Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

CSLSA 2012 Scholarship Conference Submissions Deadline Extended

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Central States Law Schools Association - CSLSA - logoThe Central States Law Schools Association has announced an extended deadline to submit abstracts for the 2012 Scholarship Conference. Legal scholars now have until Friday, September 22, 2012 to submit an abstract of 500 words or less to Professor Melissa T. Lonegrass at The conference invites presentations on works in progress as well as finished articles.

This years conference will take place October 19-20 at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, in Cleveland, Ohio. This has been a great conference in the past, and I’m sure it will be again this year. (I will be there.)

Everybody Loses: Tarazi v. Geller Settles

Monday, October 10th, 2011
Headshots of Tarazi and Geller

Attorney Tarazi and blogger Geller (Photos: Tarazi, Geller)

Ohio attorney Omar Tarazi has settled his lawsuit against Atlas Shrugs blogger Pamela Geller. The defamation claim stemmed from Geller’s allegations that Tarazi had ties to terrorists.

Under the terms of the settlement, Geller must delete five posts. No money changes hands.

Both sides are claiming victory – Of course.

In an end to what she termed “litigation jihad,” Geller blogged about the settlement, ”Islamic supremacism has suffered a stunning and well-deserved defeat, and a good, stiff kick in the ass.”

Tarazi was more subdued, blogging, “Pamela Geller finally caved in and agreed to permanently take down all of her defamatory posts regarding me to settle the lawsuit.”

The row came out of the 2009 case of Rifqa Bary, an Ohio girl who ran away from her Muslim parents and converted to Christianity. Tarazi was the attorney for Rifqa Bary’s parents. Bary said that her father had threatened to kill her for apostasy. (Authorities were apparently unable to find any corroboration for Bary’s allegation.) Geller, according to a quote on her site, is the “heroine of the right wing blogosphere.” She is also the executive director of a group called Stop Islamization of America

So, who really won?

Well, for fans of our winner-take-all adversarial system of civil litigation, that’s the shame of settlements. You really can’t say who won. Every time there’s a settlement, both sides can say they’ve reached a favorable outcome. That’s true by definition.

But if you want my outsider opinion, I would say nobody won. In fact, I think they both lost.

Geller is taking down her posts. That means she’s been muzzled. That’s clearly a loss for someone who puts herself out there, according to quotes on her website, as “a paragon of courage and fearlessness” and “an irrepressible firebrand.”

Tarazi, on the other hand, is getting no money out of the suit. The litigation was undoubtedly expensive for him to pursue, and when you ask for $10 million as an opening demand and then walk away with nothing, that’s a defeat in my book.

My reading between the lines is that both sides got tired of pursuing this and agreed to call it off.

In our adversarial system of justice, if everyone gets tired of fighting, that’s not only a loss for both sides, it’s a defeat for the system.

Tarazi said about the settlement, “I am … look[ing] forward to moving on with my life.”

How sad is our litigation system when a lawyer plaintiff wants to move on with his life?


Update on Tarazi v. Geller

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Andrew Welsh-Huggins of the Associated Press updates the Atlas Shruggs defamation lawsuit: Blogger, lawyer cite free speech in Ohio lawsuit.

(Original BLB post: Ohio Lawyer Sues Atlas Shrugs Blogger.)

Ohio Lawyer Sues Atlas Shrugs Blogger

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Kathy Lynn Gray reports in the Columbus Dispatch that Ohio attorney Omar Tarazi has filed a defamation lawsuit against conservative “diva” blogger Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs (née Pamela G. Oshry) along with Florida lawyer John Stemberger.

The $10 million suit alleges that Tarazi was falsely accused of having ties to terrorist organizations.

Tarazi represented Mohamed and Aysha Bary, parents of teenager Rifqa Bary, a convert to Christianity who ran away from her Muslim parents and attempted to emancipate herself.

Geller responded, calling Tarazi a “whiner.”

The complaint is here.

Bengals Cheerleader Sues and Wins $11M Judgment Against Wrong Blog

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Sarah Jones (Photo, Cincinnati Bengals)

A federal court has entered an $11 million default judgment for defamation against a blog that was apparently sued by mistake, says Politico.

The blog at the root of the dispute is, a site dating back to 2007 which posts pictures of people and then holds them up to extreme ridicule.

As explains, allegedly posted pictures of Sarah Jones, a Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and Kentucky high school English teacher, and then made claims that she had sexually transmitted diseases, was having an affair with a player (a violation of Bengal cheerleader rules), and had sexual intercourse in her classroom.

This is the kind of off-the-charts fact pattern you can usually find only on a law school exam. It’s the belt-and-suspenders approach to trying to become a defamation defendant.

Assuming the allegations were false, then Jones had a granddaddy of a defamation case.

As a professor who teaches torts and media law, take it from me, this is not what you would call a gray area. As defamation claims go, this is hardy. You could drop it off in the Gobi desert with nothing more than a stick of chewing gum and it would gain 20 pounds of pure muscle and come flying back on a chartered jet sipping champagne.

And yet there was a problem.

It appears that Jones sued – leaving out the “y” in

News of the $11 million dollar judgment must have come as a surprise to, a fledgling gossip site that seems to have come online only last month.

Now, I have no reason to think that it is, but I tell you if this was typosquatting, it sure backfired. That would be like surreptitiously fishing for perch and landing a great white shark. The silver lining for, I guess, is that it’s drawing some traffic now.

Hmmm, could this be the makings of the world’s strangest theory of trademark infringement? Imagine: “We demand that you immediately cease and desist from conduct that is acquiring lawsuits that should rightfully belong to us … ”

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