Making a Mockery

As our first bureau chief, a wise and gifted man, would often say to us:

“Oy.”

Last Friday, we blogged about how this Rakofsky fellow had done something very foolish.  After being reported to have done some pretty bad lawyering, and being roundly disparaged by the blawgosphere as a result, he made things worse by shining a spotlight on it all and filing a lawsuit against everyone who’d written about him.  This included the American Bar Association, the Washington Post, and most of the better blawgers out there.  We pointed out how very foolish this was indeed.  And (with tongue firmly planted in cheek), we bemoaned the fact that we’d missed the opportunity to have commented on his behavior the first time, and were so excluded from the honor roll named in his (very badly drafted) complaint.  He could have let it all blow over, worked to rebuild his reputation, and maybe even have been forgiven for a newbie screwup.  But he’d made it worse, screwing up even more.

Well, he’s screwed up again.

He and his lawyer Richard Borzouye (apparently a former member of Rakofsky’s own firm in… Connecticut? Really?) must have worked all weekend long.  Because today, Tuesday, they served an amended complaint on the original 74 defendants… plus six or seven more.  Including us!  Apparently, if you commented on the original foolish complaint, you got added to the new one.

The allegations against us in particular are just dumb.  A pithy commenter online summarized the allegations as that we “have brought the legal profession into disrepute by making fun of” Rakofsky and Borzouye.  There’s more to it than that, however.  According to the amended complaint, our Friday post was written “with malice and hate, in a grossly irresponsible manner,” and made us “actors in the intentional infliction of emotional distress.”  You can’t make this stuff up.  We tried to read the relevant paragraphs out loud to a paralegal, but were laughing too hard.

We couldn’t help but be reminded of this old sketch (which also used to have us in stitches way back in our misspent youth):

“The moon mocks me…” Cracked us up every time.

Anyway, if they thought our Friday post was mocking enough to warrant an amended complaint, we’re sure they’ll think the same about this one.  (And all the other commentary that’s been posted by others today, as well.) So that’s probably going to lead to yet another amended complaint.  And more apparent mockery.  And more complaints.  And so on.  And so on.

Their process server will be pleased.

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2 Comments

  1. Nathan, May 31, 2011:

    Just realized that the original post predicted that this might happen. Wrote that “maybe he’ll amend his complaint to include us,” now that his complaint was being ridiculed. Nailed it.

    Also just re-read the allegations in the complaint a second time, and they’re still as pathetic as they seemed the first time through. Seriously makes you wonder whether Rakofsky and Borzouye have the slightest clue what they’re doing. Cutting out the pleadings claptrap and internal characterization and apologia, here’s what they allege against me:

    The first part alleges defamation in that “Burney … in reckless disregard for the truth … published … ‘you’ve probably heard, by now, of this Joseph Rakofsky kid. You know the one [ellipsis in complaint eliding the phrase ‘the newly-licensed lawyer who took on a murder trial without any trial experience, who is alleged to have told his investigator to “trick” an eyewitness into denying having seen anything, and’] whose performance was so bad that the judge had to declare a mistrial.’ ”

    The first part also alleges defamation in that “Burney … published ‘being on that complaint is going to be something of a badge of pride. And we’re not there. Dammit. Maybe he’ll amend his complaint to include us now, or maybe one of the defendants can do one of those… uh, civil procedure thingies… where you bring someone else into a case? Whatever.”

    The second part alleges the “intentional infliction of emotional harm,” in that “Burney … effectively asked … to be included as a defendant in a law suit and then purposely defamed Rakofsky and RLF to achieve such an end…. Burney published [the quoted bit above starting with “you’ve probably heard”] … after Rakofsky and RLF filed their complaint, which clearly provided the facts … yet such facts were purposely ignored … and [the blog post] was specifically published to cause Rakofsky to suffer severe and debilitating emotional injury and anguish….”

    Not gonna waste time pointing out everything that’s wrong with this. Already wasted enough time laughing at it again. But there is a serious aspect to it. Both Rakofsky and Borzouye have demolished their own reputations in a way that’s going to make it very hard to overcome, and they’re probably going to have to find some other way to pay the bills from now on. Especially if their ethical violations reported elsewhere are as serious as they seem, and they lose their licenses. And of course all the defendants are going to have to spend money and time defending themselves, which in all likelihood both Rakofsky and Borzouye will have to pay for, plus sanctions. (I seriously doubt they are even familiar with 22 NYCRR 130, but they might want to bone up on it before all those fees mount up too high.) The point I was making in the original post is as true as ever: if only they’d left well enough alone…

  2. Nathan, June 3, 2011:

    Just got a copy of the trial transcript from when Rakofsky’s judge ordered a mistrial. Without commentary, here are selected quotes from the judge:

    “[The defendant’s request for new counsel is] — based on my observation of the conduct of the trial — manifestly necessary. I believe that the performance was below what any reasonable person could expect in a murder trial.”

    “If there had been a conviction in this case, based on what I had seen so far, I would have granted a motion for new trial under 23.110.”

    “I inquired of [the defendant as to new counsel] when the Court found out through opening — at least near the end of the opening statement, which went on at some length for over an hour — that Mr. Rakofsky had never tried a case before. And quite frankly it was evident, in the portions of the trial that I saw, that Mr. Rakofsky… put it this way: I was astonished that someone would purport to represent someone in a felony murder case who had never tried a case before.”

    “It appeared to the Court that there were theories out there, defense theories out there, but the inability to execute those theories.”

    “It was apparent to the Court that there was a, not a good grasp of legal principles and legal procedure of what was admissible and what was not admissible. And that inured, I think, to the detriment of [the defendant].”

    “As I said, it became readily apparent that the performance was not up to par under any reasonable standard of competence under the Sixth Amendment.”

    and

    “There’s an email from you to the investigator that you may want to look at, Mr. Rakofsky. It raises ethical issues. [Rakofsky asks if that is something the judge wanted to discuss.] No. But you might want to discuss it with somebody else.”

    You can read the transcript here: http://bit.ly/iGDP7P. And the first defense motion (to streamline the proceedings and admit counsel pro hac vice, but containing a decent summary of the case thus far) can be seen here: http://bit.ly/j3VXVI.

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