Too lengthy for Failblog.org and perhaps too technical for the Phailhaüs, I bring to you the story of one Joseph Rakofsky, a 33-year old lawyer who made a huge series of mistakes:
1. Having never tried a case in court before, Rakofsky accepted the job of being the primary trial lawyer for one Dontrell Dean, a 21-year old who was accused of murder in 2008.
2. Rakofsky botched up the trial so badly that a mistrial had to be declared.
And here’s where Rakofsky erred the most:
3. Rather than lick his wounds and attempt to become a better trial lawyer, Rakofsky decides to sue the Internet for defamation, specifically the journalists and bloggers who wrote about or referenced to the mistrial.
In the amended 82-page lawsuit (embedded below), Rakofsky and his attorney Richard D. Borzouye, Esq. name such entities as the Washington Post (who first reported on the mistrial), AbovetheLaw.com (a prominent law blog), Carolyn Elefant (a small-firm law blogger), and even some email addresses and screen names of people who publicly spoke ill of Rakofsky’s competence to try the case, thus defaming him.
What is surprising to me is that many of the writers and bloggers named in the suit didn’t specifically make Joseph Rakofsky the target of their ire. Most of the blog entries about the case center around the ethics of the case, the problems with attorneys advertising their services, or even the law school where Rakofsky got his J.D. It’s only in using the mistrial as an example that Rakofsky’s involvement and comments on his competency as a lawyer get called into question.
And I am definitely not a lawyer, but one of my friends who is one is already eagerly awaiting what will happen during the first day of court when Rakofsky and Borzouye find themselves up against the legal teams picked to represent “the Rakofsky 74.”
But perhaps Eric Turkewitz (who is also named in the suit), said it best in his official Answer:
One of the demands Rakofsky made is that the defendants not mention his name. Or use his picture. Which is truly bizarre. He seems desperate to scrub the Internet of his follies.
I am tempted to write, in response to the suit, “Go shit in a hat and pull it down over your ears.” But that doesn’t sound very lawyerly. So I’ll say it in Latin. Vado shit in a hat quod traho is down super vestri ears.*
OK, maybe I used a translating website for that. You don’t really think I write Latin, do you? I suppose, for future reference, we can just call it the GSIAH defense. Or VSIAH if you like the pseudo-Latin that came out of the translator and you want to wow your friends with your knowledge of the Internet’s hottest new acronym.
Yeah, I digressed. But that was worth it, no?
Yep, totally worth it.