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Censorship Education The Courts Your Rights Online

Law School Amplifies Critics Through SLAPP Suit 123

An anonymous reader writes "Michigan's Thomas M. Cooley Law School recently filed a lawsuit that appears to be boomeranging in the worst possible way. A little-noticed pseudonymous blogger respectfully disagreed with Cooley's self-awarded number-2 ranking, nationwide (well, perhaps not so respectfully), and had a few other choice things to say. So, Cooley went ahead and hired some lawyers (who had graduated from Georgetown and the University of Michigan) to file a lawsuit to unmask the blogger. And EFF cooperating attorney John Hermann got involved. "
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Law School Amplifies Critics Through SLAPP Suit

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  • hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Monday August 08, 2011 @09:54PM (#37029012) Homepage
    As a little background, Cooley is ranked by US News and World Report as one of the worst law schools in the country; it's reputation among lawyers is pretty much the same, I believe. I've read the lawsuit and actually they probably have a decent case against 3 of the 4 defendants if the statements they made were true (very specific statements about them being under investigation, for example, are not protected as opinion). As for hurting their reputation, in my opinion their reputation is sufficiently bad that this lawsuit isn't really going to make it any worse. Kind of a funny side note, Cooley doesn't like that reputation so they created their own rankings system using supposedly "objective" standards where they ranked themselves #2, or ahead of every other law school in the country (including Yale, which is generally considered to be the best, noticeably outranking even Harvard). The standards they picked, of course, are ones that will rank them highly even though they don't really have anything to do with academic excellence (number of students, number of books in the library, number of seats in the library (seriously), total area of the law school).
  • by stillnotelf ( 1476907 ) on Monday August 08, 2011 @09:59PM (#37029040)
    Nobody's posted this yet so it's worth a link: [] . Basically, when your complaint about a tiny amount of publicity attracts a huge amount of publicity, you've made a mistake.
  • Re:SLAPP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Monday August 08, 2011 @10:16PM (#37029106)
    Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. It's an intimidation tactic, threatening to bury the target under an insurmountable mass of legal fees even before the suit can go ahead.

    Honestly, I think the term's fallen out of use because so goddamn many suits are the result of this tactic now.

  • Re:What? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @01:52AM (#37030056)

    No, Michigan refers to the state in which Thomas M. Cooley School of Law is in. The University of Michigan Law School at Ann Arbor is a T14 law school and is not named Thomas Cooley.

    They ain't the same thing at all.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM