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Free advice is worth what you pay for it

You may have heard that Harper Collins, the publisher of Sarah Palin’s yet unreleased new book, has obtained an injunction against the tabloid website Gawker for the unauthorized publication of some excerpts from the book.
Professor Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection (wingnut warning) has some free advice for Sarah Palin:

And they bragged when they stole a partial copy of your book, and they dared you and taunted you to do something about it, and you did.

But please don’t stop there. Your TRO is the equivalent of a routine metal detector screening. You found the box-cutter, and confiscated it. Good so far, but not enough.

You need to have your lawyers give the people at Gawker a full nude-body scan and junk fondling.

Uncover the networks, Sarah. For all of our benefit and amusement.

It’s called discovery. In a litigation your lawyers are entitled to e-mails, and all Gawker’s internal documents regarding not only this theft, but you. Because you will want to prove that their intent was to harm you and damage you, so everything they ever have written off-the-record, everyone with whom they ever have communicated about you, every strategy they have employed to take you down, now is fair game.

And your lawyers also get to take depositions under oath of the people at Gawker, and to subpoena for testimony others who may have relevant evidence as to the issue in the case. The Palingate people would be a good start.

What the good professor from Cornell Law School is talking about is “malice.” If you really want to hit the jackpot in a civil suit you want punitive (aka exemplary) damages. To get punies a plaintiff needs to prove the defendant acted with “Fraud, Malice Or Oppression.”

Malice – The intentional commission of a wrongful act, absent justification, with the intent to cause harm to others; conscious violation of the law that injures another individual; a mental state indicating a disposition in disregard of social duty and a tendency toward malfeasance.

Malice gets a public figure past the Sullivan standard too.

That gives Harper Collins and Sarah Palin the right to start digging through Gawker’s files and deposing their employees. If they uncover new causes of action, they can amend their complaint to allege new counts.

Even if Gawker wins they can end up paying boocoo simolians to their attorneys. “Nobody made any money except the attorneys” is what the legal profession calls a “happy ending.”

36 Responses

  1. OT: sitting in a coffee shop, lounge like room. Two older gay guys reading the paper nearby.
    Guy #1: President Obama really seems to be out of his league, doesn’t he?
    Guy #2: Yea…really disappointing.
    G#1: I knew that was all gonna end, but everyone was so gung-ho. You were one of ’em–all gung-ho. Just cause someone can talk well doesn’t mean they can be presindent. Maybe he’d be ready in 15 years. Should have elected Hillary.

    • My first reaction to Obama was that he wasn’t ready yet. He was inexperienced and untested. I thought he would make a good VP for Hillary, then he could run for POTUS in 2016.

      Then I learned more about him and realized he would never be ready.

      • Obama’s character flaws makes him unfit for anything that’s not selling. He should have stuck to marketing.

  2. Didn’t someone try to leak one of the Harry Potter books too? IIRC, Rowling’s lawyers were on em like a duck on a june bug.

  3. Gawker deserves what befalls him, but at the same time it’s sad to have these type of litigation that puts a damper on free speech. But irresponsible blogging deserves to be thrown to the mat.

    • Categories of unprotected speech
      1. Advocacy of illegal conduct
      2. Fighting words
      3. Obscenity
      4. Defamation
      5. Commercial speech

      • Litigation tends to put a damper because it makes people more cautious. Not that being cautious is bad, but it can mean simply losing a job, or creating a bad image, like Dan Rather’s case.

    • Not sure it falls under “free speech” if it is stealing copyrighted material.

    • Theft of intellectual property is not free speech. It’s theft.

  4. Here’s a real shocker (not)

    Sarah Palin drops 2012 presidency hint with staff visit to Iowa

    Palin scouts for office space in early voting state, suggesting next week’s visit will be ‘more than just a book signing’

    I’m waiting for her to form an “exploratory committee”

    Actually she would be smart to wait until next year to declare she’s running. She’ll have a better idea of how the economy will be doing and who her competition will be. Unless and until she announces she is definitely not running she’ll keep sucking up all the oxygen anyway.

  5. IOZ (Via Vastleft):

    You know, it seems fairly plain that a bunch of politicians who did not act in accordance with your priorities when they firmly held power are not going to do so now that their power has attenuated. And just to reiterate a point made about a million billion times, if your representatives in the People’s House routinely act counter to your priorities, then perhaps it is not that they are being somehow manipulated into concessionary doubt, but rather that they have different priorities.

  6. Palin’s not going to extend the lawsuit. She accomplished what she set out to do. If Palin was interested in really nailing people to the wall, she probably would have filed a civil suit for damages against that guy who hacked her account.

    But I’m still trying to make sense of WTH Gawker was doing. If it was some huge scandal or some piece of info worth the risk, it would make sense. Instead it’s kind of a pointless attack. Look what Palin wrote about American Idol!!!!!1111!! This is hugh!! Okay, but where’s the punchline? I don’t get it.

    • Good point. It’s the fauxgressive mentality.

      • It’s so funny too because it’s free publicity for her book. A lot of people who didn’t know she had another book coming out will hear about it because it’s in the news.

        • Ever notice that most attacks on Sarah Palin have the opposite of the intended effect?

          • Yea, like every time. You’d think the attackers would catch on.

          • It’s something like the political gene that Bill Clinton has and John Kennedy had. Whatever it is, she has it in abundance. Charisma seems like too weak a description for it.

          • The mainstream newsmedia need big fuel pumps to drive their ratings, circulation and traffic. Palin has replaced Obama as their biggest pump for news. They’ll keep pumping till the next election season. Apparently audiences don’t want to hear about wars, hunger or even the bad economy. So Palin bashing it is.

  7. Charisma…like Edwards, Obama, etc. and no real substance.

    God, between these 2 parties, we’re in such deep trouble!

    I am hoping that Palin will PEAK and then leave us alone. Haven’t we learned from the Edwards and Obama “charisma” candidates???

    • Since when did Edwards and Obama have charisma?

    • Honestly, there’s GOING to be a Republican candidate regardless, and we could do a hell of a lot worse. I don’t agree with Palin on practically ANYTHING, but she’s a lot less scary than some of the other options out there. Like Newt fucking Gingrich.

      • I agree. It’s their primary, let them pick their nominee.

      • I agree; she may be talking far right these days, but she does have a record of governance–unlike the Lightbringer before his selection– and it’s as a moderate.

        Dunno about her chances, though. Human persons love her, but corporate persons not so much. Didn’t she tangle with Big Oil in Alaska and win? Those guys won’t forget…

      • Palin used to be a regular commenter on CNBC before she did her VP thing. Don’t necessarily agree with her views, but she knows business. People underestimate her.

  8. Man, Facebook is tense these days. Progs, wingnuts, journos, feminists, obots, academic/techie/business blowhards…I’m worn out. Even managed to piss off Judy Woodruff today. Need a break. 🙂

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