osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

As always, blame the poor paralegal . . .

Found this via Slashdot and elsewhere. The RIAA sued a homeless guy for purportedly downloading copyrighted files. To me though, that's not the outrageous part. That's just idiocy by the RIAA.

My professional ire is aroused by the false certification of service made by the Time Warner lawyers. This prompted the federal magistrate that heard the case to issue a rare Rule 11(b) sanction for abuse of process, in that the lawyers certified that they had made service when they in fact had not. The district court judge reversed, accepting that the lawyers were not sufficiently informed by the process serving company that the the process servers had used "nail and mail" rather than in hand service, and that the firm's paralegal failed to communicate to the lawyers that this is what the process servers had done.

OTOH, I am sympathetic to my busy colleagues, and understand they have to rely on professional service companies. I also agree with the district court judge that the error was probably negligent, not a deliberate misrepresentation. Nevertheless, there is an issue of professional pride and responsibility here. There is a reason a lawyer is ultimately responsible for the acts of paralegal, just as a pharmacist supervises a pharmacy technician. I think a slap on the wrist was definitely in order here.

But perhaps I am just being grumpy.

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