Roca Labs, Lacking A Hornet Nest Into Which It Could Stick Its Dick, Has Sued Marc Randazza

This crazy litigant goes to 11.

Roca Labs, you may recall, is the weight-loss-goo purveyor that is belligerent, litigious, and sensitive to criticism to a pathological degree. Last month I wrote about how they require their customers to sign no-criticism contracts, and had sued PissedConsumer.com for carrying negative reviews. Yesterday I lit the Popehat Signal to seek help for customers Roca Labs has targeted with vexatious litigation — including, in what no doubt is just a big coincidence, one of the witnesses against them in their first litigation.

Can Roca Labs push the envelope more? Yes they can.

Today Marc Randazza — counsel for PissedConsumer.com in Roca Labs' frivolous suit — filed an updated notice of related cases in the PissedConsumer case. That updated notice revealed that Roca Labs has now sued Randazza himself for his activities defending PissedConsumer.com.

The complaint itself — which I have uploaded here — brings the crazy and brings it good and hard. It was penned by Roca Labs' latest attorney, one Johnny G. DeGirolamo, a 2009 law school graduate and 2011 bar admittee, whose website is www.inlawwetrust.com. No, really. His site offers a flattering headshot of a smiling advocate, and it was a very good choice to use that picture rather than, say, his booking photo.

Roca Labs, through Johnny G., accuses Marc of interference with economic advantage and defamation per se1, demands a declaration that Randazza is wrong and he is libel, and moves for an injuction telling Marc to shut up. Yeah, good luck with that.

But that ain't all. The complaint is a model of prissy pearl-clutching. Johnny G. is aghast that Randazza has provided legal services to adult entertainment companies. Goodness gracious! Johnny G. is horrified that Randazza has been "an outspoken advocate for Phillip Greaves, the author of 'The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure.'" To be more accurate, Randazza has been an outspoken advocate for the First Amendment issues presented by Greaves' case, but it's not surprising that a First Amendment distinction is lost on the sort of attorney who wold represent Roca Labs. Johnny G. is cheesed off at Randazza's catchphrase murum aries attigit, which apparently suggests a level of aggression that is upsetting to a company that flails around suing its customers for criticizing it. In short, Johnny G. — bless his heart — does his best to make Marc Randazza sound terrible, and only wind up making him sound knowledgeable about free speech.

On to the substance of the claim, if I may use the term very generously. Roca — through Johnny G. — asserts that Marc has been defaming Roca Labs during this litigation by making statements to the press (or, as Johnny G. puts it, to "webzines") and then putting those same statements in court pleadings. They imply he's trying to cloak his statements to the media with litigation privilege by repeating them in court filings. This theory is . . . odd.

Moreover, Johnny G. and Roca Labs are conspicuously vague about exactly what statements are defamatory, and exactly how. Other than complaining that Randazza defamed Roca Labs through a very clearly satirical tweet on Halloween, there are few specifics. Roca Labs complains that Randazza's purpose is to "mock, ridicule, humiliate, harm, and continue his war against ROCA," but that's not very specific. Roca Labs complains about statements in articles by TechDirt and tries to attribute them to Randazza, but doesn't explain exactly what Randazza said and exactly how it was wrong. That lack of specificity is probably deliberate — if Roca Labs admitted they were mad over the term "snake oil," they'd have to confront the fact that the phrase is obviously protected opinion. See, e.g., Phantom Touring v. Affiliated Publ'ns, 953 F.2d 724, 728, 730–31 (1st Cir.1992) (holding that description of theatre production as “a rip-off, a fraud, a scandal, a snake-oil job” was no more than “rhetorical hyperbole”). Moreover, in some parts of the complaint Roca Labs is attacking statements that are clearly, objectively true based on Roca Labs' own court documents. For instance, Roca Labs angrily quotes a paragraph in which TechDirt accused them of trying to silence customers. Which is what they are doing.

Finally, the complaint attaches a motion for a temporary injunction, in which Johnny G. demands that Randazza cease and desist saying mean things about Roca Labs, retract prior mean things, and remove any online content about Roca Labs. At this point I have to admit that I don't know whether Roca Labs and Johnny G. are powerfully stupid, breathtakingly cynical, unapologetically unethical, or all three. Despite the fact that they are suing a renowned First Amendment lawyer, despite the fact that they are demanding an injunction silencing him, despite the fact that they have lost a similar injunction request in which Randazza schooled them on the First Amendment and prior restraint issues, and despite the fact that it is clear those issues will arise again, their motion makes no mention whatsoever of the overwhelming First Amendment and prior restraint issues presented by their demand.

Roca Labs is mistaking aggression for strategy. Randazza, by filing his notice of related case, has alerted the federal court hearing the PissedConsumer.com case that Roca Labs is flailing around suing opposing lawyers, which will not go over well. Roca Labs has hired what appears to be an improbably matriculated Muppet to champion their case, despite a patent lack of qualifications. Roca Labs thinks that suing Marc Randazza to shut him up is going to end well. They should have asked Raanan Katz or Crystal Cox how that would turn out.

I'm calling it: Roca Labs has achieved Prenda status.

Edited to add: Adam Steinbaugh explains why Roca Labs' attempt to evade the litigation privilege is so frivolous.

  1. Most people who use "defamation per se" use it wrong. That is the case here. "Defamation per se" does not mean "this is automatically defamatory." It means that certain statements, if proved false with the requisite mental state (malice or negligence), do not require extra proof of special damages.  

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. KronWeld says

    You beat me to it Ken! I saw the head line and said, wow, they've gone full on Prenda.

    I think I'm going to need to get a bunch of popcorn ready.

  2. Matthew Cline says

    Y'know, when I told Roca Labs that they should improve their hole-digging by throwing away their shovel and getting a backhoe, I wasn't expecting them to take me seriously.

  3. ketchup says

    I thought Prenda had set a standard that could never be matched. If Roca keeps going at this rate, we may have to rename the standard after them!

  4. KronWeld says

    I couldn't get past page nine in the complaint. By Zeus, he sounds like a whiny, little bitch.

    And how does "Some fucker put Roca Lab's shit in my my kids candy bag!" come even close to defamatory? You mean because he said it, someone might believe it is true? What, they want the kids to buy it themselves? Huh?

  5. C.J. Stryver says

    Anyone else want to bet seven dollars that Johnny G. Degrirolamo is @Leader1? And I think it's a safe assumption that Johnny@Leader1 will be asking the court to levy some bigtime SECTIONS.

    Highlights:

    1. "There would be no other reason for an Illinois accountant to publish on her blog an article
    about Roca Labs other than her relationship with RANDAZZA and to assist her friend with
    his war against ROCA."

    There is literally none other reasons to say shit on Twitter. Especially if you're a fucking accountant. From fucking Illinois. I mean, we all know what they do up there.

    2. "Fortunately, we are not the ancient Romans and do not live in fear of attacks from battering
    rams."

    The Romans were actually battery-ramming (solid new word) other Romans, which you may have found surprising. In any event, we are not the ancient Romans and johnny isn't scared of battering rams. Just don't say mean shit about him on the twatter or the facebiz or the tumbalars.

  6. Lawrence Statton says

    Let us assume, hypothetically, that I was considering buying Roca Patented Pink Colon-Blockage Goo, but upon reading counsel's complaint, I now choose not to. Could not Roca, under their own nebulous grasp of "The Law" sue their own attorney for interference with their future sales?

    Not that I would, of course. Play-doh works just as well.

  7. Daniel Neely says

    @Matthew Cline

    Looks to me like they're using a front mounted excavator to feed the hornets, not a backhoe.

  8. LibraryGryffon says

    The muppet would seem to have gone to the same law school as a certain pro-se litigant in Maryland, though he hasn't added a RICO conspiracy to the charges against Randazza and PissedConsumer. Yet.

  9. Fasolt says

    At this point I have to admit that I don't know whether Roca Labs and Johnny G. are powerfully stupid, breathtakingly cynical, unapologetically unethical, or all three.

    I'd say all three.

  10. Ryan says

    I did not actually know the courts would let you sue opposing counsel in ongoing litigation. Hunh. These guys are idiots.

  11. says

    "Defamation per se" does not mean "this is automatically defamatory." It means that certain statements, if proved false with the requisite mental state (malice or negligence), do not require extra proof of special damages.

    For Roca, defamation per se is just another method of losing weight (by cutting patient's head):

  12. Chris Upchurch says

    @Ryan:

    This is America, you can sue pretty much anyone.

    However, just because you can, doesn't necessarily mean you should.

  13. DB says

    From a little research, there isn't a strict prohibition against suing the opposing counsel personally. But it's considered unethical in any but a few narrowly defined situations, and there may be local rules backing that ethical consideration.

    Suing an opposing counsel early this early in a case is certainly out-of-bounds. Compounding that, the suit is filed in a different court. The assigned judge has case management responsibility. Filing the case in a different court is a transparent attempt to subvert that authority.

  14. King Squirrel says

    I'm calling it: Roca Labs has achieved Prenda status.

    I understand Charles Carreon is en route via Suburban Express bus now to present the oversized novelty bill.

  15. Fasolt says

    From the complaint:

    24. Based on the website’s name alone, Pissed Consumer invites inherently negative commentary to be disseminated on their website. In other words, a happy or satisfied consumer would not seek out Pissed Consumer to communicate a positive story to the world.

    OMG, Randazza is so screwed. Degirolamo is obviously on the north side of super-genius.

  16. Justin S. says

    I'm looking forward to one or both judges in these cases telling Johnny G. to GTFO of his/her court and not come back unless accompanied by a grown-up.

  17. George William Herbert says

    Shay, come on. Nobody's nearly at the "Multiple federal courts refer you to the local US Attorneys for perpetrating a fraud upon the courts" level here. This is just good clean fun, so far.

  18. Fasolt says

    30. RANDAZZA gained notoriety for providing legal services to the pornography and adult entertainment fields. He has represented a number of adult entertainment companies, including Kink.com, BangBus.com, and MilfHunter.com.

    I prefer Ken's description, First Amendment Badass.

    31. RANDAZZA has been an outspoken advocate for Phillip Greaves, the author of “The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure.” Mr, Greaves pled no contest to criminal charges in Florida because of his distribution of the book in Florida.

    I'm sure Roca meant to say outspoken legal advocate in that statement. I couldn't find any examples of Randazza advocating pedophilia. I did find lots of examples of him advocating free speech, even speech he loathes and/or disagrees with. Surely Roca is not implying Randazza advocates pedophilia.

    32. RANDAZZA adopted the use of the Latin term “murum aries attigit” to describe his approach to litigation. The foregoing phrase translates to “the ram has touched the wall,” and refers to the ancient Romans’(sic) strategy of not allowing mercy and slaughtering everyone in a city if they did not surrender before the Roman battering ram touched the city’s walls. RANDAZZA adopted this term for his approach to the legal profession,…

    That sounds a tad hypocritical, considering these provisions on the Terms & Conditions page on their website:

    (5) You agree that regardless of your outcome, you will not disparage RLN and/or any of our employees, products or services. This means that you will not speak, publish, cause to be published, print, tweet, review, blog or write negatively about RLN, or our products or employees in any way. You further agree that in an effort to prevent the publishing of libelous or slanderous content in any form, your acceptance of this sales contract prohibits you from taking any action that negatively impacts RLN, its reputation, products, services, management or employees.

    Should you violate this provision, as determined by RLN in its sole discretion, you will be provided with seventy-two (72) hours to retract the content in question. If the content remains, in whole or in part, you will immediately be billed $3,500.00 USD for legal fees and court costs until such complete costs are determined in litigation. Should these charges remain unpaid for 30 calendar days from the billing date, your unpaid invoice will be forwarded to our third party collection firm and will be reported to consumer credit reporting agencies until paid. In addition, if requested by RLN, you agree to provide RLN with a notarized affidavit that your disparaging remarks or review contained factually inaccurate material, was incorrect and breached this agreement.

    Any violation of this provision of the Agreement is deemed a material breach and you agree that The Company has no adequate remedy at law. You further consent to and agree to entry of an injunction by a Court of competent jurisdiction in enforcement of your violation of this term and condition.

    That's right. You have 72 hours, then the ram hits the wall.

  19. Fasolt says

    Ken, I just submitted the same post twice with slight differences. I thought the browser ate the first one so I tried again. I'm guessing now they're being held for moderation. Pick the one you like and delete the other one please. Thanks.

  20. Nicholas Weaver says

    Now lets start the timer: how long until Roca sues Kenneth P White for defamation and tortuous interference and who knows what by daring to cover the Roca Labs suite.

    After all, saying "Roca Labs, Lacking A Hornet Nest Into Which It Could Stick Its Dick," implise that "Roca Labs has either no dick or no hornets nest", which is a false statement of fact. Suing Randazza is a hornet's nest, so that statement implies that Roca Labs has no dick. Yet they clearly do have a dick, and they can prove it because said dick did file a lawsuit against Randazza….

  21. Andrew S. says

    After all, saying "Roca Labs, Lacking A Hornet Nest Into Which It Could Stick Its Dick," implise that "Roca Labs has either no dick or no hornets nest", which is a false statement of fact. Suing Randazza is a hornet's nest, so that statement implies that Roca Labs has no dick. Yet they clearly do have a dick, and they can prove it because said dick did file a lawsuit against Randazza….

    "Is that true?"

    Yes, it's true. This man (either the attorney or whoever runs Roca, take your pick) has no dick.

  22. Jack B. says

    Now lets start the timer: how long until Roca sues Kenneth P White for defamation and tortuous interference and who knows what by daring to cover the Roca Labs suite.

    It's only a matter of time before the Roca Labs people come across the phrase "snort my taint" at Popehat.

  23. MasterBlaster says

    I wonder what can be done to trigger Roca into adding a zillion more defendants into the defamation suit, including anyone that has ever read a single negative post about Roca. You know, go Full-Frontal Rakofsky. Roca Labs v. The Internet!

  24. BlaBlaGinger says

    "Full Prenda"

    It's too early to call yet. To be full prenda (TM) it is necessary to show that the entire line of business is predicated on fabricated complaints, phony litigation and outright fraud against the courts. These guys appear to make their money from fraud against their customers with litigation as a sideline. Not a single lawyer has been disbarred. This definitely falls short of the mark. 300 to 500 milliprendas max, at least so far.

  25. That Anonymous Coward says

    I so should have invested more in popcorn futures.

    I made a killing each time Pretenda when full Prenda, I could have so much more now.

  26. paigehi says

    My newfound interest (read as, reading when I maybe should be working) in this blog has hit new levels…this case was so nuts I had to go back and read the whole Prenda saga. With outside sources, because you NEVER take one person's word for it. That was sooo many hours ago. Conclusion? Ken White moves up in my "trustworthy sources of info and opinions worthy of thought" file, and the commenters on this blog get a cookie for "mostly agreeing to disagree like adult humans" behaviour. Except a few GamerGate nutters, and something tells me they are not homegrown… Oh, and the people at Roca haven't been sanctioned in any states (and, mercifully, noone has been sectioned!), but they sure aren't impressing me with the sagacity of their statements. Also…popcorn? Where?

  27. En Passant says

    Ken wrote:

    Roca Labs complains that Randazza's purpose is to "mock, ridicule, humiliate, harm, and continue his war against ROCA," but that's not very specific.

    It may not be very specific, but it's good enough to convince me to cheer for Marc.

  28. MasterBlaster says

    The Roca saga is still so early in its infancy it's not yet time for sanctions just yet; but it takes a really large brain tumor to conjure up a separate defamation suit against the defendant's lawyers in state court while the underlying case just got under way. Kudos to PissedConsumer for leaving the content up. I went to see Roca's reviews including the desperate anoncomments that don't even deign to disguise themselves as coming from Roca. Pathological übersensitivity is probably the most forgiving adjective to describe Roca's complaints. I can only imagine that the principals behind Roca must come from some ex-Soviet satellite state where this kind of litigation would make complete sense.

  29. Obvs. Ly. Fake says

    I'd say that they've certainly gone full Carreon, but have yet to reach Prenda's level. As Ginger said, they've gotten to a few hundred milliPrenda. Give it some time to cook yet.

  30. David says

    I think we've crossed the event horizon here – when the dust settles, there's going to be very little left of ROCA, I'm guessing.

  31. Fasolt says

    From DeGirolamo's webpage:

    Let me introduce myself: I am attorney John DeGirolamo.

    I am the lawyer you can trust. I believe that there is no issue too complicated for a jury or panel to understand. My firm uses preparation, hard work, and an aggressive style of practice to get the results you demand and deserve. True preparation is not a skill that can be learned; rather, it is an inherent quality possessed by few, but envied by many.

    If by aggressive style of practice he means,

    …brings the crazy and brings it good and hard.-quote from Ken above

    then yeah, he's got that one down.

    "True preparation is a skill that cannot be learned"? Really? So it's genetic? A favorable aligning of the planets when one of those few is born? Is he implying he is envied by many?

    Unfortunately his preparation doesn't appear to have let him grasp the giant bucket of fail this case is going to be for him.

  32. says

    I object to the comparison of Johnny G. DeGirolamo to a Muppet. Based upon a lifetime of watching programs such as "The Muppet Show" and related Muppet movies, I find such a comparison insulting to Muppets.

  33. Jackson says

    David, in a technical sense, if they've crossed the event horizon, we will never see the result, as the immense forces at work upon Roca will crush them, their dick, and the hornets nest together with such force that they are compressed into an infinitely dense (ignoring the fact that they already appear to be infinitely dense, in fairness) mass of dietary goo filled with hornets and dick .

  34. MikeMan says

    So does Randazza need to get an attorney for himself? Or is this one of those times where "an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client" doesn't apply?

  35. Matt says

    I'd say that they've certainly gone full Carreon, but have yet to reach Prenda's level. As Ginger said, they've gotten to a few hundred milliPrenda. Give it some time to cook yet.

    I was gonna say – I think they've gone full Carreon. Next up is full Rakofsky. Once you hit major sanctions, fraud referrals, and bar complaints, THEN we can talk full Prenda.

    David, in a technical sense, if they've crossed the event horizon, we will never see the result

    Alas, this feels like a good description for what I'm (not) hearing lately about Prenda :p

  36. sinij says

    I think Roca is onto something. Weight loss by lawsuit – we will sue you until you lose weight. I think in most cases it will be surprisingly effective.

  37. rmd says

    So does Randazza need to get an attorney for himself?

    I expect he will get an attorney — a really expensive one so that when he gets a judgment for fees and expenses, it will hurt as much as possible. Also, it would help prevent the case against him from becoming a distraction from his case against Roca, which may well be part of Roca's stategery in bringing it.

  38. I Was Anonymous says

    Just when I was going through Prenda withdrawal, too!!!

    First SCO, then Prenda and now this? Oh joy!

  39. tweell says

    My Reddenbacher hot-air popper is dead and I've transitioned to a Stir Crazy, but I'm not sure it can keep up with the quantities needed. Is it possible to OD on popcorn?

  40. Brigo says

    It's quite clear to me that the correct legal strategy for Roca Labs is to sue the judge. This will certainly result in the legal victory that they desire and deserve.

  41. Jon Reeves says

    I agree that this is a new threshold in the Carreon-Prenda scale — up to now, Roca's attorney's have been mostly colorless, but Johnny B. is approaching low-Prenda orders of … interesting, thanks to the mug shot and this complaint. Right now I'd peg him at Lutz/Hansmeier interesting, with Nazaire not far off. Long way to go to achieve Carreon or even Steele levels of crazy, though, but give it time. When he starts taking personal offense, we'll be getting there.

  42. Peter H. Salus says

    As an elderly professorial retiree, I think it worthwhile to note that "murum aries attigit" is from Caesar's De Bello Gallico, Book II, Chapter XXXII, and not merely "Roman" (p. 32 of the semi-literate Complaint). I would have been ashamed of students as lax as those employed by Roca Labs.

  43. James says

    Regrettably I must inform you all that this cannot reach the level of a "Full Prenda". The various Prenda cases are continuing and the litigants continue to dig their joint and several liability hole ever deeper, thus the US justice system has yet to define the limits of the Full Prenda.

    Since the term Full Prenda is reminiscent of the term "Full Monty" I cannot help but conjure up disturbing mental images of John Steele dancing around a sleazy strip club wearing nothing but a skimpy thong and a bow tie, I would appeal to the good nature of Popehat readers to find an alternate term. Your kind act will save me hundreds of dollars on antipsychotic medications which are not covered by my insurance.

  44. Noah Callaway says

    @rmd

    So does Randazza need to get an attorney for himself?

    I expect he will get an attorney

    Yea, but then they'll just sue that lawyer. And when that lawyer finds representation, they'll just sue that new lawyer. And so on.

    It's the perfect infinite lawsuit.

  45. says

    From Roca Labs Twitter feed on the 10th:

    "We reached 30,000 FaceBook Likes in ONE YEAR. #RocaLabs loves its customers. You like what we stand for for. Thanks."

    Would the term "clueless" be appropriate at this point?

  46. Guesting says

    All these entries regarding companies or individuals suing because someone hurt their feelings takes me back to the Oatmeal Saga.

  47. David says

    Well, if there is a a similarity between what one was able to read in news articles and the subsequent filings of Randazza, this is not necessarily coincidence: why shouldn't he avail himself of phrases that describe the acts of Roca in colorful ways?

    The amusing thing in the Roca filing is actually the handwaving requests for relief: basically they ask the court to stop Randazza from his harmful acts, the harmful acts mostly consisting in filing pleadings to the court. A court can order limitations on vexatious filings, but the bar for that is very, very high and is almost exclusively reached by pro se litigants. The whole filing is ridiculous in all of its grandstanding, whining, and lack for any actually sane demand for relief.

    There is really nothing useful for them they can expect a court to deliver as a response to that narrative. And that makes it a total trainwreck. It can only make things worse for them.

  48. SDoradus says

    At the end of this post Mr White observes that "They should have asked Raanan Katz or Crystal Cox how that would turn out."

    For Raanan Katz, at least, it turned out rather well, with the blogger silenced,

    There's no hint of that result in the linked Popehat post:

    – and many of the important links are dead, so I suspect Ken White isn't aware that Mr Katz succeeded in getting the judge to take down the whole offending blog, never mind the offending picture. At least that's what the blog site itself says:

    " RK Associates blog is removed per Judge Lisa Walsh Order

    "RK Associates blog and its contents removed per Miami Judge Lisa Walsh Order over Judge Walsh own fabricated "settlement agreement" in attempt to help rich Raanan Katz, RK Centers and Miami Heat owner, to suppress freedom of speech. "

    It also says "The blogger strongly disagrees with Judge Walsh decision and fights it in 3rd District Court of Appeal." I haven't heard the result as yet, but regardless, it's been over two years and Mr Katz hasn't had to worry about this particular irritant. I guess he must feel it was money well spent.

    So I'm guessing Mr Randazza doesn't win 'em all.

    Perhaps that's what Roca Labs are counting on. Could Ken look into this for us? It seems important.

  49. JTG says

    Roca Labs, through Johnny G., accuses Marc of interference with economic advantage and defamation per se1, demands a declaration that Randazza is wrong and he is libel, and moves for an injuction telling Marc to shut up. Yeah, good luck with that.

    I have to ask, is the use of the word 'libel' intentional in this case or not?

  50. Deniable Sources says

    @SDoradus,

    So a minute or so with Google took me to http://rk-centers.blogspot.com, which appears to have replaced the former source. Still unflattering, and still updating frequently.

    I haven't bothered to look up the various court judgments against Katz gleefully linked from that site – frankly, I don't really care. But if you're going to "concern troll" and suggest that Ken take up his valuable time doing research you could easily do yourself, don't expect people to take you all that seriously.

    Suffice it to say that Katz does not seem to have succeeded in his attempt to have his tormentors silenced or the strange-looking photograph removed from the Internet.

  51. SadPanda says

    The booking photo is hilarious. "You should see the other guy… 's fist."

    Also the description: "Hair: bro. Eyes: bro." Yep, nailed it.

  52. SDoradus says

    Dear Mr White,
    Thank you, especially for pointing out that Mr Randazza won on appeal. I wonder why the blogger moved?

    @Deniable Sources (if that's the right syntax)
    Thanks for the updated link.

    "… if you're going to "concern troll" and suggest that Ken take up his valuable time doing research you could easily do yourself, don't expect people to take you all that seriously."

    Did I deserve that? If I gave the wrong impression, I apologize.

  53. SDoradus says

    Slight update on my last post above: reading that appeal judgment which vacated the injunction, I found footnote 2, which declare:

    "The companies named as the appellees are referred to collectively here as RK
    Associates, though the group is now known as RK Centers."

    That explains why the blog moved: Mr Katz changed the name of his company group to "RK Centers".

    Were I the blogger (Chevaldine?) I would relinquish the domain name of the old blog or at least update it with a link to the new site, but hey, I'm not.

    On the other hand, it seems that it took from November 2012 to February 5, 2014 – more than a year – for the wheels of justice to grind. Mr Katz may well have felt the grace period was worth the retainer of his lawyers.

  54. SDoradus says

    Dear azteclady,

    I hear you.

    As it happens, I've been 'lurking' on the blog for some years, having been alerted to its existence by the (now-defunct) Groklaw. I have read it quite closely, but managed to miss the update Mr White kindly referred me to. I did not see reference to the issue in the comments.

  55. Arthur Kirkland says

    Hey Ken White, you were too nice to direct attention to this lawyer's claim that he worked for a "semi-national" law firm for a couple of years, and to his claim that working for that firm caused him to recognize that he "missed the criminal law," a phrase that in this case might take on special meaning, from the looks of that booking portrait.

    (Anyone able to guess why the biography of the semi-national firm's name partner is password-protected at his firm's website?)

    That paragraph you wrote, by the way, makes me wish you had worked with me as a journalist. A few more writers like you at the newspapers and I might never have attended law school.

  56. SDoradus says

    Dear Mr Kirkland,

    Yes. it appears Mr Degirolamo's booking photo dates from 1984, when he was 20. I'd thought that was when he would have been in law school. I don't live in the US and some lawyers in my country actually graduate when they are nineteen, before they reach the age of majority.

    However, the bio on his website asserts that he first obtained a degree in criminology, so it's likely he didn't begin law school till after being booked for petty theft and obstructing an officer.

    There's still the hurdle of admission to the bar, of course, which a prior conviction would not have helped. But I'd observe that Mr DeGirolamo's aliases included Digirolamo, and in 2002 at least one other Digirolamo was on the staff of the Division of Legal Services in the state of Florida's Department of Insurance. So it's conceivable he comes from a family including other lawyers.

    Regarding Butler & Hosch requiring a password to access the biography of its law staff; is that really unusual?

    As an aside, it is precisely the clarity of Mr White's prose which makes Popehat entertaining as well as instructive. The most recent paragraph to stick in memory was this, from about six posts ago concerning a harassed librarian, or three:

    "… teamharpy's supporters seem to proceed from the premise that an accusation of sexual harassment ought to be absolutely privileged from suit, and that, for the good of the community, individuals must endure accusations without legal remedy, even if they are not true…

    To the extent they believe this, #teamharpy and its supporters are logically, legally, and morally incoherent. "

  57. Trent says

    So Kenny G went and got his bar license in 2011. Anyone wanna bet on whether he gets his student loans paid off before he goes and files something that ends up getting him disbarred? He's made a heck of start in that direction with Marc.

  58. SDoradus says

    @wgering:
    Absolutely right, and I knew it at the time too. I blame some sort of finger spasm (so much more soothing to the ego than mind spasm).

  59. Sami says

    So, does calling Randazza an advocate for a pedophile [sic] make them liable to be sued for defamation themselves?

  60. David says

    @Sami,
    IANAL, but IIRC you need to show "actual harm" for a defamation suit. I doubt that such an accusation from someone who is about to get so horribly, horribly schooled will hurt Mr. Randazza's business one whit.

  61. VTLurker says

    DeGirolamo has this gem labeled "Did You Know" on his website:
    Your lawyer cannot disclose what you tell them – even if you confess to a crime. Attorney-client privilege is designed to ensure that you are candid with your lawyer. Under most circumstances, your lawyer cannot tell anyone – a judge, the police, a jury, or your family members – what you tell them in confidence.

    This is either extremely poorly written (inasmuch as the beginning and end of his statement are inconsistent) or he is completely unaware of Florida's Rule 4-1.6. The rule requires an attorney to disclose client communications in certain circumstances.

  62. jdh says

    @JTG

    It's a bit of a running joke, although I disremember what oddball lawsuit the line originally came from.

  63. JTG says

    @jdh,

    I think you are referring to http://www.popehat.com/2013/03/01/in-which-i-am-threatened-with-litigation-including-lengthy-dispositions/. It's precisely because of that on any other site, I would (perhaps charitably) assume that it was something like an unintentional misspelling of "liable" that happened to pass a spell checker. One of the things that makes this site so special and wonderful is that there are perfectly valid reasons why such a thing might be intentional (the running gag you mentioned) or unintentional (No offense to Ken, but I think he has a bit of an interesting spell checker sometimes. ;-P It keeps the language parser in my head on its toes every now and then).

  64. andrews says

    I have to wonder if John DeG actually paid attention in all his classes. Seems like he may be missing the boat on his tortious interference and defamation claims.

    Some atty is going to have fun tearing him up unless he can find a way to dismiss before Randazza finds out about the suit. (This may be difficult, since the copy of the suit I saw appeared to have been filed as an exhibit by Randazza.)

    Points for filing in Hillsborough rather than Broward, though. I have had cases in both and feel vaguely qualified to compare them.

  65. Bob says

    Calling this going "full Prenda" (cue the Pineapple Express reference) may be a bit premature. While I agree that they've gone bat-shit crazy with ill-advised litigation, they still don't have whole uncertain and undefined ownership issues. That was the most notable characteristic of the Prenda family of companies, its ownership by the mysterious "Salt Marsh" and its inability to produce people to show up in court.

  66. kruuth says

    Just dropped in to read the complaint. Wow. Did he read that for grammar? Kind of what I'd expect from a lawyer who's office address is a post office box at the local USPS branch.

  67. babaganusz says

    13. ROCA's products are a natural alternative to surgery and to the best of its knowledge, no one has required medical treatment or hospitalization from the proper use of ROCA’s products.

    umpteen reiterations of "natural alternative to surgery" but no assurance – indeed, contractually stipulated anti-assurance – that "the best of its knowledge" is enhanced by being at all receptive to anything with the whiff of ~negative press~…

    20. Indeed, ROCA has a unique Money Back Reward program, where ROCA pays individuals a monetary sum for sharing their weight loss success stories.

    Indeed, i'm already hooked on this "Indeed…" stylishness. That is indeed a unique money-back program, in that it (or at least deG's representation of it) places no emphasis whatsoever on what is in store for those with weight-loss-via-ROCA-product failure stories, shared or otherwise…

    22. Unfortunately, due to the unencumbered nature of the internet, anyone with a keyboard can voluntarily and intentionally detract from the thousands of positive stories with just one harmful article, interview, tweet, blog, or posting.

    Indeed, i find myself wishing that "waaaahmbulance chasing" were A Thing, because i'd be marty-mcflying one straight to inlawwetrustdotcom HQ right now… O, to dream of a Great Thought Leader willing to Encumber the Internet's Nature!

  68. babaganusz says

    moderately charitable interpretation 12B: ROCA & Those Who Would Champion Their Cause only take the webtertubes seriously as a tool of commerce and publicity; the notion that it spills into other fields and bounds seems to be either beneath their notice or the cream of their contempt.

    IANAL but, feeling the layfolk-accessible portions of Ken's headscratching as to the balance of stupidity, cynicism and/or ethical abandon, i'm banking with Fasolt's take.

  69. babaganusz says

    apologies for multiple consecutives. I am dying (literally.2.0) to know whether or not

    120[!]. … antagonistic of fact and/or law

    is a) really a term (of art?) that he didn't just coin, b) even close to being a leg ROCA's case could stand on.

  70. SDoradus says

    Dear Bob,
    It's true that Roca hasn't the same "uncertain and undefined ownership issues." Also their law firm doesn't have the same odor of responsibility-dodging. Degirolamo has not, besides, roped in multiple other lawyers (yet) in an attempt to mislead the courts (yet).

    But I think the reason Mr White called 'full Prenda' is the way the law firm, via its lawyer, charged into a fight it can't possibly win with opposing counsel thoroughly out of Degirolamo's league, then made it personal by suing opposing counsel for material in the pleadings. That is something of a no-no along the lines of Prenda, and will have a similar result, I suspect – something like a procedural ruling by the courts, based not on statute but the court's own inherent jurisdiction, designed to preserve the integrity of the court's procedures.

    There's a lot of abuse of Mr Degirolamo above, not all of which is instantly justifiable – grammer and usage aren't particularly out of line. At least, they're not even close to some other howlers I've seen.

    And I'm a bit to blame myself here because I discussed the affect of a conviction on his bar admission when all we have is a booking photograph of a low-level crime with no evidence of actual conviction.

  71. Reillax says

    did anyone else notice crystal cox is now "reverend of the bring back goddess church."

    I have been in need of some spiritual renewal…

  72. Fasolt says

    @babaganusz:

    Disregard my comment to you. I see what happened. The link embedded in your reply works. The link in Ken's post above is still broken.

  73. Craig Dial says

    For those of you seeking popcorn, keep in mind that your local BSA probably has scouts out in the area looking to move a little merchandise this time of year, assuming that you wish to support them. :-)

  74. DaveInTX says

    @Craig: As an Eagle Scout and former leader, I can tell you that the amount of the purchase price that makes it back to the Troop (or the individual Scout) from popcorn sales is not worth it for Trail's End "popcorn" (really, it's about the third-worst I've ever eaten). Buy better stuff at the supermarket for half the price and write a check directly to your local Troop if you're feeling generous.

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