Law Professors

Law Profs Sue West, Say ‘Sham’ Pocket Part Identified Them as Authors

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Two law professors who wrote a treatise on Pennsylvania criminal law claim in a lawsuit that West Publishing falsely identified them as the authors of a poorly researched “sham” pocket part.

The professors, David Rudovsky of the University of Pennsylvania and Leonard Sosnov of Widener Law School, are seeking an injunction that requires West to notify subscribers that the professors did not write the December 2008 update, the Legal Intelligencer reports. Unhappy customers also should be given the option of a refund, the professors say.

Rudovsky testified at an injunction hearing in Philadelphia federal court on Tuesday that he and Sosnov stopped working on the supplements when West cut their annual pay from $5,000 each to $2,500. Rudovsky said he was stunned when he saw the December 2008 pocket part with the professors’ names on the cover but with little new additional content. ” ‘Sham’ is the only word that comes to mind,” he testified.

West lawyer James Rittinger of Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke in New York said the publishing company recently mailed an improved pocket part that makes clear the professors were not involved in the research, the story says. He also said West’s contract with the professors establishes that others may prepare a supplement to the treatise, Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure—Law, Commentary and Forms.

Rittinger’s arguments were stalled when Senior U.S. District Judge John Fullam scolded him for his “snide comments” in briefs submitted to the court, according to the Intelligencer account.

“I don’t take kindly to briefs which attack opposing counsel and make snide comments right and left, and yours do,” Fullam said. “And you’re doing the same thing here today–you’re more critical of your opponent than you are of the facts of the case.”

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