Thursday, January 10, 2013

Update on the Rakofsky versus the Internet Case - Lessons

I'm not a party in the case known as Rakofsky versus many Defendants (including bloggers, the ABA, and others).

I had previously written about the case here: The Plaintiff claimed defamation as well as negligence for some reason against many many Defendants.  

In my prior post, I asked a question to a hypothetical potential client back in 2011: If someone like the Plaintiff came to my office to discuss a possible lawsuit like this, I'd ask him/her these questions: Are you prepared - as a recent law grad trying to build a practice - to spend the next 2-5 years emotionally involved in this litigation?

Well, now we know more about this case, and more than 18 months later, the case is still sitting. It looks like at the hearing on Motions to Dismiss, the Court asked pointed questions regarding the allegations in the Complaint. It went on to ask pointed questions regarding the theories. It went so far as to suggest ramifications if one set of allegations sounding in negligence were not dismissed - and they were not. 

After the hearing in the Summer of 2011, what has happened? Well, the Court intimated that it would take action if the negligence claims were not dismissed. A letter followed from Plaintiff, noting no cases in support of a negligence theory under New York law, and ending with a note to the Judge allowing the Court to have the counts dismissed if the Court was so inclined. 

So what happens next? Nothing. For months. Until recently, when a Defendant filed a Motion for Sanctions against the Plaintiff.      

What is the lesson here for law students, business people, and even lawyers? That in anger, the threats of litigation don't turn out the way law professors might teach. It's one thing to sit on a law library, office, or starbucks and claim that in theory there has been a wrong, but in reality? 

Reality is this case - A Complaint that expands by hundreds of paragraphs, many Defendants, and a river of Motions to Dismiss. A case that has been sitting not for months, but for years. A case that - presuming it survives the pending Motions - has discovery yet to start.   A case with no trial date ever being discussed, much less set. 

Stay tuned for what happens next- but it's going to be a while.