A “crack-down” on UK Chiropractors

Chiropractors are notoriously one of the most controversial members of the medical world, and recently UK chrios have been second guessing their participation in the field.

Last year, Dr. Simon Singh was sued by the British Chiropractic Association for publishing his doubts on what some chiropractors were claiming their care could cure.  His article in the Guardian explained  there was little (if any) evidence to support some of the claims used by the BCA concerning what chiropractors could treat.  The resulting law suit got very messy and,  because the UK laws greatly favor those who claim defamation, things are not going well for the BCA.  Much attention is now focused on the questionable treatments the BCA once boasted about.

Surprisingly, much of the “dirt” that has resulted from this case has been uncovered by a group of bloggers that dug deeper into the case than some UK journalists.  One blogger reports that every chiropractor associated with the BCA is being examined for false marketing claims.  The findings show that a staggering one in four chiropractors in Britain are now under investigation for allegedly making misleading claims in advertisements.

If the BCA is smart, they will rethink their marketing plan STAT, or the world of chiropractic “medicine” will change forever.

Don’t cry over bad reviews

We all know how bad it hurts when someone negatively comments on your work, but don’t they say “learn from your mistakes”, not “attempt to burry them in an enraged public display”?

Well, law professor Karin Calvo-Goller didn’t get the memo.

After writing a book entitled Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court: ICTY and ICTR Precedents; fellow law professor Thomas Weigend responds with a critical and somewhat negative review. Calvo-Goller’s reaction? Quite negative as well.

Rather than accepting that others views often differ from your own, she demanded that Weigend suppress the review for fear it would negatively impact her reputation.  When her request was declined, Calvo-Goller brought him to court on the grounds of criminal libel.

Whew, her feelings were really hurt.

What did Calvo-Goller do wrong in this situation?  Rather than covering up the fact she may or may not have written a credible ICC “Trial Proceedings” book, she illuminated the fact that she may or may not have written a credible ICC “Trial Proceedings” book.

Genius.

Pick on somebody your own size.

Bullies haven’t been cool since Biff Tannen graced our presence, and even he wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box.  North Face has proven they’re not quite the cool guys in school like many may have believed them to be.  When 18-year-old Jimmy Winkelmann created a parody brand, “South Butt,” North Face decided to file a lawsuit against the teenager rather than laughing along with the joke.

The story became viral most recently when South Butt released a Facebook app that allows you to use your judgment to see if you can “tell a butt from a face.”  The popularity of the app strengthens South Butt’s case that their brand is truly a mere parody and proves that the class clown can sometimes come out ahead of the school bully.

North Face’s decision to sue ultimately ruined their reputation.  Sorry Biff, your days are over.

D. Marvin Jones can’t let it go

d-marvin-jonesIt’s kind of a sad story.  University of Miami law professor Donald Marvin Jones was arrested in 2007 for soliciting a prostitute.  He denied the claims, and the charges were later dropped.  The law blog AboveTheLaw had written a series of posts about the story and included his faculty photo.  Jones has filed a lawsuit against the blog, claiming that the use of the faculty photo is a copyright violation.

As TechDirt points out, there are two big problems with this:

1 — He likely doesn’t hold the copyright on the photo.
2 — Even if he does, it’s very clearly a fair use claim.

In the end, it just draws more people to the story.  I had never heard about Mr. Jones or this situation before, but now he’s bringing it all back to the forefront.

Ralph Lauren doesn’t like that you don’t like their ad

ralph-laurenRalph Lauren has a new ad out with an impossibly skinny model in it.  As Boing-Boing put it, “Dude, her head’s bigger than her pelvis”.

The ad was highlighted on PhotoshopDisasters, as an example of (we really hope) bad Photoshopping.  However, Ralph Lauren filed a (bogus) DMCA takedown notice on the post, which has since been removed.

That’s the end of it, right?  Post removed, story gone.  Ha!  BoingBoing has now covered the story, as has the Huffington Post, TechDirt and others.  Ralph Lauren filed a DMCA complaint against BoingBoing, but their ISP (Canada’s Priority Colo) knows what they’re doing, and didn’t remove the post.  They spoke with BoingBoing about it, and decided (rightfully) that the post can stay.

Not only can we all see the insane ad, but we can see just how out of touch Ralph Lauren is.

Bank screws up; tries to sue Google so word doesn’t get out

Rocky Mountain BankA small bank in Wyoming made a double-oops last month.  They sent some sensitive information to the wrong Gmail address, but also included a document that shouldn’t have been sent at all.  They didn’t want their customers to learn of the breach, so they’ve sued Google.  Huh?

A customer of the Rocky Mountain Bank asked to have some loan documents sent to one of their representatives.  The bank sent the documents to someone with a similar e-mail address, and also included an attachment that held informtion on 1,325 other customers — names, tax ids, social security numbers, etc.  Amusingly, the bank employee then “tried to recall the e-mail without success”.  Yeah, I don’t think so.  You can read details about the breach here (PDF).

So far, Google is holding strong.  They say they won’t comply with a court order, even after which their policy is to notify an account holder and give the person a chance to object to the disclosure of their identity.

This is really so simply it’s stupid — if you want to keep a low profile, don’t sue Google.

How to look bad: File a bad lawsuit, lose, then appeal anyhow

Sedgwick-Claims-Management-Services-logoSedgwick Claims Management looked bad, then worse, now awful.  A guy was upset with the company so he took some pictures of Sedgwick and put them on fake “wanted” posters.  Sedgwick responded by hiring a big national law firm (Lord Locke) to go after the guy, who chose to defend himself.  Sedgwick lost the case, because the judge ruled it was (rightfully) fair use.

Not content with looking foolish in court once, Sedgwick is going back for more.  They’ve appealed the ruling and, as Eric Goldman states, they have “extra time to bask in the glow of the Streisand Effect”.

Did you know that Liskula Cohen is a skank?

Liskula CohenNot only didn’t I know she might be considered a “skank”, I had never even heard of her.  However, because of a short-sighted lawsuit to uncover the identity of a blogger that called her that, a lot more people now know.

This is another case where letting it slide would have been the best thing to do.  Why?  The blog in question had a total of four posts on it.

The big problem is the potential legal ramifications of this lawsuit.  The judge has ruled that calling Cohen a “skank” is potentially defamatory and not just an opinion or everyday insult.  To quote CitMediaLaw:

But Madden found that use of the terms “skank,” “skanky,” “ho” and “whoring” defamed Cohen because they appeared in captions near photos of the model in provocative poses. “Under these circumstances,” Madden wrote, the words combined with the suggestive photos “carry a negative implication of sexual promiscuity.”

Madden also rejected the blogger’s contention that the words were vague insults. “In the context of this specific blog, such words cannot be reasonably viewed as comparable in meaning and usage to the word ‘jerk’ or any other loose and vague insult,” Madden held.

It’ll be interesting to see where this case goes.

A moldy apartment, a tweet, and $50,000

amanda-bonnenThis one is a perfect example of the Streisand Effect — a company that has a small problem, they try to hide it, and it explodes!

A woman in Chicago, Amanda Bonnen, was having some problems with her apartment so she sent the following Tweet:

“Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.”

Horizon Realty responded not by looking into the situation, but by suing the woman for more than $50,000.  This is apparently in line with their standard procedures, as TechDirt discovered in the Chicago Sun-Times.  According to Jeffrey Michael, they’re a “sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization”, in an effort to preserve their good reputation.  Really?  You preserve your good reputation by ignoring tenant complaints and suing them?

We haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.  Ms. Bonnen has a grand total of 20 Twitter followers.  Twenty. 2-0.  That’s it.  It’s not like her complaint was being heard by very many people.  Most people don’t read every tweet in their stream anyhow, so maybe 10 or 12 saw it?  Now how many people know about it?  To start with, we have the readers of TechDirt, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Inquisitr, Digg, the Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press and many, many others.

Now Horizon is backpedaling as fast as they can, but they still plan to sue:

“We look forward to presenting our side of this matter before the court and putting the unfounded accusations of a single, former tenant behind us…”

An accusation that virtually no one would have seen if they hadn’ t been so lawsuit-happy.  Oops.