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« Moyers Exchange | Main | Dr. E. Calvin Beisner Responds »

October 23, 2006

Comments

Brian Day

It looks like you survived the "Instalanche". Many a server has crashed when linked by Professor Reynolds.

Welcome back.

jt82

IMHO, the one thing one can say about Jimmy is that he always seems to present things fairly.

Mike Petrik

Well, as a lawyer I have to say that both letters are very artfully crafted and deserve to be read with care. The word selection is very thoughtful in both cases, and the letters should be appreciated not only for what they said but also for what they carefully declined to say.

Also, I would be very surprised if this matter isn't over for Jimmy. His lawyers essentially agreed to Moyers' "demands" out of simple fairness. Moreover, Moyers has no case against Jimmy, and his lawyers know it. Their only option would be to use litigation as a weapon for its own sake, and I don't see why they should have any appetite to do that. The lawyers sent the letter they did because it probably never occured to them that a blogger like Jimmy would have "printed" the requested responses upon simple request; indeed, likely would have done so even if not requested -- simply out of fairness. These lawyers are from NY after all, and everyday fairness and civility isn't something they are necessarily acquainted with. They are probably still trying to parse the response letter for hidden threats and strategies, at $600 per hour.

Jimmy has excellent counsel, and he is wise (as we already know) for listening to them.

Tim J.

A lawsuit? I think it is nice of you to give your readers something scary for Halloween!

You think of everything.

Jordan

Jimmy, great job on the coverage of this story. I have received and posted Beisner's response to Moyers here.

Mary Kay

Jimmy, glad you're back.

Barbara

Mr. Moyers is (or has been) an ordained Baptist minister

John Smyth must be rolling over in his grave.

Marty Helgesen

You should thank Bill Moyers and his lawyers for being responsible for thousands of people visiting your blog for the first time. Some of them probably looked at other postings, from which they would have learned things of value, and may be back as regular readers.

ben

Will the Interfaith newsletters referenced in this post and the original post be available online at some point?

Jonathan Prejean

"These lawyers are from NY after all, and everyday fairness and civility isn't something they are necessarily acquainted with."

Was that really necessary? I have several good friends practicing in New York, none of whom have any difficulty with everyday fairness and civility. I have encountered many attorneys in both Texas and California, places I myself have practiced, who lacked familiarity with either.

I would guess that the attorneys in this case were probably just being overcautious simply because a defamatory statement may be impossible to contain or reverse once it gets out, leaving no effective remedy for the tarnished reputation. In those cases, it becomes a question of whether you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. The lawyers can try to intimidate people into shutting down by asserting a colorable (but extremely weak) claim of defamation, or they could simply inform the bloggers that the original article was false. But in the former case, you get a quick response even if your bluff is called, and that's probably what they were after. I wouldn't charge the lawyers with bad conduct here; they were simply representing their client zealously within the bounds of the law. I certainly wouldn't go to *trial* on such a weak defamation claim, but if you don't make the claim at all, then no one will take you seriously.

'thann

I'm happy you are back. You're a man of integrity, and I applaud you for maintaining decorum.

David B.

Jimmy,

You've called Pope Benedict His "Awesomeness." As far as I'm concerned, you fit the bill, too. :->

Tim

Yay- Jimmy is back!!

Alright, it is with great relief that I read more blogposts by Jimmy. Wonder why he was silent for so long?

Yeah, I thought that was a cheap shot on NY lawyers, too.

Esau

"You've called Pope Benedict His "Awesomeness." As far as I'm concerned, you fit the bill, too. :->"

-- DITTO!

Mike Petrik

Jonathan,
As you say, "it becomes a question of whether you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. The lawyers can try to intimidate people into shutting down by asserting a colorable (but extremely weak) claim of defamation, or they could simply inform the bloggers that the original article was false. But in the former case, you get a quick response even if your bluff is called, and that's probably what they were after."
My point is that having practiced in Atlanta for 25 years I would have chosen honey, especially given the weak case. My choice, however, would be based largely on my professional expereience, whioch suggests that a polite request for fairness would be more effective. These lawyers went for vineger precisely because that strategy seemed more likely to bring success based on their experience. I don't think our disparate experiences are unrelated to our geography.

Laura

I immediately contacted my friend Stephen Dillard (who has a really cool signature)

I knew I couldn't be the only admirer of the signature!

Jonathan Prejean

I don't think our disparate experiences are unrelated to our geography.

I hate to pin it on geography per se. The social interactions in NY may be a little more gruff than other places, but I have also rarely seen as much genuine good will for other human beings anywhere else. Perhaps it would be more salutary to distinguish the lawyers who routinely have to deal with multiple mega-corporate clients as opposed to those with a more personal practice. New York had its reputation because it was THE corporate town, but now that the legal industry has shifted more toward that sort of business everywhere, this impersonal style of dealing with legal controversies is becoming more common everywhere. All I'm saying is that if you're going to put the blame somewhere, I'd put it on people representing Fortune 500 companies, as opposed to dealing with actual human beings. ;-)

And it couldn't be a good lawyer joke without the...

Disclaimer: As an in-house counsel myself, I don't actually consider my brethren subhuman, but I do recognize the business necessities that have driven us all to be somewhat ruthless in legal controversies. :-)

OK, enough of my overreaction to a casual comment. Feel free to return to the happy subject of Jimmy's return FROM legal controversy!

Mary Kay

Jonathan, I don't think it overreaction at all.

I had noted Mike's and ignored it out of (perhaps misplaced) charity instead of coming back with a comment of "Well you know those (insert geography), they just don't know any better."

New York City is the most courteous city on the planet according to a Reader's Digest study released in June 2006.

But that's giving you the benefit of the doubt that you meant New York City.

You said simply NY. Those of us from NY (no specification), put you in the category of "but you have to excuse him, he doesn't know better" category. Many people are astonished to learn that some of us New Yorkers live several hundred miles and several hours driving time from NYC.

Bottom line, if that was an example of "using honey," then you can't tell the difference between honey and vinegar. Just sayin'.

CaeliDS

My friend and I are indebted to the New Yorkers on the Fifth Avenue bus who gave us the exact change to pay our fare to GCS. Otherwise, we might have ridden that bus all the way to Staten Island! The rest of the city was the same.

Go New York!

Mike Petrik

Fair enough, Jonathan.

Don Bosch / Evangelical Ecologist

Well handled, bro. And I agree with Marty - If the Lord uses all things for good (and he does), perhaps this whole thing will ultimately draw more attention to Christianity and ecology. Hope we can get back to that dialogue now.

Grace and peace,
Don

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