So I bring lawsuits for a living. And I’ve repeatedly railed against the tort “reformers” that seek to limit suits.
But now I’ve been sued twice in idiotic defamation suits for my writings on this blog, both of which were thrown out in the pleadings stage. The first was Rakofsky v. Internet and the second was by Dr. Michael J. Katz.
It’s reasonable to ask (as Daniel Fisher did yesterday in Forbes) since I’ve now been on the other side of the “v” twice: Have my thoughts changed on the subject?
And the answer is no.
True, these were both a pain in the ass and a diversion of both time and resources for me.
But the answer to such suits is not to close the courthouse doors by offering protections and immunities against suits — for the real damage and danger there is closing the doors to legitimate issues.
No, the real solution is punishment with the proper use of sanctions. In both cases against me the judges refused to sanction, despite the fact that the cases were such dogs.
We have, I think, a judicial culture in New York against punishing frivolous and idiotic behavior in our courts. Compare, for example this federal judge in California lowering the boom on a frivolous suit against the National Law Journal that was also reporting on courthouse activities.
The laws are on the books (see CPLR 8303-a). They may not be strong, but the Legislature put them there. That is the place to seek redress for the boneheaded suit. Not closing courthouse doors.
Updated: See New York Needs More Robust Anti-SLAPP Legislation
On reading this, and thinking “Hear, hear!”, I can’t help but think of the poor buggers who cannot respond to such frivolity pro se, as it were, or who don’t have the means to get true representation. The EFF may get involved in these kinds of phony “defamation” blogger cases, but there are many battlegrounds (I’m thinking IP) where the little guy has no chance to be treated fairly.
So, the Internet has provided a wide platform for vox populi, and for ars populi, but only a few shaky means of populi self-defense.
“I was in the right but I could not afford to prove it.”
Kind of sad, but, alas,’twas ever thus.
… but only a few shaky means of populi self-defense.
And it’s worthy to note that Katz and his lawyer deliberately and willingly engaged in litigation with one of those that has the means to defend himself.
Speaking of law suit frivolity, this viral story has taken The Streisand Effect to new heights.
There is a segment of the public that thinks that playing the “I’ll sue you” card automatically wins the game. Tee hee.
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