Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
nevada, state bar


Nevada Bar Investigating Righthaven Lawyers

from the keep-digging dept

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.

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  1. identicon
    Marc J. Randazza, 21 Jun 2011 @ 3:35pm

    I hate to stick up for Gibson...

    I hate to stick up for Gibson, as I've battled him on a number of these cases, and I have no great love for the man nor for his enterprise.

    Nevertheless, I think that these reports of the bar investigating him are overblown. Anyone can report any lawyer to the Bar, and upon filing such a report, the Bar is deemed to be "investigating" the matter. That does not mean that the Bar was concerned, nor that the Bar decided to open an investigation. It only means that someone was pissed off enough to send a letter to the Bar.

    There are lots of good reasons to criticize Righthaven, and lots of good examples of its problems. Although the crowd here may cheer at the statement that "the Bar is investigating," they should understand that it is not much to cheer about, and I predict that little (if anything) will come of it.

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