6 August 2007
The Lawyer's Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week's blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@ thelawyer. com.
•That's a bit rich
If you get short of cash you can always sue someone. At least, that's the American dream.
US law blog Above the Law (www.abovethelaw.com) has picked up a claim made by convicted felon Jonathan Lee Riches against Michael Vick, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons NFL team.
Lee Riches is suing Vick for "63,000,000,000 billion dollars, backed by gold and silver, delivered via UPS". More than the entire wealth of the world.
The handwritten form, filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, is for "theft and abuse of my animals". Riches claims that Vick stole his two dogs, used them for dog-fighting tournaments and then sold them in a dog auction on eBay. Among other things.
The claim is ambitious to say the least, but Riches has an admirable never-say-die spirit.
This is not the first unusual case that Riches has tried to bring to court.
A poster on the Above the Law site said: "On March 9, Riches filed a prisoner civil rights suit in Philadelphia's US District Court complete with a 57-page defendant list crammed with luminaries both living (President Bush, Grace Jones) and dead (George Orwell, Malcolm X), as well as nonentities such as the Magna Carta, www.accuweather.com and Skittles candy."
The case was thrown out.
But if it had been heard, the defendant's box would have been packed out with Pope Benedict XVI, Tony Danza, the Wu-Tang Clan, Nordic Gods and, of course, "various Buddhist monks".
The accusation was: "Defendants are in a vast conspiracy to hijack my torso, 3 toes, and my constitutional rights and ship them to a secret headquarters in Concord New Hampshire."
•Get a (Second) Life
The legal market in virtual world Second Life is beginning to take off. A handful of US firms are following Field Fisher Waterhouse into the nonexistent computer land.
The legal technology section of Law.com has reported on a Washington DC IP firm called Greenberg & Lieberman, which pulls in an extra $20,000 (£9,865) of revenue through its Second Life office.
That might not sound like much, but the firm is up near the top legal earners in Second Life with a turnover of 3.42m Linden dollars.
Name partner Stevan Lieberman is the firm's man on the ground there. Or in the computer. He specialises in advising online clients on copyright and trademark disputes.
In Second Life Lieberman calls himself Navets Potato, which should set alarm bells ringing already. But there's more. According to the report, his avatar, or visual identity, in Second Life "went through several incarnations, including a floating head covered in flames. And a friend of his created an avatar that looks like a bowl of jelly."
A talking bowl of jelly and a floating flaming head is one way to make an impact at the negotiating table.
•Just plane crazy
To most in the UK, magic circle partners seem pretty bling. But their million-pound profit payouts pale in comparison to US class action attorney Willie Gary.
The man charges $11,000 (£5,430) an hour for class action litigation advice, according to The Wall Street Journal blog (http://blogs.wsj.com/law/).
His website (www.williegary. com) hints that he's not afraid to show it. The website features news and information about him. He has just purchased a Boeing 737 for personal and business use, naming it Wings of Justice II.
The website says: "The aircraft, which sports an interior renovation that cost more than $11m [£5.43m], includes an 18-carat gold sink, plush leather seats, carpet, a $1.2m [£592,000] sound system, and a full-service kitchen."
Anything that 'includes an 18-carat gold sink' just screams taste.
He is a founding partner of Florida firm Gary Williams Parenti Finney Lewis McManus Watson & Sperando. His business card is three-feet wide.