Legal Information

Forbes posted this great graphic that summarizes the problem with e-discovery.

One scandalous document can make or break a fraud case, but there’s a big problem: finding it among millions of others.

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“Art,” Linchpin, Seth Godin and the Law

by Fred Abramson on April 14, 2010 · 2 comments

This post has nothing to do with the law. It’s about art. I am not talking about art in the traditional sense, like Jackson Pollack or Pablo Picasso. I am talking about the art that you bring to your work and to your life.

In our economy, you are no longer guaranteed lifetime employment. The publishing industry is in upheaval. GM is running on fumes. The insurance company that you work for could be bought out tomorrow.  Just because you have depth of knowledge doesn’t mean that your job is secure. It doesn’t matter if you own your own company or you are an employee. The only way to get your worth is to stand out. You need to be seen as indispensable and to produce interactions that people care about. Seth Godin says that you need to be what he calls a “Linchpin.” (Read his thought provoking book). Now, success means being an artist.

To quote Seth Godin:

“Be remarkable. Be generous. Create art. Make judgment calls. Connect people and ideas … and we have no choice but to reward you.”

Every morning after dropping off my kids at daycare, I work to be a remarkable attorney. I am generous with my time. My art is providing legal services that are tailored to you. I write articles nearly every day working to educate you. You are paying me for my knowledge of the law and my intellectual ability to make judgment calls for you.  My goal is to connect you with the rest of my tribe.  Hiring a lawyer should be a unique experience for you and I work to make your life better.

I understand that you have a variety of options when choosing an attorney.  You may decide that you may want to hire a lawyer that costs less money. You may think that I don’t handle an area of law, like real estate and don’t bother calling me (yes I do handle real estate closings).  That’s all ok. I’m here to let you know that you know that I am here for you and for all of your legal needs.  No, I don’t handle every area of the law, but I probably know a lawyer who can help.

Let me know what you think about Seth Godin’s words and continue to do good work.

The Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson practices the art of law in New York State.  You may contact me at 212-233-0666

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Internet Defamation Law is becoming an increasingly important problem. Bloggers and anyone else using social media need to be aware of what they post online.  There is a serious threat of what you post can result in litigation.

I recently reported that there has been a 216% increase in libel lawsuits against bloggers.  Courtney Love’s Twitter defamation case is not going away.

Yelp, the popular review site, has been at the center of the debate because people are using the service to write reviews that are untrue.

$1 million judgment, including an injunction and costs was granted against a defendant who persisted in posting false and defamatory statements in online forums regarding his fraudulent transactions at the expense of an online company. (thanks @jdtwitt)

How do you know if a statement that is written online rises to the level of  Defamation?

Defamation is an invasion of the interest in reputation and good name of a living person, which holds that person up to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or shunned by others (William Prosser, Law of  Torts 737 (4th ed 1980). You can sue both an individual and a company for defamation. Libel is written defamation, slander is oral.  A defamation claim may also raise the issue of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Publication: The statement must be disseminated to a third party before a lawsuit can be commenced.  What this means is that other people must be aware of the remark before you can claim that someone’s business interests are damaged.

If the conversation is in email form and only the sender and recipient are  involved in the conversation, there is no cause of action.   Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act generally protects online service providers from being sued as a result of defamatory postings by users.

Damages: You must prove that you have been harmed in some way.  There are some cases where you don’t have to prove damages.  They are:

  • any remark about the unchastity of a women (sounds really antiquated)
  • imputation of a crime or of a loathsome disease
  • any statement about that person that affects his or her business reputation.

Before you race over to my office, you need to consider the following  issues to assess whether there are any defenses :

  • Is the work a parody? “Fake” Web sites and social media profiles appear to be a developing trend.
  • Is the person a alive, a public figure, private person or politician?
  • Is there anyone else objected to the post?
  • Are the statements made wrong?
  • Has anyone changed any of the content?
  • Is the statement or any of the alleged remarks true?
  • Is the remark accurate?
  • Has the publisher of the statement checked whether the remark was accurate?
  • When was the statement made? You must be aware of the statute of limitations.
  • Does the person who you would like to sue have insurance?  Without a deep pocket, your judgment is worthless.

What should you to protect yourself from Defamation lawsuits if you are a blogger?

If you are a content provider or blogger, you may find yourself facing a defamation lawsuit even if you did not write the remark.  For example, you may be liable for not reviewing the material posted on your site.  I would recommend that you purchase  E&O insurance.  You should also check your homeowners insurance policy, as many policies provide  coverage for defamation related lawsuits.

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