Suggestion: Don't Sue Google For $50 Billion Over Something It's Not Liable For

from the unless-you-want-the-court-to-slam-you dept

We see all sorts of ridiculous lawsuits floating around, but here's a good one. Eric Goldman has the story of a journalist who was upset about a story written by a local college professor. The journalist felt the story was defamatory, so obviously, he sued Google for $50 billion. Yes, you read that correctly. Pissed off journalist feels that he was defamed by someone totally unconnected to Google... and responds by suing Google for $50 billion. Not surprisingly, the court wasted no time tossing this lawsuit out, and then even slapped the journalist with an order to pay Google's $12,000 in legal fees. The order to pay those legal fees was later removed on a technicality, but as Goldman notes, it appears that judges are getting pretty sick of these sorts of lawsuits, and are finally beginning to punish folks who are filing them.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Nick Stamoulis, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    What kind of idiot would first waste their time suing a company totally unrelated but also for 50 bil? What a moron. It's kind of like that guy who recently called 911 over not getting what he wanted out of a cheeseburger he bought at a fast food restaurant... same breed.

     

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    Gunther, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 1:50pm

    Oh, one of those

    Oh, it's one of those "professional journalists" we read so much about.

     

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  3.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 14th, 2008 @ 2:01pm

    Re:

    Well, this is the blowback from the mentality that 'everything is actionable.' Yeah, it helps keep the peasants from fighting back, but it empowers others to sue for anything that displeases them.

    Of course, we're not going to get relief from this from the legal community, because this is an income stream.

    What we have now is a parody of the rule of law. Pass go on a technicality, collect twelve grand.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 2:56pm

    bummer that they had to drop the $12,000 order.

     

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  5.  
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    Michael G., Aug 14th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Hold it...

    ...I take offense to this story. See you in court and bring you wallet.

     

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  6.  
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    Wayne vM, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 3:04pm

    I actually don't blame the journalist at all. Lets be honest, most journalists are idiots in the first place. Blame for this, and all fees awarded to Google should be directed towards the lawyer the journalist used to file the lawsuit (if he had a lawyer). The judge should be fining and sanctioning the lawyer and then maybe the lawsuits will stop.

     

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  7.  
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    Nick Stefani, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 4:10pm

    Journalist

    What a Bitch

     

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  8.  
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    another mike, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 4:28pm

    Since lawyers have set themselves up as the gatekeepers to the legal system, and 50 billion ain't exactly small claims, there's a pretty good chance the journalist had a lawyer. It's good that judges are starting to hit back against these type of whiny brat lawsuits, but they should start targeting the lawyers. That way the lawyers have the incentive to talk their clients out of filing these stupid lawsuits.
    Oh and why Google? Did the journo do a vanity search and the professor's article was the first result?

     

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  9.  
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    Fletch, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 5:47pm

    What's in a Name

    Oh c'mon - the technicality here is that his last name is Goldman. Don't BS us! Special Treatment-R-US | They run this country from inside the Gov't (Greenspan) Hollywood (Goldberg/Lucas,etc.-on and on and on) and is it any wonder that practically evey single lawyer out there (Mark Goldman/Shapiro-OJ lawyers) is one, too! You do not even want to piss one of these guys off. The Dradel Mafia will find you no matter where you to try and hide.

     

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  10.  
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    Fletch, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 5:47pm

    What's in a Name

    Oh c'mon - the technicality here is that his last name is Goldman. Don't BS us! Special Treatment-R-US | They run this country from inside the Gov't (Greenspan) Hollywood (Goldberg/Lucas,etc.-on and on and on) and is it any wonder that practically evey single lawyer out there (Mark Goldman/Shapiro-OJ lawyers) is one, too! You do not even want to piss one of these guys off. The Dradel Mafia will find you no matter where you to try and hide.

     

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  11.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 14th, 2008 @ 7:01pm

    Re: What's in a Name

    Lovely. Not just an ignorant anti-semite, but one so dumb he can't figure out that Eric was merely the guy who wrote about the case, not the one involved in it.

    Good work, Fletch, in showing just how ignorant you are.

     

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  12.  
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    David, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 8:41pm

    Lawsuits

    About time they tossed them out, and start filing lawsuits against them for such stupid (yes, STUPID) frivioulous lawsuits. Dumb dick sticks.

     

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  13.  
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    JR, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 6:15am

    What, no Streisand Effect?

    Aw, I wanted to follow links to the original story, so the idiocy of the person who brought the suit could be even more apparent, at least to me and anyone I point to it. But no links to follow!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 6:45am

    Re:

    You don't blame the journalist at all? You're a fool.

     

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  15.  
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    Thomason, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 7:57am

    wire to wire libel

    Yeah, no links, but the op is on the Minn. COA website. It pretty much was a slam dunk. All the lawyerhaters on this post might note that the plaintiff represented himself, viz., no lawyer would take his case. How too could you expect a person representing himself to fare well when Google's lawyer's first name is "Justice"?
    That aside, the alleged slander was only published on an online webzine, then "Google posted [that] article." By federal statute, no "interactive computer service" [here, the big Googie] can be liable for the content of "another information content provider." That law may offer somewhat of a dodge - the well-moneyed "service" could republish content from a judgment-proof "content provider," and the libel would go unpunished. Publish a libelous article on a website in Iran, which then is "posted" on Google, and again, no lawyer will take that case.

     

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    Fifty, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 9:10am

    ha, ha,

    $50 billion!???

    That is hilarious.

     

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  17.  
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    HennepinCountyLawyer, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 1:17pm

    Stop paying attention to how much a suit is asking for. It's utterly meaningless.

    As a matter of fact, people get so worked up over that that the rules in Minnesota now specify that if you think you're entitled to more than $50,000, you ask for "reasonable damages in excess of $50,000".

    Which this guy presumably didn't know because he didn't have a lawyer.

     

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  18.  
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    John, Aug 17th, 2008 @ 6:09pm

    Keep going

    I say that the judge should keep going. Add another $5,000 for wasting the court's time (have to pay the judge for his time, the clerks for their time, etc).

    And I think the judges in these kinds of cases should start penalizing the ****-ing lawyers for taking the case. Yes, I know that some lawyers will take any case, especially if the client is pushy enough (or throws around enough money), but they should know better.

    What would happen if the judge in this case suspended the lawyer's license for 6 months because the lawyer was dumb enough to try to take this case to court?

     

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