Arizona Bar Files Disciplinary Action Over Fake Poster Named In Court Case

Bitcoin, Blockchain and the Law | January 30, 2018 By:

The Arizona State Bar has filed a disciplinary complaint accusing two lawyers of filing libel lawsuits against fake defendants. The actions arose out of a post to regarding an alleged scam.

The tactic of filing the fake suits is a means of obtaining an injunction from a court where the defendant who posted the remarks can’t be found, making it difficult to get controversial posts taken down by individuals, web site hosts, or search engines. The lawyers then file the suit and create a defendant who, the legal paperwork claims, stipulates that the statement that sparked the action was false and defamatory. The fake defendant then agrees to the entry of an injunction ordering the “defendant” to remove the statement.

The court sees what appears to be agreement between the parties, and issues the injunction. That allows the attorneys for the libeled parties to use a court order to compel the web sites and search engines to get the statement removed. The issue, though, is that such tactics amount to a fraud on the court.

The phony Arizona libel lawsuits were filed by lawyers Aaron Kelly and Daniel Warner of Kelly/Warner Law, a prominent Internet libel law firm, on behalf of plaintiff Joseph Chinnock. The news was first reported by the legal website the Volokh Conspiracy Daily,  run by UCLA Law professor Eugene Volokh, where he teache free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and an intensive editing workshop.