As quickly as it started with a bang, the lawsuit by Miami law professor Donald Jones against mega law blog Above the Law and its Editor in Chief David Lat), has been dropped.
The suit had been widely lampooned around the legal blogosphere, both for its lack of legal merit as well as the resulting public relations debacle.
In today’s post, Lat showed more than a bit of class with this offer:
We have offered Professor Jones a guest post on Above the Law in which to provide his side of the story, about either the lawsuit or the underlying facts. We have offered to keep the comments on that post closed or open, depending on his preference.
The case, in essence, ended pretty much the way I suggested yesterday. Jones bailed out of a poorly thought suit, and at the same time corrected the digital record that had last seen him being arrested on a prostitution solicitation charge. Those who Google him 5 years from now will no longer see an arrest of this type on Google’s first page.
Instead they will see this lawsuit. And if accepts the ATL offer, they will likely see his explanation.
As I noted in the comments yesterday, it was wise for Prof. Jones to drop quickly, since once ATL answered the suit, they would need ATL‘s permission to drop it. And ATL might have decided not to allow it without some other type of concession from Jones. (A tactic I used ten years ago defending one of the first internet defamation cases.)
First Amendment guru Marc Randazza was defending Above the Law, and “hoping to open up this can of whup ass I have lying around.” And if anyone has any thoughts about suing me for anything related to this blog, you should know I’ve got Randazza on my short list also.
Do I get a free guest post if I sue you?
So then the going rate for a post-style ad on above the law is $350?
Sort of. The problem is you have to be humiliated for your legal skills to get there.
Perhaps one day we’ll find out from the prof if he thinks it was worth it.
My bet is that if he writes on the subject he will say “yes” it was worth it, because he sets the record straight in his mind as to the events that led to his arrest.
Whether that is a bona fide yes, or merely putting the best face on a bad situation, is another story.