Bloggers aren’t fair game in litigation just because you can

Originally posted 2011-04-11 00:41:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

There is really justice in this world, sometimes, reports David Ardia:

A federal magistrate judge in New Hampshire has sanctioned Clifford Shoemaker, a Virginia attorney, for abusing the legal process by issuing a subpoena to Kathleen Seidel.

We really blew this one, blogging wise.  But it could be worse: We could have been Shoemaker, who blew it lawyering wise:

Mr. Shoemaker made no attempt to avoid imposing an undue burden or expense on Ms. Seidel. To the contrary, I find that he sought to burden her by requiring production of every scrap of paper related to autism, her web site, her tax returns, and her communications with the government. He improperly imposes a requirement to create documents, e.g., a list of “names of persons helping, paying or facilitating . . . these endeavors.” The documentation sought is exhaustive. . . .

Shoemaker has not offered a shred of evidence to support his speculations. . . .  [H]e issued the subpoena calling for production of documents and a deposition on the day before he stipulated to dismiss the underlying suit with prejudice. His failure to withdraw the subpoena when he clearly knew that suit was over is telling about his motives. His efforts to vilify and demean Ms. Seidel are unwarranted and unseemly.

Perhaps we are just so used to enduring abusive litigation tactics that judges just yawn at that we are jaded.  (Every time you complain it’s assumed both sides are equally guilty.)  That’s bad.

We used to spend a lot of time lawyering in New Hampshire, actually (doing discovery in a Southern District of New York case).  Must admit we miss that fresh air.

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.