Law Professor Sues Over ‘Above the Law’ Blog Posts–Jones v. Minkin

3 11 2009

By Eric Goldman

Jones v. Minkin, 1:09-cv-23256-MGC (S.D. Fla. complaint filed Oct. 27, 2009). The Above the Law blog post on the lawsuit with links to the posts in question.

Given its history of provocative and occasionally aggressive blog posts, it’s actually a little surprising that popular law blog Above the Law has not been sued before. A blogger’s life is inherently filled with peril. We bet our houses with every blog post, and eventually the law of large numbers starts working against us. The risks are even greater for bloggers covering legal topics. By definition, we routinely cover people who are prepared to mix it up in court. As a result, it’s almost inevitable that blawgers who keep at it long enough will get sued eventually.

The plaintiff in this case is University of Miami law professor D. Marvin Jones, who in 2007 was improperly detained by police for possibly racist reasons. This prompted a series of blog posts on Above the Law that included an unflattering cartoon and unfavorable characterizations. Jones now claims that the blog posts put him in a false light, invaded his privacy and constituted copyright infringement because the blog posts used the photo from his university profile page. Although the complaint uses the word “defamation” earlier in the pleading, no defamation claim was alleged. For these violations, Jones asks for tens of millions of dollars to right the alleged wrongs.

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