Righthaven LLC -- a bottom feeding legal outfit -- has teamed up with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Denver Post to sue mom and pop websites, advocacy and public interest groups and forum board operators for copyright infringement. The strategy of Righthaven is to sue thousands of these website owners, who are primarily unfunded and will be forced to settle out of court.
Righthaven lawsuitsTo date Righthaven has been ordered to pay $323,138 in legal fees and sanctions.Righthaven lawsuits

Friday, July 8, 2011

Righthaven Runs Afoul The Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct

It appears that Righthaven could be violating many of the provisions contained in the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct. Many have already been raised by lawyers representing Righthaven victims, particularly the "unauthorized practice of law", but there are many other rules that Righthaven may also be brought to account.
Rule 5.4. Professional Independence of a Lawyer.

(a) A lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a nonlawyer, except that:

(1) An agreement by a lawyer with the lawyer’s firm, partner, or associate may provide for the payment of money, over a reasonable period of time after the lawyer’s death, to the lawyer’s estate or to one or more specified persons;

(b) A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a nonlawyer if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.

(c) A lawyer shall not permit a person who recommends, employs, or pays the lawyer to render legal services for another to direct or regulate the lawyer’s professional judgment in rendering such legal services.

(d) A lawyer shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation or association authorized to practice law for a profit, if:

(1) A nonlawyer owns any interest therein, except that a fiduciary representative of the estate of a lawyer may hold the stock or interest of the lawyer for a reasonable time during administration;

(2) A nonlawyer is a corporate director or officer thereof or occupies the position of similar responsibility in any form of association other than a corporation; or

(3) A nonlawyer has the right to direct or control the professional judgment of a lawyer.
Under the Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) agreement between Righthaven and Stephens Media appears to be violating section (a) by sharing 50% of proceeds with Stephens Media as well as giving Stephens Media veto power over who is sued which would violated section (c) and (d).

In Righthaven's lastest court filing regarding possible sanctions they accuse subbordinate "former inhouse counsel" as being responsible for failing to disclose Stephens Media as an interested party but according to the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct it is managment that is responsible when failings occur.
Rule 5.1. Responsibilities of Partners, Managers, and Supervisory Lawyers.

(a) A partner in a law firm, and a lawyer who individually or together with other lawyers possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm, shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that all lawyers in the firm conform to the Rules of Professional Conduct.

(b) A lawyer having direct supervisory authority over another lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the other lawyer conforms to the Rules of Professional Conduct.

(c) A lawyer shall be responsible for another lawyer’s violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct if:

(1) The lawyer orders or, with knowledge of the specific conduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or

(2) The lawyer is a partner or has comparable managerial authority in the law firm in which the other lawyer practices, or has direct supervisory authority over the other lawyer, and knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action.
Since Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson claims to employ "The top lawyers in the nation", you would think they would have spotted many of these problems early or could it be they never considered the SAA would become public nor did they imagine the resistance they would receive from victims?

See: Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct
See: Related VEGAS INC Article

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