With so many Censorious Asshats to follow this month (Brett Kimberlin, Joseph Rakofsky), the Ranaan Katz thing kind of slipped under my radar.
In short, Raanan Katz is a part owner of the Miami Heat. He sued Irina Chevaldina in state court due to stuff she posted on a blog called RK Associates USA. With that lawsuit moving slowly, Katz filed another lawsuit against her and Google, this time in federal for copyright infringement, due to an unflattering picture of Katz on the blog.
I don’t know what Katz alleges Chevldina did that is defamatory or whether or not the lawsuit has merit. I haven’t looked into it. I don’t really care all that much. All I know is that a rich guy who owns part of the Miami Heat is suing a blogger. Chevldina is represented by Marc Randazza. Randazza sums the suit up like this:
I am representing a SLAPP defendant. The case has gone viral, since the plaintiff is a part-owner of the Miami Heat. The short version is that the Defendant writes about a rich guy. Rich guy sues, and not too many people pick up the story. Rich guy tries to get an injunction against speech. We opposed the case vigorously, including this opposition to the motion for a preliminary injunction. Plaintiff’s side then filed a copyright infringement suit against my client and Google. (Freakin’ Google!) Rich guy happens to be part owner of the Miami Heat. On the day the Heat celebrated their World Championship, the whole world points at Plaintiff and starts laughing.
Katz’s lawyer has even threatened to sue people who report the story:
In the meantime, Levine has strong words for anyone who would consider writing about Katz’s lawsuit. “I’d ask you not to publish anything about this,” he says. “Even pointing people toward that blog could constitute further defamation.”
With two lawsuits against Chevldina, one against Google, and threat of suit directed at anyone who links to Chevldina’s blog, guess what? Katzs wants to sue MORE people!
Katz’s attorney, Alan Kluger of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L., is now threatening to sue Marc Randazza and his local counsel Robert Kain for defending Chevldina.
Sue everybody! PUNITIVE DAMAGES!
As you might imagine, this type of tactic isn’t permitted in litigation. Accordingly, Randazza has moved for a protective order.
This scorched earth tactic is a pretty dumb idea, in my opinion. An attorney in Philadelphia was disbarred for, among other things, filing frivolous lawsuits against opposing counsel.
But hey, when you’ve got a lot of money to spend, just sue everybody until they shut up!