• April 25, 2012

From time to time, Minnesota Litigator strays from its jurisdiction to nearby states and “Minnesota ties” are used as an excuse (like this recent example).

A Montana author “with Minnesota ties” represented by counsel from Dorsey & Whitney L.L.P., a law firm “with Minnesota ties” justifies a brief mention of the controversy pending in Montana courts spear-headed by well known Montana plaintiff’s lawyer Alexander “Zander” Blewett, III.  (To be precise, it appears that New York-based Dorsey partner, Jonathan Herman, represents the publisher Penguin U.S.A.)

Minnesota Litigator recommends the article by the AP journalist, Matt Volz, picked up by the Grand Forks Herald about the case.

In my view, the upshot of the article and the litigation is that it is one more example of over-reaching misuse of the legal system.

Volz quotes Wayne Giampietro, a Chicago attorney and general counsel of the First Amendment Lawyers Association First Amendment expert, called the lawsuit absurd, regardless of whether the books contain fabrications, and I agree.  Anyone who has lived life, had experiences, and shared them with others, knows that the line experience and story-telling is not a bright line.

One can feel anger and disappointment when an author has crossed the line.  It is over-kill, however, in my view to use to the legal system to force refunds or coupons for book-buyers unhappy with liberties taken by an author.  The award to meritorious plaintiffs would be nominal; the threat to protected self-expression would be great.

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