[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Reed Smith LLC,
Law Firm

Hall Of Shame Member
Where Quality Matters But Legal Ethics Does not

Last Updated January 22, 2010

On Friday, February 23, 2006, a lawyer named Darren B. Cohen, of the law firm Reed Smith LLP, sent us a Cease And Desist letter on behalf of Sy Garfinkel, President of Sykel and Fabric Innovations. Seems Sy Garfinkel is a teensy bit upset at being called a pompous twit. Sykel is a member of the Hall Of Shame.

What puzzles us is whether Darren took Sy's word for everything or if he, Darren, actually looked at the web pages in question to ascertain for himself the facts of the case. As we understand it, it is the obligation of an attorney to exercise due diligence in determining the facts of a case before proceeding. If Darren did take Sy's word for things, then we think Darren must have slept through Due Diligence 102. If he did not, and he actually investigated the facts, i.e., the web pages for Sykel, then he should take a time-out and sit in the corner wearing a dunce cap. We have taken Darren's Cease and desist letter and highlighted the passages that are false, misleading, misstated law, or just plain laughable. While he asserts damage to Sykel's business, those damages most likely exist only in Sy's mind as he sticks pins in his Tabberone doll.

The Cease and Desist letter is so over the line it's pathetic. There are so many distortions of fact and false statements of law as well and ridiculous threats, this letter should be taught in first year law as "What Not To Do, Dummy!". Reed Smith claims to be one of the 15 largest law firms in the world. We wonder how they got so big with such stupid attorneys working for them.

In this Cease And Desist letter, Cohen threatens us twice with a law suit. First he says: "We will be perfectly clear, Ms. Dudnikov. Unless you or your company immediately takes down the offensive and defamatory pages concerning Mr. Garfinkel and his company from the "Hall of Shame" portion of your web site, and promises to refrain from such actions in the future, we will bring suit against you and your company without hesitation."
Stop, stop,
you're killing me!


No more,
I can't take it!
Next he says: "We assure you that Mr. Garfinkel is gravely serious about this matter, and unless we receive your assurances that the site is down or will be down shortly, a law suit will be filed in the Southern District of New York based on, among other causes of action, defamation, including claims for damages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. "

Huh? "Damages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars." He sounds like Dr Evil in Austin Powers getting ready to blackmail the world. He has obviously mistaken us for someone with money. But, had he bothered to read the web site, he would have realized threatening Tabberone isn't a good approach. Hey, Dimwit! We sued Disney Enterprises, Major League Baseball, and fought M&M/Mars in the "Southern District of New York", and walked away from these billion-dollar companies smiling with settlements in our favor. What makes you think some self-absorbed president of what we consider a second-rate fabric company is going to scare us?

When confronted by our lawyer (Yes, Virginia, we have a lawyer for this one), Darren Cohen seems to have lost his resolve and his certainty as he was unable to state what on the web site was "false, misleading and defamatory" . Greg Beck, from the Public Citizen Litigation Group in Washington, D.C., sent a letter to Cohen as a follow-up on their earlier telephone conversation. In the letter, Greg reminds Darren that, " as you admitted, those paragraphs merely contain quotations from an email authored by Mr. Garfinkel along with Ms. Dudnikov's responses to those quotations. In fact, the selected quotations accurately reflect Mr. Garfinkel's position in the email from which they are taken, and Ms. Dudnikov's responses to those quotations are no more than expressions of her personal opinion."

Wait a freakin' minute, here! What happened to Darren's assertion of "false, misleading and defamatory" statements? Greg goes on in his letter: "Because everything on Ms. Dudnikov's web page is either factually true or a statement of opinion (which you acknowledge in your letter to be protected by the First Amendment), Mr. Garfinkel has no claim against Ms. Dudnikov based on anything on her web site." Greg ends with a flourish by saying: "If Mr. Garfinkel insists on pursuing this baseless claim against Ms. Dudnikov, she will respond with a motion for sanctions, including attorneys' fees, to be sought against Mr. Garfinkel personally as well as any attorney who lends himself to such an endeavor." We like Greg.


You've got to
be kidding!
In this Cease And Desist letter, Cohen pointedly warns us "not to post his letter on the web site.", forgetting with whom he is dealing. "Perhaps you are contemplating taking this letter and posting it on your site. As tempting as that may seem, you should think long and hard before you proceed on that route. We assure you that Mr. Garfinkel is gravely serious about this matter.......", like we really care, Darren.

As we look at the Cease And Desist letter, we wonder what lawyer could possibly place himself in such an awkward position. A few minutes reviewing the allegations by Sy Garfunkel and comparing them to the web pages in question, would have turned any reasonable (read ethical also) attorney away from this foolishness. Darren appears to exemplify the lawyer who will take a client's cash regardless of how offensive the task may be. Does this remind you of another profession?

A web site called Elist.com has a number of postings about different goodies. On February 27, 2006, a Paul Levy posted a thread under Interesting People which was a delightful dig at Reed Smith and Darren Cohen and the dreadful Cease & Desist letter sent to Tabberone.

Just to make sure of the names we are using we looked up twit online. This definition comes courtesy of http://www.infoplease.com/dictionary/twit. The word twit means an insignificant or bothersome person. That's Sy.


UPDATE - November 10, 2008 - Seems Reed Smith just can't get a break. The Bair Foundation, which describes itself as a Christian charitable foundation devoted to foster care for children, sued Reed Smith for over-billing, (among other things) in late 2007. Seems Reed Smith quoted a paltry $50,000 to handle a discrimination case (which Bair claims was badly mishandled) and ended up billing them almost $1 Million big ones instead. That's twenty times the original estimate. All those kiddies that won't get foster care because of Reed Smith! Have you no shame, Reed Smith? Opps, that's right, you don't! You're lawyers. That was a retorical question. Silly us.
[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

  [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]