A federal judge’s comment that Las Vegas-based copyright enforcer Righthaven LLC likely engaged in deceitful and dishonest conduct has not gone unnoticed by the State Bar of Nevada.
The State Bar regulates attorneys. Since September or earlier, it has been looking into multiple grievances involving Righthaven and its CEO, Las Vegas attorney Steven Gibson.With good reason. Judge Hunt politely called Righthaven dishonest, which amazingly enough, is not looked upon positively by the legal profession. As Professor Eric Johnson points out:
I believe it is time for the State Bar of Nevada to begin an attorney misconduct investigation of Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson and, perhaps, other lawyers at the center of the Righthaven enterprise.
When I first read about the Righthaven lawsuits, I thought what Righthaven was doing was morally deplorable, but I assumed that Righthaven was on solid legal footing. I believed, as apparently did many judges, that Righthaven had become the legitimate owner of the copyrights upon which it was suing.
But since this turned out to be false--and the Righthaven "business model" (in the same sense that, "nice little shop ya got here...shame if something happened to it" is a business model) was built around this deception:
Based on the federal court’s findings, this looks to be egregious attorney misconduct.
The federal court appears to be on the verge of sanctioning Righthaven. But the State Bar of Nevada can go much further. The bar has the ability to subject Gibson and other lawyers at the center of the enterprise to professional discipline, including, if warranted, disbarment.
I very much regret suggesting a misconduct investigation against any attorney, but this situation appears to be one with many real-life victims, and the behavior at issue, based on Judge Hunt’s findings, is wholly incompatible with the ethical standards expected of lawyers.Steve Green points to this comment by another defendant who, being rather later in the process than I was, successfully held these cockroaches at bay:
As for you, Attorney Ganim, let me advise you: Run and don't walk to the U.S. Attorney's office and tell them you want full immunity as a cooperating witness against Righthaven LLC and Mangano. I don't think you realize how serious being part of a conspiracy to repeatably lie in federal court is.This is probably good advice. There is a plausible argument that to intentionally and repeatedly misrepresent your authority to sue in order to extract a settlement constitutes extortion under federal law. Righthaven's attorneys better start looking for a way to turn state's evidence against Steve Gibson and Stephens Media.