Monday, October 9, 2017

Lawyer James F. Henry, of Birmingham's Cabaniss firm, contends our Ashley Madison report is false and defamatory, but his claim springs a number of leaks

James F. Henry
An Alabama lawyer claims via e-mail that our post about his presence on the Ashley Madison list is false and defamatory. That's curious because his wife left a comment on our post, admitting his name was on the list and making light of the whole thing. It's also curious because the e-mail came from a lawyer who does not appear on the membership roll of the Alabama State Bar, suggesting he might have been practicing law without a license.

James F. Henry, from the Birmingham firm of Cabaniss Johnston Gardner Dumas and O'Neal, asks that our post -- about his name appearing on the list of paying customers at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site -- be removed. Our post on Henry is dated March 23, 2016, when he was with the Bradley Arant firm in Birmingham. Why did Henry just now conclude that a fairly old post is false and defamatory? An answer to that question eludes us.

We've had a number of peculiar encounters with Ashley Madison types and their lawyers, demanding this and threatening that. The most recent came from Andy Schroeder, CEO of South Central Steel in Harpersville, AL. So far, nothing has come of any of them, and that might prove to be the case with the James F. Henry missive. But Henry's claim could be the oddest of an odd lot.

The e-mail, on Henry's behalf, came from a lawyer named David M. Deutsch. When I searched for Deutsch's name at the Alabama State Bar, I came up with nothing -- and that made me go "Hmmm." A general Web search turned up a lawyer by that name at the Deutsch Law Firm, with offices in New York City and Boca Raton, Florida.

Here is Deutsch's introductory e-mail to us on James F. Henry's behalf:

To Whom It May Concern:

Please be advised that we represent James Henry. It has come to our attention that the following article was posted and available for public view on your blog:

There are a number of false statements made in the post listed above:

1. Mr. Henry was not a paying customer of Ashley Madison.

2. Posting a picture of Mr. Henry's house and speculating on its value in conjunction with your false statements is a violation of Mr. Henry's privacy.
3. Mr. Henry has been divorced from Kelly Henry since 2007. You falsely state that he was married.

4. Additionally, you falsely imply that Mr. Henry was neglecting his family and his clients. In addition, you falsely speculate about whether Mr. Henry has children and imply that he may be neglecting them.

The continued publication of this defamatory post is causing ongoing compensatory damages and emotional distress.

We respectfully request that the link be removed from the blog. Your prompt assistance to this matter would be greatly appreciated.

If I can provide you with any further information, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thank you in advance for your help.



I've had a fair amount of practice in dealing with stuff like this, so it didn't take me long to respond:

Mr. Deutsch:

You have cited nothing that is false or defamatory in the post, and it will not be removed.

1. Mr. Henry does appear on the list of Ashley Madison paying customers. That's what the post says, and it is true. His current wife admits in a comment on the post that it's true. You might want to check that out.

2. Posting a picture of a house, a picture that is available to anyone with an Internet connection, is an invasion of privacy? You must be joking. I guess you are going to sue the real estate firm that put the photo on the Web, or Google Earth, which puts millions of house photos on the Web?

3. You will notice that the post includes a comment from Linda Henry, who corrects the marital information and admits her husband's name is on the AM list. Mrs. Henry says he was married at the time of the post -- to her, not the other wife. Via that comment, I corrected the information about his wife's name. Overall, the post is accurate in regards to marital information.

4. This is as baseless and ridiculous as your other assertions.

A note: Anyone who files a groundless lawsuit against me will be met with counterclaims, bar complaints, and any other appropriate response. You have not, and cannot, point to anything inaccurate in the post -- and it will not be removed. You might have been wise to check with Mrs. Henry before dashing off this e-mail.



James F. Henry's wife, Linda Henry, left a comment on our post, admitting her husband's name is on the Ashley Madison list? Yep, I'm not imaginative enough to make this stuff up, folks. Perhaps this thought flashed briefly through Mr. Deutsch's cranium after reading my response: "Yikes, that pokes a slight hole in the defamation claim we were planning."

Actually, that's not the only problem Mr. Deutsch would have bringing a defamation claim on Mr. Henry's behalf. More on that -- and Mrs. Henry's comments, which apparently were news to Mr. Henry and his lawyer -- in an upcoming post.

(To be continued)

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