Our Further Response To Australian Lawyer Stuart Gibson, Who Continues To Threaten Us

from the please-read-it dept

This past Friday, we published our response to an Australian lawyer, Stuart Gibson, who apparently works for a real law firm called Mills Oakley. I know that Gibson is a real lawyer, because he’s represented big famous clients in the press before, including this impressive TV appearance in which he is left “categorically denying” statements that his client appears to have made directly and then having to defend himself when the news anchor points out what his client has actually said. Anyway, Mr. Gibson did not appear to appreciate my blog post on Friday, and sent a series of short emails over the weekend, with increasing fervor, in which he insisted that I “get proper legal advice instead of publishing your utter dribble,” that my “legal theories” were “nonsensical” and finally demanded to know if I had “the guts” to face him in court.

I, as you know, am not a lawyer — either in the US or Australia — and honestly had no idea that one was supposed to make legal decisions based on whether or not one had “the guts.” I had always assumed that this was the kind of thing that you need for bar brawls, rather than legal fights. But perhaps things are different down under. Either way, I did get “proper legal advice” (as I had before publishing my original post, but we’ll leave that aside), and given Gibson’s increasing email threats, our lawyer, the wonderful and well-regarded Paul Alan Levy from Public Citizen Litigation Group, has now responded to Gibson on our behalf. You can read it by following the link or embedded below.

In the meantime, others in the legal blogging world have begun to weigh in on Gibson’s threat, including lawyer Scott Greenfield, who dubbed it Stuart Gibson’s Really Bad Idea, and lawyer Ken White who noted that Milorad Trkulja is “not a gangster” but “Stuart Gibson Is, I Suppose, A Lawyer.” I would recommend reading both posts, for further legal analysis of Mr. Gibson’s threats (and make sure you stick around for his email exchange with Ken White). One wonders if this is the kind of publicity that Mills Oakley likes its lawyers to get.

Update: Stuart Gibson has replied to Paul’s letter simply stating: “I wouldn’t even be bothered to open this Spam.” Apparently, Gibson thinks that detailed responses that actually include citations (unlike his own threat letters) from some of the most respected litigators around are “Spam.” And the reputation of Mills Oakley continues to spiral down the drain…

Update, the second: Levy responded to Gibson by inserting the full text of the letter in the body of an email so that Gibson would not have to “open” the PDF he originally sent, and Gibson responded “Don’t bother pal.” Less than a minute later, he sent another email to Levy, saying just “Dribble.” At this point I’m confused about Gibson and Mills Oakley and how they operate. Gibson himself had specifically requested that I seek out legal advice in responding to his letter. I have done so. And now he refuses to even read it? This is the professionalism that Mills Oakley and its lawyers demonstrate?

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Comments on “Our Further Response To Australian Lawyer Stuart Gibson, Who Continues To Threaten Us”

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128 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

*giggles*

And to our left you can see a lawyer that is adding to the pile of contempt people feel for the law. Censorious douches who pray that you, not understanding the actual law, will just capitulate to their demands.

On our right you can see a lawyer who is fed up with these idiots bringing the profession into disrepute. He cites the actual law, clearly supports his position, and corrects the word choices of someone who has devolved into a blathering ball of self-indulgent indignation.

My great concern now is that the alleged ‘not a gangster’ will cast a spell on all of us reading this causing us great harm unless we forward his email threats to 35 people in the next 10 minutes. I might be a “bad guy” but I never faced excommunication from a church (or sued my current barrister trying to get money back).

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

I … honestly had no idea that one was supposed to make legal decisions based on whether or not one had “the guts.” I had always assumed that this was the kind of thing that you need for bar brawls, rather than legal fights. But perhaps things are different down under.

Anyone else read this and immediately think of those silly “how to speak Australian” beer commercials from a few years back?

TechDescartes (profile) says:

Are You Sure?

I know that Gibson is a real lawyer, because he’s represented big famous clients in the press before, including this impressive TV appearance in which he is left “categorically denying” statements that his client appears to have made directly and then having to defend himself when the news anchor points out what his client has actually said.

Are you sure he’s a real lawyer, or does he just play one on TV?

procopius (profile) says:

Re: Re: Are You Sure?

The whole letter was a delight to read. My only complaint was that it was written at a high school reading level, probably too difficult for Mr. Gibson to easily understand. I’ve read that Trump speaks at a third grade level, which would probably be more suitable. By the way, IANAL, so it’s not as if the language was obscure or overly technical.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Are You Sure?

Are you sure …?

Am I sure that Mr Gibson is actually the person utilizing his Mills Oakley email account?

In the absence of other information that would tend to controvert that belief, it does seem reasonable to presume that Mr Stuart Gibson, of Melbourne, a partner at Mills Oakley Lawyers, is in control of the sgibson@millsoakley.com.au account that appeared on the head of the document we saw in the previous Techdirt story.

Why wouldn’t I believe that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Single Publication Rule

I didn’t know that there when you publish something on the internet that it’s considered published only at that time and not constantly. The one complaint I had about the issue was that I assumed since Techdirt continued to serve up the comment, that it was considered to be “published” each time, and that would reset the clock on the statute of limitations. Thanks for the info on that.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Single Publication Rule

If you publish something in a newspaper, wouldn’t it only be considered published that one time. If I find that newspaper in the stacks of my public library fifty years later, does that now mean it was published again fifty years later?

If you publish a book, and I find it in a public library or a bookstore fifty years later, does that now mean it was published again?

If you publish something on the intarweb tubes, and someone reads if fifty days later, does that now mean it was published again?

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Stay or Go?

I am flabbergasted by the fact that Gibson seriously thinks Mike might spend a few grand and actually travel to Australia in order to place himself within a jurisdiction that Gibson might control, giving up all the rights he has if he does nothing. Especially since there is absolutely no reason he should.

This is not a case you should would want to highlight when selling your services.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Stay or Go?

Gibson is clearly channelling Donald Trump’s “We’ll build the wall and make Mexico pay for it” and other plans to enforce his policies in other countries.

On Obama’s 2012 re-election Donald Trump declared “We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty.” People joked that Trump thought he was Napoleon. And of course a person thinking that they’re Napoleon is a old cliché for mental illness.

Judging by Gibson, Trump really is the new Napoleon. Who knew?

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Stay or Go?

I am flabbergasted by the fact that Gibson seriously thinks Mike might spend a few grand and actually travel to Australia in order to place himself within a jurisdiction that Gibson might control …

Where’s your sense of adventure? I’d book a holiday for the whole family and write it off as a business expense. Think of the circus this Gibson’s offering TD.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Stay or Go?

What happens when Gibson wins in court and the cost of the ‘vacation’ doubles, or triples, or worse? Australia found Google guilty, what are the chances that they would find Mike liable as well? Some of us have a different tolerances for adventure. Besides, there is usually some reward when such risks are taken. If feeding us with fodder is the reward, Mike does that fairly well without taking this risk.

Now, if he were traveling with a false passport wearing Groucho Marx glasses, things might be different.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Stay or Go?

“What happens when Gibson wins in court and the cost of the ‘vacation’ doubles, or triples, or worse? “

I know very little about Australian law but is alleged defamation really an extraditable offense?

Please explain the exact circumstances in which said defamation perpetrator would be required to travel to a foreign country to face trial on charges which are perfectly legal in their own country.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Stay or Go?

I am not a lawyer, but there are at least three lawyers weighing in on the case. Check out what they have to say, there are links in the story. There is no extradition that I am aware of in this case, and no way Gibson could win a judgment in California, which is in the US.

My comment was responding to Gibson’s challenge to Mike to have the ‘guts’ to meet him in court. Gibson meant in Australia, where an uneven playing field exists. If Mike were to travel to Australia for any reason, and Gibson still had the desire, he could probably force Mike into a courtroom. I am guessing that if Australia was ever on Mikes dream vacation list, it is probably many notches lower now.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Stay or Go?

I’d first like to say, Mike, this’s tongue in cheek. I’m just playing with this. Don’t think I’m accusing you of cowardice or anything by not going with it. Anyone would wonder if you did.

That said:

If Mike were to travel to Australia for any reason, and Gibson still had the desire, he could probably force Mike into a courtroom.

But Mike loves this !@#$! 🙂 It’d be fun. I am now foreseeing the TD Australian Nutbar Lawyer Junket that Mike’s about to announce is selling to TD Insiders. Side trips to the Great Barrier Reef and a couple of NASA funded observatories in the outback are scheduled too. It’ll be beamed straight to YouTube and TPB data storage CC-Y… licencing, James Comey’s agreed to be MC at the closing night dance.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Stay or Go?

“Please explain the exact circumstances in which said
defamation perpetrator would be required to travel to a
foreign country to face trial on charges which are
perfectly legal in their own country.”

“There is no extradition that I am aware of in this
case, and no way Gibson could win a judgment in
California, which is in the US.”

Y’all are confusing criminal and civil law. Extradition only occurs for criminal cases. In civil cases, if the defendant is a foreign person or corporation, then then only money damages are at issue (not prison time), so there is no need for the court to extradite the defendant’s physical body from one country to another.

If the foreign defendant loses the case, the plaintiff can seize any assets the foreign defendant has in the country to satisfy the judgment. If the foreign defendant has no assets in the country, the plaintiff has to take his judgment to the courts in the foreign defendant’s country and ask them to enforce it.

In the present case, if Trkulja/Gibson do that, the US court will look at the judgment, see that it doesn’t comply with US principles of free speech and due process, and reject enforcement of it under the SPEECH Act.

At no point will Masnick ever be in danger of extradition to Australia.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Stay or Go?

I am flabbergasted by the fact that Gibson seriously thinks Mike might spend a few grand and actually travel to Australia in order to place himself within a jurisdiction that Gibson might control, giving up all the rights he has if he does nothing. Especially since there is absolutely no reason he should.

This is why anyone who insists that Dotcom should just give up and go to the US is missing the point.

They went after him after bulldozing a bunch of laws. On what planet do you believe that such an adversarial group would actually accord you the appropriate rights offered by the law?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Stay or Go?

Yes, multiple times.

Pretty much any time the subject comes up in fact you’ll have someone chiming in and claiming that if Dotcom was really innocent he’d never have fought extradition at all and would have immediately headed to the US for his pre-determined sentencing, and that by fighting extradition he’s only demonstrating his guilt, because clearly the US courts are just completely unbiased and would absolutely offer him a fair trial.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Stay or Go?

I guess I don’t read comments by nutjobs that much.

I think it’s fair to say that if you think people should leave the country they are in, to go to some other country which they supposedly violated the laws of from their home in the country they are in to face trial for laws they are not subject to, you are a nutjob, and can be safely ignored.

Rich Kulawiec (profile) says:

About his response to Levy's letter

Stuart Gibson has replied to Paul’s letter simply stating: “I wouldn’t even be bothered to open this Spam.”

Gibson thus puts convincing and final proof on the table that he does not know what spam is.

First, it not a proper noun nor an acronym, thus is never spelled “Spam” unless it begins a sentence, and certainly not “SPAM” in any case.

Second, the canonical definition of spam is “unsolicited bulk email”. While Levy’s communication is of course email, it is neither unsolicited (having been sent in response to Gibson’s threats) nor bulk (since it is a single message).

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at this development, given what else has transpired.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: About his response to Levy's letter

Why am I thinking that there are readers of this site that might resort to instructing Mr. Gibson as to the actualities that really are spam via some actual examples. I believe that someone above kindly listed his contact information for those so inclined. I wonder what types of examples might grace Mr. Gibson’s inbox in the near future?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: About his response to Levy's letter

… the actualities that really are spam…

If you carefully follow some of the links laid out in comments under the previous Techdirt article, it seems rather improbable to me that Mills Oakley Lawyers is a phish.

Would you be willing to bank on that? Or would you need some additional searching to verify that yourself—given today’s ‘net environment.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: et tu Stuart Gibson?

How can a lawyer manage a case ethically if he refuses to read the fundamental replies from the legal council of party he is threatening?

What case? This’s all just mano a mano threatening. Until something’s filed in court, this’s just bluster, not anything the authorities need concern themselves with.

The Internet (web) says “Pics, or it didn’t happen.” Same thing.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: About his response to Levy's letter

Gibson’s lack of a basic understanding of the meaning of spam might simply reflect his lack of basic understanding of the internet. Also perhaps it reflects his lack of basic understanding of the term unsolicited. Or the term bulk. Could it possibly reflect even a lack of understanding of the practice of law? Everyone would have to draw their own conclusions from the available evidence.

procopius (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

When I google “mills oakley lawyers melbourne australia,” the first link that comes up is, “Lawyers Melbourne – Qualified Personal Injury Experts,” which leads me to think it’s a gang of ambulance chasers.
On their home page they say, “Mills Oakley is a rapidly growing Australian commercial law firm, resourced by over 75 partners and more than 500 staff…”, so I think I can conclude that this Stuart Gibson is probably an unpaid intern who is probably working off the books. Oh, no, wait, he’s actually one of their 500 staff. Not even high enough up to have the photographer help him look a little better. Blue tie with grey suit? Unfocused look. Not looking at the camera, but off into the distance. Wonder how much he charges per billable hour. Wonder how many billable hours he’s generated from this farce.

seedeevee (profile) says:

Not A Gangster Milorad Trkulja

Just so I am clear:

Milorad Trkulja is “not a gangster”, he just happens to show up the vicinity of gangsters? Meaning – “during google”?

“Mills Oakley is a rapidly growing Australian commercial law firm, resourced by over 75 partners and more than 500 staff across offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth” and they are known to hire “lawyers” with the name “Stuart Gibson”?

Did you know that Mills Oakley just reported “2014 was a milestone year for Mills Oakley, marking the firms 150th anniversary “?

Did I get everything? Milorad Trkulja, Stuart Gibson, Mills Oakley, google, gangsters? But not a gangster-Milorad Trkulja?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Not A Gangster Milorad Trkulja

Victorian Legal Services: Board + Commissioner: Register of Legal Practitioners & Law Practices
1 result for ‘mills oakley’ in ‘Law Practices’

Entity Name: Mills Oakley Lawyers T/A Mills Oakley
Business Name: Mills Oakley
Address for service: L6 530 Collins St
City/Suburb: MELBOURNE
State: VIC
Postcode: 3000
Country: AUSTRALIA
Date of Extraction: 17/02/2016

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Not A Gangster Milorad Trkulja

Mills Oakley… are known to hire “lawyers” with the name “Stuart Gibson”?

We can place a “Stuart Gibson” sgibson@millsoakley.com.au as a “partner” at Mills Oakley, on Sep 20, 2014.

But looking at that same page from Sep 1, 2014, we don’t see a “Stuart Gibson” listed. Which doesn’t mean he wasn’t with the firm as early as August of that year, but we don’t see that on this archived page.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Not A Gangster Milorad Trkulja

Victorian Legal Services: Board + Commissioner: Register of Legal Practitioners & Law Practices
1 result for ‘stuart gibson’ in ‘Local Legal Practitioners’
No results for ‘stuart j gibson’ in ‘Local Legal Practitioners’

Imo, there’s insufficient information here to positively associate the single result found for “stuart gibson” with any particular “stuart gibson”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Not A Gangster Milorad Trkulja

Oh, and broadening the search—

18 results for ‘gibson’ in ‘Local Legal Practitioners’
No results for ‘gibson’ in ‘Locally Registered Foreign Lawyers’

But scanning through the 18 results yields only the single potentially pertinent record found with the previous searches. Again, that single record does not seem to list sufficient information for a positive association with a particular individual of interest.

Whey Standard (profile) says:

Hey Now

To be fair, it wasn’t his client’s statement that he was categorically denying happened, it was the founder and messiah of his client. The reporter was claiming (correctly) that L. Ron Hubbard said you needed to put people in isolation. Gibson was merely denying the correctness of the teachings of the prophet … shun the nonbeliever!!!!

That One Guy (profile) says:

'I wanna win the case! I want I want I want!'

At this point, and based upon his actions so far I think it’s pretty clear that his standard tactic is to attempt to bully and threaten his targets into backing down and complying with his demands, and he’s throwing a tantrum because it absolutely didn’t work this time.

When all you have is bluster and empty threats, and neither of them work, then you have two options:

1) Realize that you’ve got nothing and back down.
2) Double-down and continue to make a fool of yourself.

At this point it would appear he has decided to go with option #2, and is sure to provide hours of entertainment for TD readers everywhere as we get to watch the latest installment of ‘When supposedly professional individuals have public meltdowns’.

Anonymous Zero Hero says:

Mr. Trkulja, jokingly referred to as a “gangster” as I understand it, has seemingly done himself a great disservice by hiring Stuart Gibson. I’m getting the strong impression that this lawyer is lazy, as evidenced by not only his general lack of interest, but also his clear lack of effort on multiple occasions. Hopefully someone has taken the time to inform Mr. Trkulja that if he continues on this course, he could potentially end up on the hook for not only his lawyer fees, but Mr. Masnick’s as well due to Anti-SLAPP law in California. Given the performance of this lawyer thus far, I’m guessing very likely not.

Lisboeta (profile) says:

Lawyers....

I do realise that lawyers’ criteria for taking a case can be summed up as:
1. Can the litigant pay?
2. Fees
3. Fees

But … in a previous case, Milorad Trkulja was in conflict with his lawyer, Stuart Gibson. If his current lawyer is the same Stuart Gibson, why did he again elect to represent Milorad Trkulja? (See 1, 2 and 3 above.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lawyers....

… why did he again elect to represent Milorad Trkulja?

Especially when the core of the current case is about an anonymous comment from 2012?

I think that the stated main issue is objectively unreasonable. But there are all sorts of weird, strange people on the ‘net, and Mr Trkulja might be one of them.

So then, is Mr Trkulja’s solicitor, Stuart Gibson, behaving in a reasonable fashion? I don’t think so. Wouldn’t Mr Gibson have a duty to advise Mr Trkulja that “it’s just not worth it”?

So, my read is that something else must be going on.

Unless it’s just that weird clients get represention from strange solicitors. —Like attracts Like? —Nutcases attract nutcases?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Lawyers....

So, my read is that something else must be going on.

Something that I ran across earlier, but didn’t extract. This is from a Jan 30, 2012 story in the Syndney Morning Herald, by
Lawrence Money:

Gibson’s firm last year launched Australia’s first defamation action against Google on behalf of a client objecting to the “search-engine snippets”, the summarised list that appears in a Google search. The case, since handpassed to another firm, is still to be settled. Gibson says a win there would “open the floodgates” for complainants. “A lot of our work,“ says Gibson, “is removing those search-engine snippets. Google will remove stuff if put under enough pressure.”

(Emphasis added.)

So what might that tend to indicate? Could Mr Gibson’s tactics be explained strategically? As operational art?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lawyers....

… in a previous case, Milorad Trkulja was in conflict with his lawyer, Stuart Gibson.

Trkulja v Gibsons Solicitors Pty Ltd (Fed.Magis.Ct. of Australia 2011)

HISTORY

5. The respondent was formerly the applicant’s solicitor. The applicant determined that the respondent should no longer act for him . . .

——That 2011 case between Mr Trkulja and Mr Gibson’s firm has been mentioned previously here at Techdirt. But I have not seen following case mentioned here before.——

Trkulja v Efron & Associates (Victoria Ct.App. 2014)

The retainer of Efron & Associates

54 The circumstances of the Yahoo proceeding and the Google proceeding are not explained in the affidavits save that each involved a claim by the appellant that he had been defamed and was entitled to damages.

55 Both sets of proceedings appear to have been commenced before the appellant approached Efron. It seems that the appellant had previously retained (a) George Liberogiannis & Associates and (b) Gibsons Solicitors Pty Ltd before approaching Efron and had dispensed with those solicitors’ services. Efron says that the appellant approached him on or about 21 December 2011. He says that, at their initial conference, he agreed with the appellant that his firm ‘would represent the (appellant) in the Yahoo Proceeding and the Google Proceeding on a “no win no fee” basis.’

(Emphasis altered; footnote omitted.)

And from the same 2014 case:

November 2012

77 During November 2012, Efron and his firm continued to attend to matters on behalf of the appellant arising out of the Google proceeding. On 26 November 2012, Efron attended Court to receive final orders. On or about that day, the appellant emailed a letter to Efron saying that Efron and his firm ‘has been sacked by me today 26/11/12 at 6:00 p.m.’. In that letter, the appellant said that he was cancelling the letter ‘that you forced me to signee (sic) without proper explanation’. Further, in that letter, the appellant made several suggestions to the effect that Efron was not entitled to be paid for the work he had done.

78 On 27 November 2012, the appellant sent Efron a communication to which he attached emails to the defendants in the proceedings saying that he had terminated Efron’s retainer. On 4 December 2012, the appellant sent Efron a further letter in which he told Efron that he had now instructed Gibsons Solicitors ‘to act on his behalf for purposes of the taxation of costs in the Yahoo proceeding and the Google proceeding’ and requested Efron & Associates forward its files to Gibsons. He added that Efron ‘would be paid whatever costs were awarded by the Taxing Master’. Apparently inconsistently, the appellant also said that Efron had been retained on a ‘pro bono’ basis.

(Emphasis altered; footnote omitted.)

Kludge (profile) says:

?? Why am I reading – I think it’s the third – article on this when you could’ve just written “Stuart Gibson works for a law firm nobody will remember tomorrow as a quasi-legal something, but is both incompetent at work and ignorant of his own religion”?

It’s just weird and roundabout to have Gibson himself imply all these things of himself when he’s not the journalist. From the sounds of it, he’s a self-abuser, so I feel a bit dirty about the whole thing, just as a casual reader, too.

The Aussie says:

Response

There is a huge culture clash going on here and it looks bad for Americans. Absolutely no appreciation for another country’s laws or culture.

First, both drivel and dribble can be used interchangeably. While the correct use in the US would have been drivel, dribble is the standard word used in Australia. Same way Americans use “z” where the British use “s,” or Americans say “french fries” and British say “chips.”

Second, Mr. Levy is a typical American lawyer who thinks American law rules the world. He just doesn’t seem to get it. I have no doubt that Mr. Gibson will be able to get a judgment for his Client. Mr. Levy (Tech Dirt’s Lawyer) focus on the SPEECH Act is beside the point. We live in a global economy. If Gibson gets a judgment, he can take that judgment and attach any assets Tech Dirt may have any where else in the world. And even if Tech Dirt doesn’t have assets any where else in the world, banks are now global. While NY has the bank separate entity rule, some countries don’t recognize that rule. An Australian Court can also order Google to remove all of these posts and articles. Perhaps once a judgment is entered and Gibson’s client moves for a citation of assets/discovery and Tech Dirt refuses to comply, it can be held in contempt…..

You can’t ignore other countries rules and then expect the whole world to just apply American law. The Client is an Australian….Tech Dirt’s shots are entirely gratuitous and malicious — its being done for giggles.

The key difference between Australia and the US is the First Amendment (or freedom of speech) is not used as a sword to assault random people. The right to privacy is considered a fundamental right because unlike freedom of speech it cannot be used to hurt people. Freedom of expression, generally, if you look at its history it is used as a shield. Public corruption, major crimes yea report on it, that’s in the public interest. But this type of stuff by TechDirt, which is basically just making fun of a random guy and exposing him to the ridiculous commentators on here…..this is supposed to be freedom of speech? It is akin to cyber bullying.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Response

… a random guy…

Mr Gibson is just some “random guy”?

Mr Gibson is a radio personality who has voluntarily become a public figure.

Further, Mr Gibson appears to have voluntarily injected himself into the current situation. His name appears in the threat sent to Techdirt, under the Mills Oakley Lawyers letterhead. Given the previous litigation between Mr Trkulja and Mr Gibson’s former firm of Gibsons Solicitors Pty Ltd, it seems doubtful that Mr Gibson would have any continuing obligation to represent Mr Trkulja in any new matters. In any case, Mr Gibson should have no obligation whatsoever to represent Mr Trkulja in objectively unreasonable matters.

No. Mr Gibson volunteered. He’s not “random”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Response

I think we should also point out that Mr. Gibson is (in contrast to “some random guy”) an attorney. He SHOULD be made fun of, far and wide for his idle threats and responses, if for no other reason to let his potential clients know the exact caliber of attorney they are getting with this individual.

Caveat emptor, indeed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Response

He SHOULD be made fun of…

You yourself may make fun of Mr Gibson, if you wish.

When I read his threat and demand for both actions and money, I did not regard it as idle. Nor have I regarded it as a jest or joke of any sort.

Now certainly, it’s impossible to look at the core of Mr Trkulja’s complaint as anything other than silly. “Ludicrous” was a word I used earlier. No reasonable person bothers to pursue a three-year-old anonymous blog comment, which contains a mere mildly pejorative charactization. That is unreasonable.

So some levity must be expected to lighten the circumstances. And you yourself may make fun of Mr Gibson, if you wish.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response

Yes, it is an idle threat. We know that because he doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. He may very well get an default judgement, but he will be completely unable to enforce it. Ergo, it’s moot. That’s what makes this sad excuse for an attorney such a joke. He’s wasting his client’s money with no possibility for anything other the a pyrrhic victory. A COMPETENT attorney would have pointed this out and told his client it drop it, and not waste a Australian court’s time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Response

Yes, it is an idle threat.

You and I probably use the phrase “idle threat” in different ways.

Many internet users have grown familiar with email which purports to be from FBI Director Robert Mueller. If an email like that is of the threatening variety, I don’t characterize it as an “idle threat”.

[F]raudulent schemes representing the FBI claim to be from our domestic as well as overseas offices. The schemes cover a range from threat and extortion e-mails, . . .

Similar emails purport to be from the IRS, and again, I don’t tend to characterize them as “idle threats”.

WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service today warned consumers to be on the lookout for a new email phishing scam. The emails appear to be from the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service and include a bogus case number. . . .

The threat letters Tech Dirt received on the Mills Oakley Lawyers letterhead is not quite of the variety I just referenced. For one, the threats were much more targeted (cf. “spear-phishing”). Two, they arrived in postal mail, rather than email.

But I seemed to recognize enough commonality in the pattern, that among my initial concerns were whether Mills Oakley Lawyers was a legitimate law firm. I had never heard of them before.

So, again, you and I are probably using the phrase “idle threat” in different fashions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Response

And?

He cannot enforce anything even IF he got a judgement in an Australian court, so his demands are moot. That’s the point, the client will have to pay, and will never be reimbursed, unless you think he’s working on contingency, in which case he’s a worse attorney then I gave him credit for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Response

And?

It did not seem proper. Or quite usual.

Note that the unrelated legal threat that Ken White at Popehat reported on Wednesday (Feb 17) did not include a demand for payment.

Perhaps in Australia, it’s common to use the postal mail, and/or email, to send ridiculous demands for money. Perhaps in Australia, the letter was sent with a proper expectation of payment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Response

… the client will have to pay, and will never be reimbursed, unless you think he’s working on contingency…

Mr Levy may be representing Masnick pro bono publico, although I have no actual knowledge of the financial arrangements between Mr Levy and Masnick.

Pro bono publico representation of private individuals is, of course, in the public interest, although it is not quite the same as representing the people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Response

I can’t say I know how they do this down under, but here most pro bono cases are handled as a way of bolstering one’s history with fairly easy wins (where the only major difficulty is lack of money) for advertising purposes.

If this is a pro bono case, it’s a severe miscalculation. The litigant looks like someone who needs to put their big-boy pants on, the lawyer looks like an incompetent boob afraid to even read a letter from the other party’s council, and his law firm looks like they shouldn’t be called on to do anything IN Australia, let alone anything with an international element to it. All of this is visible on an international stage, and will show up to everyone searching for Mills Oakley for the next half century. If they are being paid for this, it’s not enough for the damage it’s doing to their name, let alone if they aren’t.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Response

Perhaps once a judgment is entered and Gibson’s client moves for a citation of assets/discovery and Tech Dirt refuses to comply, it can be held in contempt…..

Yeah, of an Australian court. The worst case scenario is that he wouldn’t be able to travel to Australia, because there is no way in hell he would ever be extradited.


You can’t ignore other countries rules and then expect the whole world to just apply American law.

Then why should Australian law apply to someone in the US?

this is supposed to be freedom of speech?

Not supposed to be. It is.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Response

Second, Mr. Levy is a typical American lawyer who thinks
> American law rules the world.

He doesn’t think American law rules the world. He thinks American law rules America, which is where Masnick, his website, and the comments at issue, are located.

> An Australian Court can also order Google to remove all
> of these posts and articles.

That would be impossible, since Google doesn’t own or have access to the servers on which Masnick’s website resides.

> Perhaps once a judgment is entered and Gibson’s client
> moves for a citation of assets/discovery and Tech Dirt
> refuses to comply, it can be held in contempt.

Which also wouldn’t be enforceable. What does Masnick care what some judge in Australia says about him being in contempt? It’s not like the American government is going to allow Australian cops to come to California, put him in handcuffs, and ship him back to Oz to serve time.

Another Aussie says:

Re: Drivel vs Dribble

As another Australian I can say I have never heard dribble used that way and a quick ask around found that no one else had either, the best suggestion was that someone who was less literate might simply mistakenly misuse a word they did know for one they had heard others use. so I have to ask why are you so set on defending this lawyer by putting down Techdirt? Are you from Melbourne? Are you employed at any legal firms? Are you a gangster? Enquiring minds want to know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Drivel vs Dribble

As another Australian I can say I have never heard dribble used that way…

I am slightly vexed that Oxford Dictionaries does not have an Australian English variant. When I select the “ENG (UK)” dictionary there and search for “dribble”, I myself do obtain a result which contains ‘us’ intermediately in the url. Nevertheless, the result represents itself as British and World English:

verb

1. [no object and usually with adverbial of direction] (Of a liquid) fall slowly in drops or a thin stream
1.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Pour (a liquid) slowly in a thin stream
1.2 [no object] Allow saliva to run from the mouth

2 [with object and adverbial of direction] (In soccer, hockey, and basketball)  . . .

(Examples omitted.)

Neither of the two main senses shown there is synonymous with “drivel”. Moreover, I do not see “dribble” shown as an alternate spelling for “drivel”.

Utilizing the same resource for “drivel”, going past the dictionary definition —where I do not find alternate spellings— and looking at the English Thesaurus, I do find:

Australian/New Zealand vulgar slang bulldust

But I do not find “dribble” as a synonym for “drivel”.

What is the go-to dictionary for Australian English?

And I’ll acknowledge, too, right off the bat, that dictionaries, no matter how eagerly they attempt to describe contemporary usage, do tend to fall slightly behind the most radically modern scenes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Drivel vs Dribble

Neither of the two main senses shown there is synonymous with “drivel”.

Oops. I’m afraid I searched too superficially here, and now must amend what I wrote.

Using the Oxford Dictionaries English Thesaurus for “dribble”:

Synonyms of dribble in English:
verb

1 ‘the cat started to retch and dribble’
drool, slaver, slobber, salivate, drivel, water at the mouth;
Scottish
2 …

noun

So “drivel” is shown as a synomym for “drivel” as a verb, after all.

That’s what I get for not looking hard enough, I s’pose.

klaus says:

Re: Response

What a ridiculous bias. You say “cultural differences” then say how global everything is. You say Techdirt and it’s commentators are rotten cyberbullies yet ignore Gibson’s own attempts to threaten and bully. And frankly, trying to paint Paul Levy as some clueless legal dwarf, and Stuart Gibson as some kick-ass “never lost a case yet” lawyer had me spewing Earl Grey out of my nose.

procopius (profile) says:

Re: Response

Second, Mr. Levy is a typical American lawyer who thinks American law rules the world.

I don’t understand how you reach this conclusion. Throughout his letter Mr. Levy repeats that he is not versed in Australian law, so cannot comment on the likelihood of Stuart prevailing there. He then goes on to explain what American law is in different jurisdictions. It appears that in order to get a judgement against Masnick he would have to sue in a California court. An Australian court cannot impose a lien on property in California.

Anonymous Coward says:

I am beginning to think Mr Gibson may be a bit of a shit. In his letter referenced above, Mr Gibson, in the course of his presumably heartfelt exposition about the butt hurt his client felt and how bad this could be for Masnick in australia, also felt free to threaten what he could do to him here in the US. He received an education (a preferable term to asswhooping) on the US parts of his letter from Mr Levy as can be seen above. Yet he responded with a churlish disregard for the information on a topic he raised. Whilst he may be none the wiser, he is at least now better informed and any boorish threats he makes in future about what he can do to people legally in the us will at least be enlivened by some actual real facts. And yet where are the thanks? He acts with what appears to be a cavalier dismissiveness. Surely some gratitude is in order? And perhaps if he feels unable to say thank you, how about a sum of money in lieu of tuition?

Kronomex says:

“”I wouldn’t even be bothered to open this Spam.”” How did he know it was the awful canned product and not spam? Of course he read the email and being so petty and petulant he denies doing so. Chest beating macho moron. I wouldn’t want this waste of space as a lawyer. As a Australian I would like to apologise to Mike for the behaviour of Mr. Gibson.

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