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

Monday, August 22, 2011

Question: Does Righthaven LLC Consist of 'Activities Other Than the Practice of Law'?

UPATE 08/22/11: In a filing submitted to a Colorado court yesterday (Unopposed Motion to Withdraw as Counsel), attorney Steven Ganim asked to withdraw as counsel for Righthaven LLC in the case against Leland Wolf, the subject of our August 8th post. Ganim stated that the reason for his withdraw was due to no longer being employed by Righthaven. Observers learned last week that Ganim filed for an address change, from an office address to a P.O. Box, foreshadowing yesterday's court filing. 

Back in May, we noted that according to a statement written by Righthaven attorney Shawn Mangano in an April 19, 2011 letter, "Mr. Ganim is admitted to practice in the State of Florida and he is awaiting his bar examination results from the State Bar of Nevada." (See: Affidavit of J. Malcolm Devoy in Support of Motion for Attorney’s Fees). In the subsequent posting of these examination results May 12, Unofficial February 2011 Nevada Bar Pass List, Ganim's name was not listed.

In the State of Nevada, in-house counsel, such as Ganim, seeking non-standard admission to practice law (an individual who is licensed to practice law in another state but has not taken or passed the Nevada Bar Exam) are allowed to practice under limited conditions set by Nevada Supreme Court Rule 49.10. One of the areas restricted from practice is with businesses who primarily engage in the practice of law, which is exactly what Righthaven LLC appears to largely participate in.
Limited Practice for Government or In-House Counsel:
Nevada Supreme Court Rule 49.10 provides for limited practice of an attorney who is admitted to practice law in any other jurisdiction, and who is employed exclusively for a single governmental entity or as in-house counsel for a single corporation (including its subsidiaries and affiliates), association, partnership, or other business entity situated in or qualified to do business in Nevada, whose lawful business consists of activities other than the practice of law or the provision of legal services.
Rule 49.10 further defines the limitations of activities in part seven:
7. Limitations of activities.
(a) Unless otherwise permitted by law, an attorney certified under this rule may not: (1) Appear as counsel of record for the employer in Nevada in any court, before any administrative or political agency, or in any arbitration, mediation, or alternative dispute resolution proceeding which is court ordered or annexed or authorized by law or administrative rule;
Given all of this together, it must be noted that in Righthaven's recent Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss in the case involving Leland Wolf filed July 29, Steven Ganim is listed as Attorneys for Plaintiff Righthaven LLC along with Shawn Mangano. That document was filed in a Colorado court where the laws may be different than Nevada. It still though raises questions of why Ganim's name is listed on that document as an attorney for Righthaven LLC.

To summarize: 1.) Ganim is licensed to practice law in Florida 2.) Ganim is living and practicing law in the role of in-house counsel in Nevada 3.) Ganim did not pass the Nevada Bar Exam in February. If he took the July exam, the results will not be known until October and 4.) IF Ganim is practicing under Rule 49.10, Judge Hunt made it very clear that Righthaven is nothing more, nor less, than a law firm masquerading as a company, thus Ganim could be facing some consequences.


  1. Facing some consequences indeed.

    Ganim should have taken my advice and talked to the U.S. Atty's office, and asked around if what he is doing is breaking the law.

  2. Speaking of Nevada Supreme Court Rule 49.10, Ganim would have to apply to the State Bar to practice law as well - the miniature Character and Fitness application that prospective licensed attys have to endure when applying for a license over there in NV. If this application were made, would the State Bar confirm or deny Ganim's Character and Fitness, and if the application were not previously made - but were made today - would the application be successful?

    I think not.


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