Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bloggers As Targets

Thanks to the folks at Left in Alabama for shining a light on the legal challenges bloggers can face, including my situation here at Legal Schnauzer.

Left in Alabama reports on a challenge facing Kathleen Seidel at the Neurodiversity Weblog. Seidel has received a subpoena instructing her to appear for a deposition and produce documents related to a personal-injury lawsuit.

Seidel is not a party to the lawsuit, and you can read her motion to quash the subpoena at her blog. She is claiming that the subpoena is unconstitutional, and I think she makes a strong argument.

Looks like Seidel, like yours truly, is having to represent herself. Based on her motion to quash, I'd say she's doing a pretty darn good job.

A few differences come to mind about the Neurodiversity case and the Legal Schnauzer case.

* Seidel is not a party to a lawsuit, but she is being ordered to testify under oath and provide documentation. I was sued, and therefore was a party, and the suit came after I was the victim of a crime. When the perpetrator was acquitted in criminal court, he sued me for malicious prosecution.

* Seidel became involved in a legal entanglement as a result of her blog. I started a blog as a result of my legal entanglement.

* Seidel has justifiable concerns about the subpoena she received. Based on my experiences in civil litigation, I understand that statements made in a deposition, or documents that are produced, can be used to add the deponent as a party. Hope that doesn't happen here, and based on a quick reading of the material, I don't see any reason to think that will happen. It seems that one of the parties is stretching by asking her to testify. If she is quite removed from the issues in the case, and that appears to be the situation, she shouldn't have much to worry about. But depositions can be used as a tool to expand litigation, dragging other parties into the fray.

* Thankfully, I don't see any signs that the justice system itself is acting improperly in Seidel's case. And I'm not a judge, but I think she has a fairly strong case for having the subpoena quashed. In my case, the justice system itself is corrupt--and has been from the outset of the case. Unlawful rulings by judges caused a lawsuit that had to be dismissed in six to eight months time to drag on for about five years, costing me and Alabama taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Now the justice system is taking unlawful steps to seize my property in a pretty clear attempt to get me to stop blogging about the judicial corruption I've witnessed. Judges don't like it when you air their dirty laundry for everyone to see. And lawyers, who profit from the system the way it is, also want to keep the sleazy side of their profession under wraps.

* Again thankfully, I don't think anyone is trying to get Seidel to quit blogging. I haven't studied her case extensively, so perhaps I'm missing something. But I'm hopeful this is just an irritation and not an attack on her rights to publish. It appears the plaintiff is the one seeking her testimony in the lawsuit. That makes me think perhaps the plaintiff filed a weak case and is pulling out all kinds of stops in an effort to keep things afloat.

* Neurodiversity looks like an interesting blog, with a devoted, well-informed readership. I look forward to following the site, and I wish Seidel well in keeping the legal system out of her hair.

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