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The Early Lead
Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 03/07/2011

City Paper lawsuit brings more bad press for Dan Snyder

The brouhaha over Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s lawsuit may have slowed in volume, but it hasn’t lost any venom.

Matt Taibbi brings down the sledgehammer/gavel of justice in his regular Supreme Court of, er, badpersonedness blog post for Rolling Stone. (Kind of like this.) You can read the NSFW post here, but the synopsis is that Taibbi’s court voted unanimously that Snyder is a bad person for filing suit against Washington City Paper for a story Dave McKenna wrote last fall. (Haven’t read it? You can do so here. There’s even a WCP defense fund.) Taibbi’s court voted unanimously that the Redskins owner is an, um, person in the matter of The People vs. Dan Snyder.

From Taibbi: Justice Drew Magary first brought Synder to the Court’s attention and, voting to convict, summed up the situation thusly: “The reason the McKenna case is important is because it demonstrates that, if you [tick] off a rich [expletive], he can use a friviolous lawsuit to bankrupt you. You don’t have a choice. You have to hire lawyers to defend yourself again and again until your resources have been exhausted. You can be dragged into the legal system against your will by some [expletive] like Snyder and even if he loses, you’re still ruined for life.”

A little closer to actual lawyers, a professor in a Northwest law school cited the suit in a lecture on Rule 11 and frivolous lawsuits. At New York School of Law, Trevor Timm writes a Legal As She Is Spoke blog post entitled “An Amusing Article Spawns a Laughable Libel Suit.”

From Timm: It’s curious that Mr. Snyder sued at all. Washington City Paper is just a small local paper, and he should have known the statements made in the article would be covered by the national media--and read by far more people--solely because of the lawsuit. It seems Mr. Snyder hoped to bury the paper in legal costs and destroy it for good; his lawyer sent the paper a threatening letter before suing, saying, “the cost of litigation would presumably quickly outstrip the asset value of the Washington City Paper.” And yet when the paper offered to meet with Mr. Snyder to hear his side of the story and publish an apology if he could provide evidence they were wrong, he refused.

Washington City Paper says it will vigorously defend its article in court. It is entirely possible in the next few months Dan Snyder will be the laughingstock of not only a small alternative weekly paper in his hometown, but Second Circuit case law as well.

By  |  12:27 PM ET, 03/07/2011

 
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