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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Orthomom Lawsuit Update

Looks like Mayer Fertig of the Jewish Star scooped me on this story:
An attorney who specializes in fighting — and usually winning — blogger privacy cases has agreed to defend the local blogger known as Orthomom, who is fighting an attempt by District 15 Trustee Pamela Greenbaum to unmask her.
Paul Alan Levy, an attorney with the Washington, DC-based group Public Citizen, and his colleagues, have represented several dozen anonymous defendants in cases involving blogs, websites and other online activities. None have ever been identified by a court order.
Greenbaum recently sued Google for Orthomom’s identity as part of a broader plan to sue over comments made by readers of the blog. The comments criticized Greenbaum for championing of the cause of public school parents in the Lawrence school district.
The next hearing in the case is set for April 5 in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Levy said he’d file a brief that makes the case to protect Orthomom’s anonymity. “You want Google to not give up these names too readily but you can’t expect them to litigate the cases,” he said. Blogs are a free service provided by Google.
“We don’t propose a standard where the anonymous parties always win,” Levy said. “But it’s up to judges to protect bloggers who are not doing anything wrong, and to see to it that those abusing anonymity are brought to justice.”
A certain amount of collegiality is generally expected between attorneys but, “I can’t say I’m getting any cooperation from opposing council” in this case, Levy said, referring to Greenbaum’s attorney, Adam Feder of North Woodmere. “It’s sad to say,” he continued.
A call to Feder’s Brooklyn office for comment was not returned.
Feel free to discuss.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Google searches look like he's quite a big gun. Great job OM! Good luck with him!

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

I prayed you'd get a Big Gun behind you Orthomom. I bet a lot of us did.

You did nothing wrong. You hang in there!!!

Feder's gonna have a tough time with Public Citizen. Though Feder's probably just happy his name is in news - free publicity for an attorney who will take money for frivilous wastes of the court's time

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Grammarman said...

A lawyer is a counsel, not a council.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even so, OM will have a lot of wasted time and stress that will affect her marriage, her family, and her well-being.

Maybe this lawyer can succeed, but maybe not. We'll see.

But the most important thing to remember is that this brings no hope to bloggers whose identity is already known to the people they slandered.

For other bloggers whose identity is known, their slander can result in expensive lawsuits and that is already happening all over the country.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anon-o-mouse said...

Color me confused- why hasn't your case simply been dismissed. Any judge with a good pair of reading glasses can see that it wasn't you who made these comments. So, what's there to adjudicate?

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon-o-mouse said...
Color me confused- why hasn't your case simply been dismissed. Any judge with a good pair of reading glasses can see that it wasn't you who made these comments. So, what's there to adjudicate?"

You need to understand that until last week, OM was not a party to this matter. It was Greenbaum v Google. Google has no stomach for this and thus agreed to "start" looking for the requested information and in the interim, Om can come in and defend and make any requests of the court. Google will do whatever it is told. It may well end up dismissed, but Google didn't take that step.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PUBLIC CITIZEN IS RALPH NADER

1:40 PM  
Blogger triLcat said...

I can only hope justice will be served and this silly case will be thrown out.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck OM

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck OM

4:04 PM  
Blogger Hallie said...

Good luck.

It seems to me that the very worst that could happen is that Google could be compelled to turn over the IP addresses of the supposedly offensive commenters, NOT the IP address of Orthomom.

But it is very unlikely that even this will happen.

I wonder if you can countersue with an anti-SLAPP lawsuit, since clearly the lawsuit against you is nothing more than a transparent attempt to suppress public debate?

4:11 PM  
Anonymous REALLAWYER said...

If defamation is found to exist, its publisher, i.e., Orthomom, is a proper party to the lawsuit.

4:42 PM  
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