Another week yields another round of online commentary on Rakofsky v. Washington Post, et al., better known as Rakofsky v. Internet. My initial "Rakofsky week in review" post was sufficiently well received that another edition seems in order.
No new filings have come to this blog's attention since last week's report. New York practice typically calls for responses to be filed within 21 days of service of the Summons, although that deadline is subject to extension by agreement. At this writing, the operative pleading remains the Amended Complaint. There have been no public indications of the state of service of that pleading within or without the State of New York.
I noted last week that some bloggers who are either named in or closely following the Rakofsky case were of a mind that Right-Thinking People should have a sense of Obligation compelling them to acknowledge and comment upon it. That sub-theme was the trigger for several posts, and those posts provide as good a starting point as any for this week's compilation:
[Non-defendant] criminal defense attorney Rick Horowitz began his post, "Railing Against Rakofsky," with a statement of his reasons for taking up the subject:
I’ve never been a fan of the draft. I’m a big fan of friends, though. And apparently some of my friends are calling me out for not having blogged about the latest poster-child for…what? I don’t know what I really think Rakofsky is a poster-child for.
Nevertheless, I submit to the draft, if for no other reason than to assure my friends that I do, actually, stand with them on Rakofsky.
Public defender [and non-defendant] Daniel Partain asked rhetorically "Why have not more lawyer bloggers commented on the Rakosfy debacle?" and tried to answer.
What in some circles proved the most controversial Rakofsky post of the week came from [non-defendant] Dan Hull of What About Clients?/What About Paris?, who argued in his post—"Rakofsky Bad. Defendant Lawyers, 4th Estate & 1st Amendment Good"—his opinion that there is something unnecessary or excessive in the negative attention being leveled at plaintiff Joseph Rakofsky and his suit, neither of which may be worthy of the aggravation or the effort. Speaking as a litigator, he also articulated his practical, tactical discomfort at the prospect of litigants providing running commentary on a case in which they are actively embroiled:
Once you're served, you don't tell everyone you meet about it. Talking, writing and venting post-suit hits already-raw nerves, fans fires, generates unneeded 'evidence', . . . and stretches out proceedings and pretrial by-play by months and even years.
Needless to say many blawgers, including particularly a number of the defendants, were not persuaded to Mr. Hull's point of view.
A long post at [non-defendant] Popehat disdained the Rakofsky suit for its futility, among other things: "Maybe 'I Sue The Internet!' Is This Generation’s 'I Attack The Darkness!'" On Twitter, Popehat also opined on a potential procedural issue in the case:
Additional procedural crystal ball gazing was provided by [non-defendant] Mark Zamora on his blog, A Georgia Lawyer.
From across the Atlantic on the Anna Raccoon blog, [non-defendant] Matt Wardman remarks:
This has happened before on the Net, and is the internet equivalent of erecting a large sign pointing at yourself labelled 'whompa', rather than the more logical action of stopping digging and hiding in the bottom of the hole you just created.
[Defendant] Josh King weighed in on the Avvo Blog with a bit of "how did we get here" analysis, asking whether the problem lies in a lack of mentoring or a lack of awareness.
Non-lawyers also began offering their perspective on the case this week. First, on The Fraud Files Blog, forensic accountant/fraud examiner Tracy Coenen drew conclusions reflected in the title of her post: "Rakofsky suing the internet: Career suicide."
On Friday, powerhouse IT site Techdirt provided its readers with a summary: "Recent Law School Grad Gets Berated By Judge, Then Sues Nearly Everyone Who Discussed The Case." Although Techdirt declares that "[t]his one seems like it will be fun to follow," the post re-fired the question whether the case is worht following or attending to at all:
Closing out this week's survey, the latest from one who is following the case as aggressively as anyone. On his My Law License blog, [defendant] Brian Tannebaum turned his attention from the merits of the action to parsing the online presence of Joseph Rakofsky's legal representative, inviting his readers to Meet Richard Borzouye . . . Joseph Rakofsky's Lawyer.
Mr. T's post drew this link and comment from [non-defendant] Kevin O'Keefe on Twitter:
The Rakofsky Weekend Update will return to Decs&Excs next week, if warranted by developments, public demand, and the blogger's inclinations.
Update [0840 PDT]: Just in time to have missed the deadline for the original version of this post, [defendant] Scott "Simple" Greenfield, as alway on the lookout for the Teachable Moment, finds it:
Few matters offer more lessons than this one. It offers lessons about competence. Lessons about marketing. Lessons about responsibility, honesty, integrity. About greed. It offers lessons about hole-digging and making a bad situation worse. For young lawyers, particularly the Slackoisie, this is a case study that should be taught in every law school in the country. Any lawprof teaching professional responsibility who neglects the Rakofsky Effect has not fulfilled his duty.
Disclosure/Disclaimer: I am a defendant in the Rakofsky case, because of my having written this post; I commented on my involvement in the action here. To the extent that I may have any non-public information concerning the case, I will not be sharing it in these update posts.
[Defendant] Mark Bennett has been updating regularly the compendium of links to Rakofsky-related posts on his blog, Defending People. My own selection of links is purely subjective and not necessarily comprehensive. I recommend regular consultation of the Compendio Bennetticus for the fullest range of responses to the case.
Illustration: The calling card that served as trigger for Oscar Wilde's wildly unsuccessful libel action against the Marquis of Queensberry, via Wikimedia Commons. "The letter A in the bottom left corner was added at the time of the trial to indicate that it was exhibit A."