Articles Posted in Law Practice

Paul Ceglia, the embattled Facebook, Inc. litigant claiming a 50% ownership stake in the social media company, is likely to lose yet another lawyer to represent him in his two-year-old lawsuit.

Early this year, Facebook’s and Mark Zuckerberg’s lead attorney Orin Snyder described Ceglia’s “revolving door of lawyers [as]…additional evidence that this abusive lawsuit is a hoax and a fraud.”

Now, less than a week after federal fraud charges were filed against Ceglia, Ohio lawyer Dean Boland became the latest lawyer ask for permission to stop representing Ceglia. Boland stated that there is no connection between his motion to withdraw, and Ceglia’s latest felony charges.

Why would a defendant litigate over four and a half years, finish conducting discovery, tell a court that it’s ready for trial, and then – only then – ask a plaintiff to admit that he posted photographs on Facebook and other social media sites?

That is the question answered in a recent New York decision by Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Hector D. LaSalle. The case, Guzman v. Farrell Building Co., et al, highlights the consequences for a defendant who wants access to a plaintiff’s Facebook account after filing a note of issue and certificate of readiness to confirm that it is ready for trial.

Plaintiff Samuel Guzman, a construction worker, sued defendant general contractor Farrell Building Co. in early 2006 under New York Labor Law §240(1) for injuries he reportedly sustained in a two-story fall while at work building a home in the Hamptons. Cases filed under Labor Law § 240(1) impose strict liability against defendants found responsible for making sure that safety equipment is in place and operational in order to protect construction workers.

Four and a half years later, the GC informed the court that it completed discovery. It did this by filing a note of issue and certificate of readiness for trial. Soon after submitting this filing, however, the GC claimed its investigator had now found “several hundred photographs of the plaintiff that were posted to Internet media websites such as Facebook,” and others, that it believed were helpful to its case. Continue reading →

Last week, my colleague Ilana Bergstrom and I attended a session called “Law School for Digital Journalists” at a conference hosted by the Online News Association. Although both of us went to law school, the session seemed like an opportunity to learn about the unique issues that online journalists face. Indeed, the session promised “classes [on] the full range of legal issues that impact the professional lives of digital journalists: copyright, newsroom law, international media law, access and FOIA, and the legal issues involved in launching and running a digital news operation.” The instructors were experts on digital media law, presented in conjunction with the UNC Center for Media Law & Policy, the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Both of us found the speakers dynamic, the discussions interesting, and the material familiar yet refreshing. From First Amendment rights to U.K. copyright law to journalism/news business law, the topics covered reiterated the need for an ongoing dialogue between professionals in different fields. As a contributor to Justia’s Verdict and Onward Blog and with aspirations of writing more, I found the level of engagement to be stimulating, combining two of my own passions: writing and the law. Ilana writes for Justia’s Onward Blog and expressed similar satisfaction with the session’s treatment of the union of law and journalism.

As a side note, but of no less importance, we both thoroughly enjoyed the lunch presentation by Pulitzer Prize-winning political animator Mark Fiore. His presentation combined humor, politics, and a no-holds-barred commentary on some oft-overlooked aspects of our society.

Here is a rundown of February’s highest scoring lawyers on Justia Legal Answers, along with a look at which Justia Dockets legal filings, Tech Law blog posts, and Facebook posts readers viewed the most.

Justia Legal Answers’ Top 10 Legal Answerers for February 2012

  1. Nick Passe, 1,600 points, 32 answers
  2. Jerry Lutkenhaus, 1,011 points, 32 answers
  3. Andrew Bresalier, 801 points, 25 answers
  4. Jeffrey Moore 351 points, 7 answers
  5. Peter Navis, 300 points, 6 answers
  6. Daniel Marc Berman, 250 points, 10 answers
  7. William S. Adams 215 points, 5 answers
  8. David Philip Shapiro, 150 points, 3 answers
  9. Timothy Belt, 150 points, 3 answers
  10. Ryan P. Sullivan, 150 points, 3 answers

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The Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported last month that a class action suit against legal forms provider Legal Zoom survived a motion for summary judgement and will proceed to trial in a Missouri federal court. In rejecting the defendant’s motion, Judge Laughrey allowed the plaintiffs to move forward with their complaint that consumers have been harmed by the company’s unauthorized practice of law in the state.

For an overview of the litigation and the recent order, see Venkat’s post on Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog. We’ve pulled the filings on Justia Dockets, and you can follow the case there.
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Tomorrow is national Take Your Dog to Work Day®, a phrase trademarked by a pet sitters’ industry group.

At Justia, however, every day is take your dog to work day, where the in-house dogs keep hounding us for more free law.

They:

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Unless your head has been stuck in the sand over the last week, you’ve probably spent some time wondering about how 77 million Sony PlayStation Network gamers had their online data hacked, and their credit card information possibly stolen.

What if a hacker got a hold of your law firm data. You know: client names, addresses, and social security numbers, their bank information, your bank account, your court calendar, and — Holy $&@*#%! — your time and billing information.

Yeah, we know: you’d scream like a 2-year-old. But then what?
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Courtney and I wanted to update you on our latest free law offering, Justia Daily Opinion Summaries. When we announced the launch last week, we noted that our jurisdictional coverage included all Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and select state supreme courts. The team has been working hard to expand to even more jurisdictions and we’re pleased to say that we now offer summaries for over half the 50 U.S. states.  To see a complete list of our current offerings by jurisdiction and by practice area, go to our subscription page at http://daily.justia.com.  For the few remaining states that aren’t available yet, stay tuned. We’ll be adding more in the upcoming weeks.
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Hi Friends!

Today Cicely and I are pleased to announce Justia’s newest free law offering:   FREE Daily Opinion Summaries of all Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and select State Supreme Courts!

Our Daily Opinion Summaries deliver clear, concise summaries of breaking court opinions right to your in-box. The summaries are tagged by practice area so that readers can quickly identify which opinions are relevant to their practice. This is a powerful tool for attorneys, journalists, and others looking to keep up with latest developments in the law. All summaries are written by licensed attorneys.

How to subscribe

To subscribe, visit the Justia Subscriptions Page at Daily.Justia.com. If you already have a Justia account, sign in to subscribe right away. If you are not yet registered, it’s fast and free!  Once registered, simply choose the jurisdictions and practice areas of interest to you.
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The recent news that the Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale launched a pilot program allowing patrons to “check out” Monty, a therapy dog, got me thinking about other possible ways dogs have worked their way into law-related venues.

For instance, if you know one thing about Justia, it’s that we have our own posse of pups at work, so in that regard I guess we’ve got “legal portal offices” covered in any possible list.  (But to be clear, even though on the internet no one knows you’re a dog, the Justia pups did not write this post. . .)

Dogs can also be found in law offices, courts and even the California Governor’s office.