Ruling on Motion to Dismiss in Ciolli v. Iravani

April 1, 2009

autoadmitlogo
In the continuing saga of the Auto Admit case, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has ruled on the defendants’ motion to dismiss and motion to strike.

Jurisdiction

Defendants Ross Chanin, ReputationDefender, Mark Lemley, and Heide Iravani asserted that they lacked the minimum contacts required for the exercise of personal jurisdiction over them in Pennsylvania. (Op. at 17) However, the Court held:

[Ciolli] presented sufficient factual allegations to demonstrate the need for jurisdictional discovery in this case. Defendants Chanin, ReputationDefender, Lemley, and Iravani have all admitted to, and Plaintiff has alleged the existence of, some contact with Pennsylvania that potentially supports the exercise of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff should have the opportunity to investigate the extent of these contacts and their relation to his claims. (Op. at 22)

Defendant’s Rosen & Associates and David Rosen did not challenge the Court’s jurisdiction.

Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

The Court granted some of the defendant’s motions to dismiss on some counts, but denied them on others. The Court determined that it was premature to resolve ReputationDefender, Chanin, and Iravani’s motion to dismiss until after jurisdictional discovery. (Op. at 23). However, with respect to David Rosen and Rosen & Associates, who did not challenge personal jurisdiction, the Court split its decision — dismissing the abuse of process claim, but refusing to dismiss the Dragonetti Act claim — a Pennsylvania Act prohibiting the wrongful initiation of civil proceedings.

Pennsylvania’s Dragonetti Act, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 8851-54, codified the common law tort of wrongful use of civil proceedings. Schmidt v. Currie, 470 F. Supp. 2d 477, 480 (E.D. Pa. 2005).

Under this statute:

A person who takes part in the procurement, initiation or continuation of civil proceedings against another is subject to liability to the other for wrongful use of civil proceedings [where]:

(1) He acts in a grossly negligent manner or without probably cause and primarily for a purpose other than that of securing the proper discovery, joinder of parties or adjudication of the claim in which the proceedings are based; and

(2) The proceedings have terminated in favor of the person against whom they are brought.

42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 8851(a). An attorney who brings a case, or who takes any steps in the proceedings, on behalf of his client “is not liable if he ha[d] probable cause for his action.” (Op. at 23)

The Court ruled that there is enough, at least at this stage, for the complaint to move forward.

Taking Plaintiff’s allegations as true, as we must at this stage in the litigation, we cannot say that Rosen and Rosen & Associates had probable cause to bring the Connecticut Litigation. As described above, Plaintiff’s Complaint adequately establishes that Heller and Iravani knew that Ciolli was not associated with T14 Talent and had never made defamatory posts about them on any website. Because they allegedly knew that Ciolli was not involved, Heller and Iravani did not reasonably have probable cause to assert that he was. Thus, Plaintiff’s allegations support the fact that Heller and Iravani did not have probable cause to assert the causes of action alleged in the Connecticut Litigation against Ciolli.

Defendants Rosen and Rosen & Associates argue that, as lawyers, they were entitled to rely in good faith on statements made by their clients and that therefore, even if Heller and Iravani knew that there was no probable cause to bring the Connecticut Litigation against Ciolli, Rosen and Rosen & Associates are not also liable. (Defs. Rosen & Rosen & Associates Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss 6.) However, as we have already determined that the Complaint adequately alleges that Heller and Iravani knew that Ciolli was not involved in the organization of T14 Talent or the offensive posts, we cannot assume that Heller and Iravani nevertheless told their lawyers a different story and that Rosen and Rosen & Associates relied on such statements in good faith. Because Rosen and Rosen & Associates bring a motion to dismiss, we must draw all reasonable inferences in Plaintiff’s favor. It is reasonable to infer that, if Heller and Iravani knew that there was no probable cause to bring suit against Ciolli, then their lawyers knew it too. Thus, we find that the allegations of the Complaint support the fact that Defendants Rosen and Rosen & Associates lacked probable cause to bring the Connecticut Litigation against Ciolli.
(Op. at 25-26)

Although the Court struck many of Ciolli’s allegations as violative of FRE 408, which excludes settlement discussions from being admissible, the Court still held that it could be inferred that joining Ciolli in the case without probable cause in order to obtain concessions from a non party.

“An improper purpose may be inferred where the action is filed without justification.” Broadwater, 725 A.2d at 284 (citing Gentzler v. Atlee, 660 A.2d 1378, 1382 n.6 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1995)). Moreover, whether an alleged purpose is improper is an issue for the jury to decide. Bannar v. Miller, 701 A.2d 242, 249 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1997). Defendants Rosen and Rosen & Associates have identified no cases where their conduct would be proper as a matter of law. In fact, the initiation of a suit to force an unrelated settlement has been recognized as an example of improper purpose. Shaffer v. Stewart, 473 A.2d 1017, 1021 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1984) (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 676 cmt. c). Generally, cases recognizing settlement as an improper purpose involve the filing of nuisance suits to either coerce the defendant into settling the baseless claim rather than deal with the expense of litigation or to coerce the defendant into settling unrelated claims. We think that the reasoning behind those cases extends to the present situation-here a case is filed without probable cause for the purpose of coercing the settlement of unrelated claims by a non-party. For these reasons, we find that the improper purpose identified by Plaintiff will support his claim for wrongful initiation of civil proceedings. (Op. at 27-28)

I’m looking forward to seeing how the jurisdictional discovery in this case develops — and find it heartening that the court did not dismiss the Dragonetti Act claim. If Ciolli can prove the contested elements of the claim, that the Connecticut litigation was brought against him for an improper purpose and without probable cause to do so, he deeply deserves vindication.


More Pwnage for Ciolli – Pennsylvania Case Continues

September 25, 2008

Anthony Ciolli, former defendant in the AutoAdmit case (and my former client) was dismissed from that action. Thereafter, he took the offensive, filing claims against Heide Iravani, Brittan Heller, the law firm of Keker Van Nest, Mark Lemley, Reputation Defender and Attorney David Rosen for including him in the action in the first place.

Defendants Keker & Van Nest LLP, Mark Lemley, David Rosen, Ross Chanin, and Reputation Defender sought a stay of the proceedings until the Connecticut action is resolved. The court was not persuaded that the stay should be granted… not in the least.

Order here.


Ciolli on Libertarian Paternalism

May 8, 2008

Anthony Ciolli discusses “Libertarian Paternalism” at First Movers.


Ciolli files motion to quash

May 1, 2008

The AutoAdmit case has taken an interesting twist. Mr. Ciolli has filed a pro se motion to quash a subpoena in the Western District of Virginia.

There has been no reply to it yet, although the plaintiffs have gotten a little extension of time in which to file their response.

It is a good read… especially for anyone who wants Ciolli’s side of the story on the whole AutoAdmit fiasco.


AutoAdmit Update – Feministe Comments, Anthony Ciolli throws down the gauntlet

March 3, 2008

The Feministe blog made a supportable yet caustic (look who’s talking) attack on AutoAdmit poster and pseudonymous defendant, AK47. One of AK47’s arguments against his identity being revealed in discovery was that he wasn’t talking about anyone in particular when he made his nasty comments on AutoAdmit.

Jill Filipovic has this to say:

I think my favorite part is when AK47 says that the suit is frivolous and will probably be dropped, “but only after John Doe 21 is identified and humiliated on the internet and elsewhere.” Aww, poor baby — I’m playing the world’s tiniest violin for you, I really am. I know the prospect of being identified and humiliated on the internet must be just terrible for you. So I’ll offer you a compromise: Once you’re outed and your name gets attached to the various times you called people niggers and said women (with extremely common first names!) should be raped, I’ll only use your first name when I post about what should happen to you. Of course, I’ll first make a habit of using your full name on my blog so that everyone knows who you are by the time I decide your last name isn’t really necessary anymore, and I’ll post pictures of you and say where you go to school, and I’ll paint a picture of you as a disgusting and horrible human being who deserves to have something bad happen to him, but when I finally suggest that you should be punched in the face for being such a jackass, I’ll be sure to only refer to you as John, not John Doe. Therefore, you will have absolutely no reason to feel humiliated or threatened. (source.)

I have to agree with Filipovic. When I criticized his motion, I didn’t go into a lot of detail. Nevertheless, this was his least persuasive argument. I can write all the hypotheticals I want about morons named George or philanderers named Bill — everyone knows who I am talking about.

Here is where it gets interesting:

Anthony Ciolli, a former defendant in that suit joins in the AK47 pile-on. Far from defending AK47’s speech — Ciolli attacks and condemns the pseudonymous defendant and calls for AK47 to be outed, but through private means.

Outing an anonymous speaker should be subject to a reasonable standard. The case law so far seems to be developing along just such a standard: Show that you have a real cause of action with some likelihood of success before unmasking someone, no matter how disgusting their speech may be.

Naturally, he is referring to the Doe v. Cahill standard, which has been supported in some form or another by all courts that have considered the anonymous speech issue.

Ciolli then notes that the very issue of anonymous speech was at the center of a tiff on the Feministe blog between pseudonymous blogger Zuzu and professor Ann Bartow. Link to tiff here. Apparently Bartow did not appreciate being the subject of Zuzu’s criticism so she threatened her with legal action.

After pointing out that the Plaintiffs in the AutoAdmit case might have a moral gripe, but not a valid legal claim, Ciolli offers a solution worthy of a young conservative: Let the market out AK47.

A smarter way to handle this would be through private action. A few weeks ago, a lawyer offered a $15,000 bounty for the identity of the author of the Patent Troll Tracker blog. I saw no legal basis for that unmasking, but if someone wanted to rat him out for $15K, I saw nothing wrong with that either. FYI – it worked.

Why doesn’t Feministe offer a reward for the identities of some of the worst posters? You seem to have lots of fans, most of whom agree that at least some of these trolls should be outed. Pass the hat, create a reward fund, and watch AK47’s friends turn on him. Then you can splash his name from one end of the internet to the other, and let society (and future employers) judge him for his speech.

That method would a) not create bad precedent that could cause unintended consequences, b) preserve the First Amendment, c) be a lot more fun.

Wouldn’t you rather see him betrayed by a friend than pried from his rock by a court? Even if you aren’t motivated by constitutional concerns, isn’t that method just so much more poetically satisfying? (source)

Putting his money where his mouth is, Ciolli offered to pony up the first $100.

Not only does that sound reasonable, but it seems that Feministe and Ciolli have found some common ground. That bodes well for this being a good-karma day.

Update: Sadly, Feministe has turned down Ciolli’s proposal.


Anthony Ciolli Dropped from Auto Admit Lawsuit

November 9, 2007

For the past few months, my law firm has been proud to represent Anthony Ciolli in the infamous Auto Admit lawsuit. As it was ongoing litigation, I have refrained from commenting upon it. I may report on it from the sidelines now – if anything legally interesting arises in the case. I am really only interested in the CDA Section 230 issues, so juicy tidbits and gossip will likely be better sought elsewhere.

For now, I will let Mr. Ciolli speak for himself. Here is Mr. Ciolli’s statement, issued this morning: Read the rest of this entry »


When “Support” is Really a “Tantrum”

May 3, 2009

Facts are sexist!!!

Ann Bartow posted a piece over at Feminist Law Professors that started out seeming to be a rather nice bit supporting Prof. Mark Lemley, one of the attorneys representing Brittan Heller and Heide Iravani in the AutoAdmit suit, — and a defendant in Anthony Ciolli’s countersuit — a case that the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has allowed to go forward — in part.

Bartow writes:

Mark Lemley got involved with this case, in my opinion, because he is a progressive, good-hearted, moral and generous person. (source)

I can’t be sure why Lemley got involved in that case. I directly asked him that question, and he didn’t answer me. Nevertheless, I believe that Prof. Bartow’s assessment of him is accurate. He does seem like a genuinely good-hearted, generous, and moral person, and I have never heard a single person say otherwise. His involvement in the case did puzzle me, which is why I asked him about it. While his silence was disappointing, I can understand that for liability reasons, it was better that he not reply.

I suspect that he got bamboozled into the case — that he wasn’t told the whole truth until he was already waist deep in the muck, and then it was too late to back out gracefully. Accordingly, I think it is kind of nice that Bartow supported Prof. Lemley. Hell, the man was one of my heroes before I saw the Auto Admit case with his name on it. I still reverently respect him and personally like him, and a part of me hopes that he can disprove the allegations against him. However, if the allegations do stick, like him or not, adults must answer for their actions.

Regardless of Lemley’s motivations, Prof. Bartow’s piece is not at all about supporting Lemley. Behind all of her compliments for him, this post is just Bartow’s latest anti-free-speech diatribe (see commentary on a previous one here), further demonstrating that second-wave feminists have turned the Auto Admit case into their cause-celebre. They just can’t wrap their heads around the fact that sometimes, occasionally, the poor female victim(s) can lie, be spiteful, be unethical, be misled, or just plain wrong. Or, if they can wrap their heads around it, they would rather set themselves on fire than admit it.

Bartow writes:

[I]t seems pretty obvious to me why Anthony Ciolli was named in the original law suit. ISP immunity under Section 230 does not apply to the authors of contested material. Ciolli was clearly posting comments at the AutoAdmit discussion board under at least one pseudonym, “Great Teacher Onizuka.” The plaintiffs had every reason to suspect that he was posting under others as well, and that he could have been personally responsible (and liable) for some of the actionable material. They could not rule him out without conducting discovery in the context of litigation, and they could not do a thorough investigation of the matter unless Ciolli was a named party. Once the plaintiffs knew either that Ciolli was not a bad actor or that they would be unable to prove that he was a bad actor, they dismissed him. Any competent lawyer would have done the same thing. This is Civil Procedure 101. (emphasis added)

Ciolli was “clearly” posting under a pseudonym. Was he? Was it clear? Was it about the girls? Was it negative? Then why include this?

Lets teach Prof. Bartow a little bit about Civil Procedure. Or, better yet, lets teach everyone else about it, because I can’t see Bartow getting off her shrill perch — but I’d rather not let people in the blawgosphere be misled.

Even if Ciolli were not a defendant, the plaintiffs would have had every right to subpoena and depose any person who may have possessed relevant information. In fact, after Ciolli was dropped from the case, Heller and Iravani’s lawyers did, indeed, take his deposition to make sure that they did not leave any stones unturned. Any competent law professor would know that this was not only possible, but proper. Any competent blogger would have at least read Ciolli’s complaint to find that fact. But, lets not let a pesky thing like the facts get in the way of a Dworkin wanna-be’s tirade.

If the reason Heller & Iravani sued Ciolli was because he “might have” posted under multiple personas, then why did they not name each and every moniker on Auto Admit? Everyone on Auto Admit could have had multiple monikers. In fact, law professor Brian Leiter is rumored to have posted on Auto Admit under the name “Tokyo Rose.” I posted on AutoAdmit under my real name. Why not name me? By Bartow’s post-hoc rationalization, Leiter and I both could have been one of the defendants until we were ruled out in discovery, no? Furthermore, if there was ever a suspicion that Ciolli used another moniker, then why wasn’t that allegation ever made, on information and belief, in the complaint?

I’ll tell you why not, because the Plaintiffs’ own published statements contradict Bartow’s made up “facts.” The “theory” that Mr. Ciolli was another pseudonymous poster never arose until Heller & Iravani’s lawyers started grasping for a way out of possible sanctions, and their cheerleaders started to see their lovely pre-packaged daydream unravel.

A competent attorney does not file suit against each and every person who could hypothetically be a defendant. (As in if the facts and the law were stretched like a goatse about to snap). If that were the case, then every lawsuit would name hundreds of defendants, including people who did nothing wrong, and let discovery sort out who was actually liable. Meanwhile hundreds of additional defendants would need to report that they were defendants in civil actions and live under the cloud of litigation while plaintiffs took their own sweet time figuring out if they had sued the right person. No, it doesn’t work that way and Professor Bartow should know that.

Bartow then throws out her own “theory.”

My theory on why Ciolli is suing Lemley and the plaintiffs? To scare away other potential plaintiffs, and to discourage other lawyers from representing them.

To scare other potential plaintiffs who might bring a lawsuit against him? I should hope so, since pages 23-29 of this decision make it pretty clear that Ciolli has brought a proper claim for wrongful initiation of civil proceedings against Iravani and her attorneys. Ethics and judgment are supposed to discourage lawyers from bringing baseless claims. It is a shame when someone must file suit in order to “scare” potential plaintiffs from abusing the courts and filing frivolous claims for an improper purpose.

The AutoAdmit case has been shown to be more of a shakedown, legal extortion, than a suit calculated to vindicate any real legal interests. While some might point out that over-inclusiveness and scattershot complaints are more common than I might like, the fact is that Bartow’s post is less about backing a nice guy – and more of a way of backpedaling and acting as an apologist for misuse of the legal system. Ethics matter, and the reason that so many lawyers miss that lesson is professors like this seem to disagree.

Ciolli had some pretty damning evidence to present in his case. Unfortunately for him, the E.D. Pa. ruled that it was excluded by FRE 408. Lets sit back and see if Ciolli’s lawyer in that case can find an alternate way of getting the information before the court. If he can, I’d imagine that Ciolli will prevail — which will probably give Bartow an excuse to blame it on the “patriarchy,” because in Bartow-world, the only women who are ever wrong or ill-motivated are those who disagree with her.


Competing Views on the Auto Admit Story: Define “Awesome”

February 17, 2009

Caps Lock:  Awesome?

Caps Lock: Awesome?

Portfolio Magazine recently did a remarkably in-depth piece on the Auto Admit story.

Never one to let facts get in the way of a good opportunity to make an unsupported swipe, Ann Bartow at Feminist Law Professors, probably one of the most intellectually dishonest “academics” to ever stain the title, crowed “Brittan Heller and Heide Iravani are awesome” and selectively quotes the parts of the Portfolio article that support her chosen perspective that these were “awesome” people.

Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice isn’t sure that Bartow understands the definition of “awesome.” He brings the other side of the debate forward: That Heller and Iravani were simply throwing a temper tantrum in the courts.

Now I may be a bit blind to something, not being as politically correct as some, or perhaps not being as myopic as others, but I fail to see how anyone, regardless of one’s blind devotion to feminist orthodoxy, can call two women who wrongfully and disgracefully destroyed the life of a young man solely because he was the only one they could find to hurt “awesome”. Is there some disease that infects the feminist law professor mystique that relishes harming an innocent 20 year old male, no matter what? (source)

I too find nothing “awesome” about bringing a lawsuit that, perhaps justified against some defendants, was clearly frivolous against others. These “awesome” individuals had to have known that their suit against Anthony Ciolli, “Beach Body Brady,” and Ryan Mariner (“A Horse Walks into a Bar Association”) had no foundation whatsoever – and the claims were questionable, at best, against others. Worse than that, how they conducted themselves post-suit was clearly worthy of disdain, not praise. Read this complaint and ask yourself if the defendants in this action were “awesome.”

While Heller and Iravani started out as the victims of malicious slurs on the discussion boards, they turned it around and went on the attack. The problem isn’t that they stood up for themselves, though many questioned their motives, calling them two elitist, self-centered brats who couldn’t bear not being in control of others. Some suggested that it was this demeanor that gave rise to their problems, bringing the ire and disdain of their classmates down on them like a hail of feces. After all, the attacks against these young women appeared to come from the same people they sat with daily. Maybe, just maybe, some of their classmates at Yale Law School didn’t think as well of them as they thought of themselves? (source)

Witch Hunting:  Not Awesome

Witch Hunting: Not Awesome

I agree that the initial online smears against Heller and Iravani were unfair, uncool, and uncalled for — even if they might have somehow invited them (and I have no reason to say that they did invite them). Nevertheless, I find it impossible to agree that they were “awesome,” for how they dealt with it. If you are a victim of unfair treatment, fighting back is commendable. Simply flinging harm at other undeserving parties is not awesome in the least – unless one uses “awesome” in the context of “awesomely poor judgment” or “awesomely foolish” or “awesomely unfair.”


Auto Admit Motion to Quash Granted

September 19, 2008
check district map *before* getting into a discovery battle.

Practice hint: check district map *before* getting into a discovery battle. When you're clearly wrong, withdraw the motion.

In the latest chapter in the AutoAdmit case follies, Anthony Ciolli filed a pro se motion to quash a subpoena filed in the Western District of Virginia.

The response is here. As they say, this is TTT.

Apparently the Court agreed. Motion to quash granted.


Another Amended Complaint in the Auto Admit Case

August 6, 2008

The Auto Admit plaintiffs have finally named a defendant. Other than that, not much of note in this latest installment in the AutoAdmit saga. The plaintiffs claim complete diversity of citizenship with respect to the new named defendant (formerly identified only as “:D”). However, they don’t make any such statement with respect to all the other defendants. Given the flimsy copyright claim in this complaint, I presume that the plaintiffs are trying to manufacture diversity jurisdiction. However, given the statements in the complaint, it seems like there couldn’t possibly be complete diversity with respect to all plaintiffs and defendants.

At paragraph 7, the plaintiffs seem to be invoking the Calder v. Jones standard for personal jurisdiction. Some courts still follow Calder in the internet context. I look forward to seeing how the D.Conn handles it.

At paragraphs 44 and 59, the plaintiffs include some nasty, offensive, and mean language posted by the newly-named defendant. However, I fail to see what is legally actionable in those statements.

What I find shocking is that this complaint still names some defendants who could clearly prevail in a motion for judgment on the pleadings. “A horse walks into a bar” – to name one. I’ll wear a New York Yankees T-Shirt for 24 hours if anyone can put forth a non-frivolous argument to support keeping him in this action.

In other words, the long-awaited amended complaint is a big yawn. The only really interesting thing about it is how sloppy it is. Of course, the sloppiness pales in comparison to this.

IDENTITY UPDATE

For anyone who is curious, I have personally spoken to the University of Texas adjunct who happens to bear the name of the newly-outed defendant (Matthew C. Ryan). He IS NOT the person in question (“:D”). I would appreciate it if any readers would keep that in mind, and educate anyone who might hold this mistaken belief. I can confirm with 100% certainty that the guy in the complaint is neither an attorney nor a law professor.

I find the press coverage on this case to be terribly irresponsible. Listing a name like this without doing some basic fact-checking to figure out if they have the right man seems to be foolish (from a legal standpoint) and shameful (from an ethical standpoint).

So far, it seems that the only people who have been made to suffer from the inception of this complaint are “collateral damage” parties.

Where is Richmond, again? D’OH!

Check TEH MAP before filing!

Check TEH MAP before filing!

Another Update – in the little discovery skirmish going on in this case in the Western District of Virginia, we have the following lulz.

This matter is before the court on the motions to quash third party subpoena to AOL, LLC of non-party movants Anthony Ciolli, Jane Roe and John Roe. After reviewing the record in this case, the court is now concerned regarding the validity of the subpoena at issue and its jurisdiction to enforce said subpoena. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45(a)(2)(C) requires that a subpoena for production or inspection must issue from the court for the district where the production or inspection is to be made. In this case, the subpoena in the underlying case of Doe I and Doe II v. Individuals whose true names are unknown, et al., Civil Action No. 07:CV00909, filed in the District of Connecticut, was issued from the Western District of Virginia but was directed to AOL, LLC at its office in Richmond, Virginia and requires production at the Ikon location which is also in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond is in the Eastern District of Virginia, however, not the Western District. Therefore, it appears that the subpoena at issue in this matter may be invalid on its face as it was issued from the wrong court.

Before issuing a ruling on the motions to quash, however, the court invites the plaintiffs to submit a supplemental memorandum of law addressing the validity of the subpoena directed to AOL, LLC. Any such supplemental memorandum must be submitted to the court within ten (l0) days from the date of this Order. The non-party movants will then have seven (7) days from the date any such supplemental memorandum is filed in which to file a response.

I look forward to seeing that memo. How many times can one firm fumble the ball in a single case?


And the Auto Admit Drumbeat Continues

May 30, 2008

The latest installment in Teh AutoAdmit Lulz hit PACER yesterday. That’s how crappy it is, I didn’t even bother to blog on it the day it was posted.

You will recall that Anthony Ciolli filed a pro se motion to quash a subpoena filed in the Western District of Virginia.

The response is here. As they say, this is TTT.


Oh Noes…Does Pwned

March 5, 2008
I can has liability?  Oh noes!!!

I can has liability? Oh noes!!!

  1. Anthony Ciolli of AutoAdmit Takes the Offensive
  2. Ciolli Sues Yale Law Students in AutoAdmit Scandal
  3. AutoAdmit defendant sues Yalies

UPDATE: On another post, someone asked the following question:

What do you think of the fact that your former client is now suing the attorney and plaintiffs who sued him? I note you did not sign that complaint. Just curious.

My answer to that seems relevant here:

I personally believe that Mr. Ciolli’s suit has merit. I am not licensed in PA, thus my understanding of the PA-specific claims is not exactly highly-educated. Nevertheless, from what I have read, his claims have a strong likelihood of success.

I never understood why Mr. Ciolli was a defendant in the initial action. I’m not sure that the plaintiffs did either. It always seemed to me that they were more interested in hurting Mr. Ciolli and/or holding him hostage in order to extract concessions from Mr. Cohen (the owner of AutoAdmit) than they were interested in vindicating any real legal interests. I personally would have turned in my law license before signing the complaint in Doe v. Ciolli.

As far as me not signing Ciolli’s complaint, yes, that’s true. I am not representing Mr. Ciolli in this matter. The fact that I am not participating in that matter should not imply that I don’t think that it has merit. The PA claims are beyond my expertise, and thus on that front I would lend little to the team.

I would, however, like to see Mr. Ciolli vindicated. What has happened to him was wrong, and I support him in his quest for justice. I just can’t be the man carrying the sword.

Here is the Complaint in Ciolli v. Iravani, Heller, et. al..


Is the age of Big Brother P.C. over?

December 1, 2007

I’m not talking about Microsoft, I’m talking about political correctness. Yes, now that the dark ages of Bush conservative censorship are on the wane, we once again see the left wing anti-speech goblins rising from the muck.

Read the rest of this entry »


What is wrong with Legal Education?

June 13, 2007

I wasn’t going to post this, but the recent Auto Admit “scandal” makes me want to. I might have some involvement in the case, so I won’t comment upon it.

I’m no expert on the subject of legal education, but Kennon M. Sheldon and Lawrence S. Krieger claim to be, and did some research to back it up. Their study is available here.

Here’s some of their best stuff.

We would expect, for example, that students are generally seeking quality teaching and that they attend law school to learn to practice law. However, law schools traditionally emphasize theoretical scholarship and the teaching of legal theory, and many hire and reward faculty primarily based on scholarly potential and production. Our findings suggest that schools will benefit from reevaluating faculty priorities regarding such issues and from considering carefully the effect of their teaching methods and practices on students. Changes toward employing faculty with more teaching and lawyering (including public service) experience, offering a balance of practical skills training, or providing more training and rewards for teaching excellence might also ultimately enhance students’ sense of autonomy and engagement.

Yes, that is the nice way to say it.

The blunt way to say it? Law school breeds unhappiness because so many law professors are jerks and don’t care about their students. And why not? Law school generally rewards only selfish behavior, non-collaboration, and whining. My law school experience was awful. Most of my professors were there to further their outside careers, frequently didn’t even show up to class, and were dismissive, belittling, and rude to us.

Read the rest of this entry »