Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lawyer Sues Ex For Online Posting Claiming He Cheated

Remember that old joke about the fictional law firm by the name of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe?

Well, a prominent Connecticut lawyer is suing two jilted ex-girlfriends for posting negative feedback (is there any other kind?) about his alleged cheating on website that bills itself as "simply a source of support and discussion regarding the topic of infidelity and betrayal of trust."

The attorney's civil lawsuit alleges tortuous interference with prospective business relations.

Regardless of who did what to whom in terms of unfaithfulness, perhaps the most sordid aspect of this dispute is that the women are being representative by publicity seeking ambulance chaser Gloria Allred, who seemingly specializes in press conferences rather than actual appearances in court.

The People's Court: Justice or Just Us?

                                                   photo credit: pvera via photopin cc

$5 million/year for what amounts to a part-time job?

Not bad at all.

That's what former Miami judge Marilyn Milian makes a year for presiding over TV's long-running The People's Court, according to today's New York Post, which claims the show has racheted up the controversy ("harsher and more sexualized in recent years") since the Judge Wapner era.

The Post article delves into how a recent plaintiff has gone to real court to stop an episode from being aired after she was allegedly humilated by the judge. Claudia Evart says that "It was a nightmare, and I wish I never did it." The article also discusses missing person Michele Parker who disappeared shortly after her contentious appearance in the TV courtroom.

According to the article, the show pays the entire judgment for the loser in cases that originate in real small claims courts around the country as well as a nominal appearance fee to both litigants. This may be a change; some years back we saw a standard contract for the show that set forth a sliding scale of reimbursement based on the judgment amount. Since no money is apparently changing hands between the parties, it's interesting that the litigants still get very fired up when they plead their case on TV.

The long-running show is one of our guilty pleasures. The authors of the Post article aren't particularly enamored, however:
Milian, 50, is the fourth judge in the show’s history, and her immense popularity must be part of some visceral need Americans currently have to be hectored and lectured by well-coiffed middle-aged women (see: Nancy Grace, Judge Judy).
Milian, however, is a far more feminine, flirtatious presence. Although she also exhibits the Grace/Judge Judy brand of explosive, unpredictable female rage, her docket is far more sexed up, it’s cases like mini reality shows.
Our main issue with the show is that the judge sometimes doesn't allow the parties to get a word in edgewise (was that a timer next to her on the bench?). This may also be a function of having the litigants thoroughly pre-interviewed by producers. Yet, as we have written previously...
Okay, so she also showboats, grandstands, and yells at the litigants, and she sometimes even prevents the parties from introducing all of their evidence. Yet, the show is unusually informative for the viewer in that Judge Milian takes the time to explain how the principles of law apply to each case (as does the TMZ guy who does the wrap-around commentary in Times Square).
Another fun aspect of the show is when a plaintiff or defendant claims to have a key piece of evidence that will blow the case wide open, "but I don't have it with me."

Update: A court apparently turned down Evart's motion to prevent the episode from being broadcast. "Judge Lucy Billings of the New York State Supreme Court agreed with [People's Court lawyers] arguments, which were rooted in First Amendment law and also based on agreements that Evart had signed in connection with her appearance on the program." The segment aired on Friday, February 17, and we will post it as soon as it becomes available online.