New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Attorney Ethics, Frivolous Claims


August 29th, 2008

New York Law Blogger Sued For Defamation (Updated)

Will Brooklyn lawyer Marina Tylo be spanked for a frivolous defamation suit against a New York law blogger?That is the question being asked by Scott Greenfield over at Simple Justice. It seems that Tylo screwed up by serving a Summons prior to purchasing an index number. That’s a no-no in New York, and has been for years. You have to first pay the index number fee to start the suit, then serve the summons.

Tylo was sued for legal malpractice as a result. But because the subsequent attorney still had time to rectify her blunder, the malpractice case against her was dismissed.

Andrew Bluestone, whose blog focuses on New York attorney malpractice, wrote the story up. Sort of. He actually just wrote a prefatory paragraph that introduced the decision. You can see his posting with the decision here: Serving a Summons before Buying an Index Number

But that blog post seemed to make Tylo upset. So she sued Bluestone, apparently because he had the audacity to report the story. Her claims include libel, negligence, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and “tortious interference with prospective contractual relations.”

According to her legal filing, this is the entire text of Bluestone’s allegedly tortious conduct, this being his introduction to the court’s decision:

Here is the full text cite for a legal malpractice case in which plaintiff’s attorney served a summons before buying the index number. Khlevner v. Tylo, 10733/07

That’s it! You want the definition of frivolous? You got it right there in that filing. A simple factual statement. He didn’t even offer his opinion, which of course, would be protected anyway under that little First Amendment thingie.

(Addendum: The exact definition of a frivolous suit is right here. Conduct is frivolous if:

(1) it is completely without merit in law and cannot be supported by a reasonable argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law;

(2) it is undertaken primarily to delay or prolong the resolution of the litigation, or to harass or maliciously injure another;)

And what kind of relief does Tylo seek? Aside from 10 million bucks, she wants Bluestone to remove his posting. The relief she requests includes:

  • A retraction of his “libelous” statement; and
  • “Removal of above stated statements, as well as other like and similar statements, from all publications, blogs and other media.”

Perhaps she thought that by suing him she could purge the Internet of this posting, so people wouldn’t see it when they looked her up. Tylo, of course, is not the first to have this brilliant idea of trying to purge the Internet of unfavorable references. She apparently has no clue about something called the Streisand Effect. (She also might find Dan Solove‘s book, The Future of Reputation On the Internet, to be of interest. Though reading it before filing suit would have been wise.)

So as a result of her idiotic suit against Bluestone she has drawn more attention to herself. Which probably wasn’t what she had in mind. Especially since others might now offer their opinions. Like Greenfield did. Like I do now. And those would be constitutionally protected opinions I might add, though frankly, anyone with a license to practice law in this country should already know that.

One last thing, by the way, since I found her bio. If she cares about her Internet reputation, she might want to put a bit more care into how she presents herself:

I am a very experienced and competant attorney. I finished NYU law school and have over 14 years expiernce in legal matters relating to Real Estate. Even though by using a great attorney such as my self you can save a whole lot of money I do not charge excessive legal fees. I also have a lot of expeirnce in investing and owning real estate and thus I am in a position to trully understand and appreciate any pitfalls associated with all types of real estate transactions including Litigation, Closings, Tenant issues, and transactional negotiational matters. I am licenced in the State of New York and all Federal courts, and Supreme Court of the United States. I will fight for my Clients tooth and nail to get the desired results.

Ms. Tylo, welcome to the electronic age.

You can find more on the subject here (updated periodically as more write on the subject):

“From the annals of the truly stupid comes this latest attempt to shut down a blawger.”

“If some books are destined to on the big screen, there are some lawsuits destined to appear at”

“I can’t disagree with Scott, but the more salient point, in my view, is that Tylo chose the wrong defendant…”

“This wasn’t a very good idea, since filing a frivolous lawsuit against a law blogger is not the type of event that other bloggers will ignore.”

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