Robert Fletcher's Lawsuit Against Writer Beware Ruled Frivolous

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rejectME

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If those threats were made via email or any internet method, I would suggest contacting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Under Florida law, any internet crime falls under our jurisdiction if either the suspect or the victim is in Florida. If Fletcher sent his threats from our state, he's our meat.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but threats over the internet are federal matters. Whereas they may be tried in the state of origin, the decision US AG's office would initiate prosecution.
 

Mac H.

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I have some questions:

1. To quote the judge's findings:

"The defendants obtained an order by the Court requiring him to attend, an he again failed to attend.
... Fletcher himself refused to attend his noticed deposition after being order[ed] by the Court to attend"


Is anyone here involved with courts on a day-to-day basis? What is the point of having court orders if Fletcher can just refuse to obey the court order?

What would be the typical consequences for his refusal?
(I know there is a wide range of possible consequences .. I read this morning that a guy got six months in jail for contempt of court after yawning in court but this isn't typical)

2. "Their lawyer, Jerrold G. Neeff, knew it to be frivolous before it was even commenced"

Is there an ethics issue here? The typical rule I see is:

Rule 3-200 Prohibited Objectives of Employment

A member shall not seek, accept, or continue employment if the member knows or should know that the objective of such employment is:

(A) To bring an action, conduct a defense, assert a position in litigation, or take an appeal, without probable cause and for the purpose of harassing or maliciously injuring any person;

...
(Yeah - I know that's probably the wrong state. But I imagine there are similar ethics rules that the lawyer would be subject to)

The idea of 'maliciously injuring' might be unprovable, but the judge seemed 100% clear that the action was without probably cause and for the purpose of harassing, at the very least. Even if Jerrold G. Neeff didn't know at the outset that the case was unethical, surely he had an obligation to quit at some point ? His only plausible defence would be that he didn't know, nor should not have known. But that would mean that he wasn't aware of the emails that his client had sent .. which would be hard to claim because he would have been provided with those documents as part of the discovery process.

So surely from the moment that he received those emails, wasn't the only ethical course of action to quit the case ?
Clearly, I am not a lawyer - and I don't want to pile on the poor guy who would have had the client from hell, and an impossible case to proceed with. And once it was clear to him that the case was totally frivolous, the best thing for the victims would have been to get the case to court so the judge can announce to the world that the case is frivolous. If he had quit the case (which the ethics rules seem to say he should have) then the victims would have been worse off .. it would have given more delays and suffering for people who are having their life savings threatened.

I'm just curious what this kind of case means the for the lawyers involved.

Mac
 
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rejectME

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So if he had a court order to attend and didn't, what's to say that he won't ignore the court order to pay the legal fees of Victoria and Ann? I would think that failing to appear would mean that he was/is in contempt of court and subject to jail time or an additional fine.
 

LeslieB

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Please correct me if I'm wrong, but threats over the internet are federal matters. Whereas they may be tried in the state of origin, the decision US AG's office would initiate prosecution.

There is a lot of overlap in the laws now. But usually the feds only get interested if it's something that involves a major crime, like terrorist acts. They don't come running for just anything. Florida deliberately wrote its laws to make it easier to prosecute internet crime on a state level for that very reason.
 

LeslieB

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Do you have a specific division?

Yes. The Florida Computer Crime Center (FC3 for short) handles this sort of thing. This webpage can help get you started. http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/Florida-Computer-Crime-Center/Report-a-Computer-Crime.aspx If you would prefer something closer to home - Fletcher's home, that is - you can find the contact information for the West Palm Beach field office under the FDLE Regional Contacts link. Boca Raton is in their service area.
 

rejectME

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Is it wrong to post that PDF file link to AEG's Facebook page?

Poor taste or not, AEG didn't appreciate my posting the link to the court's recent decision, on their Facebook page. I would note that the spirit of my posting the link was in no way based on a personal experience, but rather an effort to provide a factual ruling in regard to some of the business practices that the company may engage in. The person who responded felt that it was not fair to post it because the people on the page are satisfied with their agreements. While that may or may not be the case, it's quite possible that it's because they don't know that some of their agreements may or may not be ethical. Furthermore, my post did not provide a personal opinion, but rather a statement about the decision and the link.

"Hello Jerry

Thank you for your post on the Strategic Book Publishing Page

AEG Principal, Robert Fletcher, ordered by the Superior Count of Massachusetts, to pay attorney fees to defendants in lost civil case...
http://www.sfwa.org/beware/fletcher decision_20090811100047.pdf

It has however been removed for obvious reasons. I rather think it is in poor taste to post comments such as that, more particularly on a page which is fanned and populated by SBP/EB Authors, who clearly have no complaints and are quite satisfied with their author/publisher relationship, and who are quite obviously aware of the negative publicity disgruntled persons attempt to create.

I would respectfully ask that you refrain from posting comments on the SBP page in the future, and afford us the same courtesy as we in turn afford other organisations or individuals.

Sincerely
###### ######
Blogging Leader / Social Media Expert
Strategic Book Publishing/AEG Publishing Group"
 

James D. Macdonald

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I would respectfully ask that you refrain from posting comments on the SBP page in the future, and afford us the same courtesy as we in turn afford other organisations or individuals.

Should we find the lies that Fletcher has posted about me, about others, and about organizations such as SFWA?

To quote Robert Fletcher (writing as "Georgina Orr"): "Also, they have blocked our rebuttal posts and deleted our prior posts. In short, a very one-sided message board!"
 
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victoriastrauss

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and afford us the same courtesy as we in turn afford other organisations or individuals.

That's rich...especially if you read the entire text of the ruling, which mentions the blackmail and other threats Writer Beware staff received from Fletcher.

- Victoria
 

rejectME

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That's rich...especially if you read the entire text of the ruling, which mentions the blackmail and other threats Writer Beware staff received from Fletcher.

- Victoria

I thought so, too, but I didn't reply as she (Unless it's actually him) probably doesn't even know about most the ongoing issues. Of course they also wouldn't want to lose all those fees they are charging the poor 58 fans the company has on Facebook.... Oops! It's 57 'cause I had to be a "fan" in order to post.
 

kct webber

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What a nightmare for you guys. I can't tell you how much I respect you all for taking the heat and standing up to people like him. A great outcome.

What he said. :)

Congrats. A little late, but still. :)
 

sandyn

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Hallelujah and O, Happy Day!

As one who was nearly caught in their web but was saved by this site, I commend Victoria and Ann and all who put themselves out there to bring this fraud down.

Thank you all!
 

rejectME

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Dave, don't you have a Benedict something or other literary agency listed as strongly Not Recommended, on P&E, which just so happens to be in Boca? Ha. I think that dude has a few names, too!
 

DaveKuzminski

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It's just listed as not recommended. They're not Fletcher in their achievements. However, just to be safe, they might want to make sure they don't come to the attention of the same court.
 

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