Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Could Make an Entire Semester Legal Ethics Class From Righthaven

Steven Green at Las Vegas Inc. is keeping up on Righthaven's latest shenanigans.  All the things that Steve Gibson, CEO of Righthaven has done, would fill an entire semester of a class on ethics for lawyers--and generally of the "don't do this" form.  I don't mean failing to file the right papers by February 22 for its 10th Circuit Court of Appeals case, but something a bit more serious.  Federal Judge Hunt fined Righthaven $5000 for misleading the court about the nature of the suits, but the fine was apparently never paid:
“A sanction payable only by Righthaven would not be an effective form of coercion,” Opsahl wrote in his court filing. “Righthaven already owes Mr. DiBiase over $120,000, but has refused to pay a single penny. Righthaven has already been sanctioned $5,000 by Judge Roger Hunt. As with this court’s other judgments and orders, Righthaven ignored Judge Hunt’s sanctions order.”
Opsahl wrote in his declaration that his review of the Righthaven bank statement shows it had more than enough money on Aug. 11 to pay the $5,000 sanction — but instead made a $4,475 payment to an entity called Stephens Investments Holdings.
This seems like a rather serious problem--a court ordered fine doesn't get paid, but a payment of similar size does.  And who is Stephens Investments Holdings?   There is a billionaire named Warren Stephens who owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal and half of Righthaven.  Might this be an attempt to hide assets in preparation for bankruptcy?

I confess that the slowness of the courts to punish Steve Gibson for his behavior utterly mystifies me.  What allows this guy to get away with these stunts as long as he does?

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3 comments:

macweave said...

Well it obvious from the post. A billionaire Newspaper publisher-owner feels that he does not have to obey the law.

Windy Wilson said...

Yep, I think the entire course could be done using Righthaven, except maybe the lesson on keeping client confidences, the one about not telling where the body was buried even though the family was grieving.

Tucanae Services said...

"I confess that the slowness of the courts to punish Steve Gibson for his behavior utterly mystifies me. What allows this guy to get away with these stunts as long as he does?"

Professional courtesy?