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Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Wolk v. Volokh

Everyone's favorite passive-aggressive blogger is apparently embroiled in a legal battle with a lawyer not amused by his blogging style:

============from the motion by attorney Wolk============================

Wolk has filed several briefs in this Court which advise that certain internet websites associated with Overlawyered and Amici Curiae Eugene Volokh and Glenn Reynolds have published defamatory statements falsely and maliciously accusing Wolk of bestiality and pedophila.

More specifically, Eugene Volokh and Glenn Reynolds filed a motion in this Court seeking leave to appear as amicus curiae in support of Overlawyered, which was granted on January 14, 2011. Wolk opposed their motion for amici status asserting, inter alia, that these individuals are associated with other webwites against whom Wolk has filed lawsuits seeking equitable relief for publishing false accusations relating to bestiality and pedophilia. 

In apparent retaliation for Wolk’s opposition, Amicus blogger Volokh has taken portions of Wolk’s opposition that quoted the defamatory statements of bestiality and pedophilia (Doc. 03110390553 at pg. 14, 16) and published them on his own blogging website with the effect of inciting his blogging readership to further accuse Wolk of bestiality and pedophilia.  (Ex. A)....The Volokh Blog then led to the publication of a second blog (attached as Ex. B)(filed under seal), appearing on a separate website with a headline directly accusing Wolk of bestiality. (Ex. B.) This second blogger states that he obtained the quote for the headline from a source who requested “anonymity.” The blog links to the original Volokh Blog and claims to have “learned” about the situation from a “Professor Glenn Reynolds,” who is part of the same proposed amici group as Volokh. (Ex. B.)

Wolk has written to request that Volokh and the second blogger remove the defamatory material from their websites (Ex. C, D)(filed under seal), to which Volokh responded by threatening to sue Wolk. (Ex. E.). 

Wolk respectfully submits that time is of the utmost essence to prevent Volokh’s and other Amicus bloggers’ republication of libelous statements against Wolk from reaching the internet search engines which will thrust them to the forefront of cyberspace.   Wolk had previously been successful in persuading others to remove the blogs falsely accusing him of these heinous acts, but Reynolds and Volokh have rendered Wolk’s efforts meaningless by republishing only the portions of the brief which recite these false accusations, thereby letting them loose on the internet once again. By sealing the relevant portions of the briefing which cite to these defamatory statements, the Court can ensure that the Amici bloggers (and any other parties) will refrain from publically disseminating such horrific accusations. Likewise, an order sealing the relevant portions of Wolk’s briefing will compel Amicus blogger Volokh to remove his internet blog, which republished the defamatory accusations that will be placed under seal. 

===============end of excerpt from Wolk motion===================

[Note:  I wasn't able to indent the above excerpt, hence I've marked it off with lines.]

The final exhibit (at the link, above, scroll to the end), not under seal, from Professor Volokh's attorney states Professor Volokh's opposition to the motion clearly.  Mr. Wolk is about to discover, I suspect, why Section 230 of the CDA is the bane of cyber-space.  On the other hand, the morally decent thing to do would, of course, be to remove the comments on the earlier blog postings that make disgusting and defamatory allegations about Mr. Wolk.

http://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2011/01/wolk-v-volokh.html

Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

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