Law Professors

Law Prof Sues Above the Law, Claims ‘Racist Series of Rants’ About His Arrest

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Updated: A University of Miami law professor arrested but never prosecuted on a charge of trying to solicit an undercover police officer has sued the Above the Law blog for its posts on his predicament.

But, in a startling development only days later, Donald Marvin Jones then voluntarily dismissed the litigation, as detailed in a subsequent post.

The suit by the African-American professor claimed the blog portrayed him in a false light, invaded his privacy and infringed school’s copyright on his faculty photo, the National Law Journal reports.

The suit, filed in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, claimed an October 2007 article about Jones’ arrest “instigated its readers not only to read the post but also to join in what was clearly a viciously racist series of rants.” A later post featured a photographic collage that included Jones’ face on a $20 bill—the amount police claimed he had offered to pay for sex.

The suit said Jones was arrested after he had missed a turn and was driving through a rough section of Miami in his Mercedes-Benz, arousing police suspicion and causing officers to stop his vehicle. The solicitation charge was later dropped, and Jones’ record was expunged. He says he was innocent of the charge.

ATL managing editor David Lat declined to comment to the National Law Journal. In a post today on Above the Law, Lat writes, “For the first time in over three years of operation, Above the Law has been sued. We feel that the lawsuit has no merit, but we will not comment further on this ongoing litigation.”

The blog links to coverage of the lawsuit and the complaint (PDF).

Also see:

Copyrights & Campaigns (blog post): “Law Professor sues ‘Above the Law’ blog; time to go back to complaint-drafting school”

Story updated at 10:53 a.m. to include Above the Law’s comment on the suit and on Nov. 4 to include news of dismissal and link to subsequent post.

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