Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Maverick v. Goldshteyn Case Settled

The Maverick v. Goldshteyn case, in Brooklyn, has been settled:

Stipulation and Order of Settlement*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

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Scott Ferguson said...

If the cost defending yourself against a lawsuit exceeds the cost of a settlement, why would anyone pay a lawyer to defend them?

Let's suppose that Ms. Goldshteyn is innocent, but the cost of a successful defense (against an endlessly and needlessly prolonged discovery process) is $20,000. The RIAA offers to settle for $4,500. If you're an average working person, it's a no-brainer. Take the settlement.

But is this justice? The short answer is, no. Plaintiffs with deep pockets and thuggish lawyers will almost always prevail against a defendant with limited resources.

It has been supposed both here and elsewhere that the RIAA lawsuit machine will be shut down "eventually." But on the road to "eventually," a lot of injustice happens in of a lot of courts, leaving a lot of innocent people damaged.

The court system's institutional bias favoring those with deep pockets continues to erode America's confidence in the legal system, and in government generally. It is certainly why, in poll after poll, lawyers are held in such low esteem.

What can be done?

Anonymous said...

" Let's suppose that Ms. Goldshteyn is innocent, "

Well, US law says innocent until
proven guilty, so, supposing they
are innocent is easy, unless you
are an RIAA attorney.

" The RIAA offers to settle for $4,500. If you're an average working person, it's a no-brainer. Take the settlement. "

Sorry, not for me.
I am on a fixed income.
If they draw me in their 'lottery'
I would fight to the end, since
I have done nothing.
It's never a no-brainer to fight.
The RIAA lawyers NEED people to
think that there is no way to win.

" What can be done? "

The Foster case is the first step
in what can be done.

This case has shown that the
RIAA CAN be made to poney up when
they knowingly have no case, and
drag you through court anyway.

Scott Ferguson said...

But the thing is, if you can't convince a lawyer to take your case and put in a lot of work for nothing, then you're going to have to do it pro se. And you'll lose.

For every Foster, there are twenty others who, when faced with this Hobson's choice, chose not to defend themselves against the thugs with briefcases who work for the RIAA.

I'm sure the RIAA is crowing that justice is being done. Of course, they're wrong. They are only proving that monied plaintiffs can retain attorneys who are adept at gaming the courts into bullying average people; people who don't have the money to mount an effective defense against them.

How can the recording industry be proud of what it is doing? Don't these attorneys have children of their own? Can they look in the mirror and say they are advancing the cause of justice and their profession, and making America a better place to live?

It is to the American legal system's enduring shame that Time Warner, EMI, BMG, Sony, Vivendi, et al have been allowed to do this for so long by the courts. That these companies can find hollow men and women to do their bidding is not surprising -- you can find people to do any disgusting thing if you offer enough money -- but it's sad nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

I have a question: couldn't Ms. Goldshetyn have settled for $4,500 without a lawyer?

What good was it to hire a lawyer and pay all that money if she settled for the same amount later anyway? Didn't it just end up costing more?

Scott Ferguson said...

Well, yea, but the larger point is, what good are the courts if justice is only available to the highest bidder?

Revolutions were started on less than this.

raybeckerman said...

Dear dreddsnik,

Glad you caught that. I didn't want to be the one to have to point it out.