It seems things keep getting worse and worse for Righthaven. With its lawsuits losing big time, and the underpinning of many of its lawsuits being dropped as a sham
, it appears that the Nevada state bar is now investigating the company and its lawyers
, after some grievances have been filed against the copyright trolling operation. People at the Nevada state bar have admitted that there are "two or possibly three" grievances being investigated. Steve Green has the details:
Court records suggest the State Bar in reviewing the Righthaven litigation is focusing on two broad areas:
-- Whether Righthaven and its attorneys have engaged in champerty and barratry – generally defined as the improper incitement and prosecution of lawsuits by parties with no real interest in the outcome – and that hope to profit by such lawsuits.
Attorneys for one of the Righthaven defendants, Thomas DiBiase, for instance, have charged: "DiBiase asserts that the purported copyright assignment from Stephens Media to Righthaven is a sham and that Righthaven is engaged in champerty and barratry by filing litigation on copyrights that it does not own."
-- Whether Righthaven and its attorneys have made misrepresentations to the court. If true, that would appear to be a violation of the Nevada Supreme Court’s Rules of Professional Conduct.
These rules say, in part, "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer" to "engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." The rules also say, "A lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer."
Both of those may end badly for Righthaven and its lawyers, especially the latter. The fact that Righthaven failed to reveal that Stephens Media was a 50% beneficial party to any legal results is a huge
omission that I can't see the state bar brushing off as a minor infraction. It's still rather stunning that the company didn't realize that such information would eventually come out.