Saturday, January 23, 2010

Firm brings more notoriety to itself by appealing suit

SLAPP case: Firm brings more notoriety to itself by appealing suit

August 25, 2009 by donal brown
First Amendment Coalition

A management firm who lost a case against a griper defending himself refuses to let the matter die, appealing the case to the Ninth Circuit. -DB

August 24, 2009
By Michael Masnick
from the bad-idea dept

Remember that discussion a few months ago about how most lawyers apparently understood the Streisand Effect, and knew better than to file bogus lawsuits against individuals putting up “gripes” sites about their business? We’ve already seen that’s not quite true, but it takes a special level of thoughtlessness to lose such a bogus lawsuit (badly) and then file an appeal. We recently wrote about lawsuit filed by Sedgwick Claims Management against a guy who was upset with the company. Part of his griping, involved taking photos of Sedgwick execs and putting them on a fake “WANTED” poster.

The judge, correctly, threw out most of the lawsuit as being a SLAPP and tossed out the ridiculous “copyright infringement” claim on the use of the photos, noting that it was certainly a case of fair use. Most impressive? The guy fighting Sedgwick and its big law firm won the case defending himself (pro se). 

Perhaps because of the pro se nature of defense, Sedgwick has decided to appeal, but Eric Goldman can’t figure out what they’re thinking as all it does is call more attention to the complaints against the company:
Put this one in the “Are you kidding me?” file. Last month I blogged about Sedgwick Claims Management v. Delsman involving a small-time griper who had the temerity to cut-and-paste some company executive headshots to create his griping material. Sedgwick went after Delsman in a big way, hiring a big national firm (Lord Locke) to take Delsman down, apparently unaware of or unconcerned about the Streisand effect.

Delsman defended pro se. Despite the long odds, Delsman nevertheless got a rousing dismissal of the claims. The court held the use of the headshots was a fair use (a clearly correct ruling, IMO), and the court casually tossed all of the other claims using California’s anti-SLAPP law.

That should have been the end of it. Instead, surprisingly, Sedgwick has decided to appeal the ruling to the Ninth Circuit. This sets up a potentially important Ninth Circuit showdown over how copyright fair use and anti-SLAPP doctrines apply to Internet gripers. It also gives Sedgwick extra time to bask in the glow of the Streisand effect.

Some people apparently never learn.

Editor’s note: The Streisand Effect surfaces when attempts to censor or remove information from public view
brings the information greater exposure.

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