Posted Jul 02, 2014 10:44 am CDT
A solo practitioner from New Jersey claims in a lawsuit that content from his website ended up on the websites of two other law firms, harming his position in Google search results.
The suit by lawyer Thomas Blauvelt says the purloined website information included computer code and Blauvelt’s own name, photo and biographical information, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. Blauvelt says his search results are harmed because Google gives a boost to newer versions of old content.
Blauvelt says the information appeared on the website of Prince & Portnoi, and when that firm disbanded, one of its partners joined Tobin, Kessler, Greenstein, Caruso, Wiener & Conray, which then included the lifted content on its website. Both law firms are from Clark, New Jersey.
Though the law firms removed the copied material when notified about it, the suit says, Blauvelt continues to see a decline in new clients. His suit claims conversion, misappropriation of likeness, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, identity theft and copyright infringement, according to the New Jersey Law Journal. The suit is pending in New Jersey federal court.
Gregg Paradise, who represents Prince & Portnoi, told the New Jersey Law Journal that a website consultant placed Blauvelt’s data on the law firm’s website without the knowledge of lawyers from Prince & Portnoi. He said stolen content consisted of a list of New Jersey courts and contact information, and that Blauvelt’s name and photo appeared only in metadata.
“My understanding is [visitors to that site] would never have seen anything with Mr. Blauvelt’s name,” Paradise said. “Even if they did, at best it would have been confusing.”
Paradise also denied that information from Blauvelt’s website was used on the website of Tobin Kessler. Tobin Kessler’s managing partner did not respond to the New Jersey Law Journal’s request for comment.