alas, I have passed on the baton to a real attorney, One Mr. Neal Johnston of Johnston & Johnston LLP.
Here is the official BlogNYC response to Martin Siegel from the official attorney of BlogNYC (btw, that picture above is of me personally serving Martin Siegel with our response):
Martin S. Siegel, Esq.
Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels LLP
7 Times Square
New York, NY 10036
RE: Adams V. Poling
Dear Mr. Siegel:
I enclose a Notice of Appearance in connection with the above litigation. Please get me the Complaint as soon as you can.
In your letter to Mr. Poling you state that if he should fail to accept receipt of your email "summons" you "would have no choice but to ask [your] process server to serve [him] personally."
That statement is not exactly true. You have a number of other choices. You could serve him by mail, CPLR §312-a. You could whistle Dixie. Or you could swallow the $210 cost of the Index Number and turn your attention to something of slightly greater relevance to some issue of substantive justice.
I'm quite serious about the latter point. If you actually do come up with a complaint, I suspect it will be the most embarrasing single document to come out of Brown Rudnick this year - and the year is no longer young. I am reasonably confident that your firm will wind up looking considerably more foolish than does your client, and, unlike your client, you will not have the excuse of not knowing any better.
Mr Johnston has taken pity on us and taken on our case pro bono and has been very supportive. There are however certain costs that we will have to come up with so don't be afraid to throw a few bucks in the defense fund to help us defend our right to free speech. And just in case Mr. Johnston needs any help, which I doubt, there are a few lawyers chomping at the bits to take on this case for free who have all said they more than willing to out in any way they can.
Basically, they're being sued for posting up on someone who didn't want to be posted on and is litigious.
Which is a hazard of writing.
The problem for the ligitious plantiff is that first amendment torts are difficult, if not impossible to prove in court. They would have to prove a malicious untruth behind the comments they made.
So many people think they can shut bloggers up by threatening legal action, but the First Amendment Bar loves these cases. They can quickly turn into protracted battles because the bloggers can and will fight. They can reach people around the world.
What the lawyer should have told his plantiff is that there is little chance of this going to trial and there may be risk of legal action against here on the respondents part.
Libel law doesn't stop at the internet.
posted by Steve @ 12:08:00 AM