Lawyers’ license to defame adversaries

The Tennessee Supreme Court confirms that lawyers in that state may publish potentially defamatory material outside the courtroom provided they are acting in quest of an “identifiable prospective client”. The case was filed by a screw maker against a law firm whose client-trolling website had asserted that the company’s deck screws were “defectively manufactured”. Without determining whether the phrase was defamatory, the court ruled that even if it was, the manufacturer would be afforded no legal remedy. (Day on Torts, Aug. 21; Simpson Strong-Tie Company v. Stewart, Estes, & Donnell, Aug. 20 (PDF)).


  • So a defense attorney could put up a page saying things like:

    Tired of Blood Sucking leeches like Stewart, Estes, & Donnell lying and cheating in order to steal your hard earned money though deceptive legal maneuvering? We’ll fight these low lives to protect you.

    Hypothetically of course.

  • This is the central tort reform question.

    Immunity has always caused run away growth. Liability has meant eradication of an activity.

    If one wants fewer lawsuits, end the self-dealt immunity of the lawyer profession. Torts will work on lawyer even better than they did on manufacturing.

  • Lawyers – more equal than the rest of us, and flaunting more each day.

  • What poignant proof of Judge Dennis Jacobs point as quoted in the post just a few down from this one, The Secret Life of Judges:

    “When I refer to the secret life of judges, I am speaking of an inner turn of mind that favors, empowers, and enables our profession and our brothers and sisters at the bar. It is secret, because it is unobserved and therefore unrestrained—by the judges themselves or by the legal community that so closely surrounds and nurtures us.”

    Doesn’t look like much of secret to me, at least not in Tennessee!

  • There’s a bankruptcy firm that runs ads here in the Chicago area (and maybe elsewhere) that states that credit counseling services receive “kickbacks” from credit cards. It’s debatable whether this is truly defamatory, but I’m sure the firm could never be held responsible.

  • Reminds of the turn-of-the-century press article:

    “How long the police will tolerate a downtown house of disrepute at 27 Broad Street, Third Floor (knock three times)?”