No, Just Because A Site Contains 'Academic' 'Advantage' & 'Scam' On The Same Page, It Is Not Defamation Against Academic Advantage

from the bogus-threats dept

There are all sorts of bogus legal threats out there, but every so often you see ones that take the concept of the bogus legal threat to a new and more astounding level. I would argue that the following legal threat, sent to BoingBoing qualifies. On January 13th, BoingBoing received a cease & desist letter from the law firm of Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh, written by Jubin Niamehr (who appears to be the only attorney at the firm not to get his name in the law firm’s name). The complaint against BoingBoing is almost too bizarre to be believed. Basically, the law firm represents a company named Academic Advantage. In 2009, Boingboing wrote a blog post that had absolutely nothing to do with the company Academic Advantage. However, it did use the phrase “academic advantage” in the title of a post called “Autism as an academic advantage.”

Again, the post had absolutely nothing to do with the company Academic Advantage.

Then, way down in the comments, an anonymous commenter talked about his own experience with autism and academia. In it, that commenter notes that, in his opinion, college was “a scam.” Once again, this commenter is not speaking about the company Academic Advantage at all. He is not calling the company Academic Advantage a scam.

So what happens? According to Niamehr, apparently representing the company Academic Advantage, somehow, this all adds up to a prima facie case of defamation against Academic Advantage:


It is clear there is no purpose to this web address but to falsely accuse the Academic Advantage of
being a scam or at least associating the Academic Advantage with a scam. There is absolutely no helpful
reason for the website to have the words “Academic,” “Advantage” and “Scam” which leads me to
believe it was created for malicious purposes. Claiming that our client’s tutoring services program is a
“SCAM” is prima facie defamation and designed to do nothing more than damage our client’s reputation.

I would love to see this law firm go to court and try to defend the claim that the post on BoingBoing (which is actually quite interesting) was designed to do nothing more than damage Academic Advantage when absolutely nothing in the post or the comments is about the company Academic Advantage. Furthermore, of course, making this even more ridiculous, the “scam” part of it (which again, is not at all about the company Academic Advantage) was put there by a commenter, so even if this was defamatory — which again, it cannot be, since it’s not about the company — then the law firm of Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh, and its partner Jubin Niamehr, should know that the site itself is protected from such charges by Section 230 of the CDA, since the “scam” claim would have come from a commenter. But, of course, you don’t even need to get that far, since nothing on the page talks about the company in question.

One would hope that Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh did not charge the company Academic Advantage for the time it took to put together such a letter.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: academic advantage, lazar akiva yagoubzadeh

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “No, Just Because A Site Contains 'Academic' 'Advantage' & 'Scam' On The Same Page, It Is Not Defamation Against Academic Advantage”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
32 Comments
Not an electronic Rodentsays:

Re: Getting Their Money's Worth, No doubt

Yet another law firm to file under “N”, for “Never hire for anything. Ever.”

Call me a cynic but wouldn’t maintaining a filing under “M” for “Might not be a total bunch of asshats” require signigicantly less work? Trying to maintain a list of bad lawyers is like trying to maintain an internet blacklist. Save you some effort here at least.

Bensays:

So they found BoingBoing via some kind of search (web crawler?) I assume?

Without actually reading the article, it just came up in their list of sites which have the three words together (or have ‘Academic Advantage’ in the same article as ‘Scam’).

In which case, Techdirt is next, and then me! flees

(incidentally, I bet ‘Scam’ wasn’t the only word they looked for in association. My guesses include: ‘sucks’,’smells of pee pee’, ‘raped my childhood’ and ‘is in favour of Wikileaks’).

Vincent Clementsays:

Re: google search

Not a good sign when Google lists “academic advantage scam” as the first or second auto complete suggestion and when you hire a law firm to send out C&D letters to anyone using the words “academic”, “advantage” and “scam”.

Yes, this is a business that I would want to be associated with. Not.

Alex Hagensays:

Yep, it is a scam.

And with a quick Google, I see what I suspected was true; Academic Advantage does indeed appear to be a scam. You can’t entirely blame the law firm, because with all the websites out there filled with people who got ripped off and jerked around by this company, they are probably getting a bit overwhelmed.

VoicesInMyHeadsays:

Turn-about is fait play?

FIFY
Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh,

It is clear there is no purpose in the letter dated January 13, 2011 but to falsely accuse BoingBoing of being a scam or at least associating BoingBoing with a scam.

There is absolutely no helpful reason for the letter to have the words “BoingBoing” and “Scam” which leads me to believe it was created for malicious purposes.

Claiming that BoingBoing is a “SCAM” is prima facie defamation and designed to do nothing more than damage BoingBoing’s reputation.
/sarc

Ambulance Chasers

The firm’s site lists their specialties as “Animal Attacks, Brain Injury, Broken Bone Injury, Car Accidents, Dog Bites, Lemon Law, Negligence, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Slip and Falls, Soft Tissue Injury, Whiplash Injury, Wrongful Death”. These guys are ambulance chasers.

Jubin’s bio page lists his specialties as general corporate and finance stuff. Still, given the company he keeps, this leads me to the opinion that he is the corporate ambulance chaser. They don’t care if it’s right or even if it works, so long as they can pitch the idea to the client, and bill them for it.

Johnnysays:

Some people do feel it's a scam

A little legwork on Google, tells us that some people do feel that Academic Advantage is a scam:
http://www.mojopages.com/biz/the-academic-advantage/los-angeles/ca/90064/10615221

Disclaimer for 2bit lawyers: I am not saying that Academic Advantage IS a scam, only that these other upstanding citizens – 4 of them – seem to think that it is. Their complaint being that they haven’t been paid for their work…

Great bunch of lawyers, looks like those three words are going to appear together a lot more often on the web. How much did they charge for that?

Jose_Xsays:

Ugly tactics to dominate standings

This company, Academic Advantage, seems to me to be working hard (and, in my opinion, unethically) to scare into submission competition for google’s top spot on the search term “academic advantage”.

I think it is an academic disservice to promote a business that tries to monopolize, more so when it appears they use tactics that have little to do with academic advantage or their primary business.

Past Participlesays:

I’m sure, as practicing lawyers, that the partners at Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh are well aware that the following are some common synonyms for the word “shyster”: unscrupulous lawyer; swindler; ambulance chaser, cheater, chiseler, crooked lawyer, mouthpiece, pettifogger, scammer, trickster, unethical lawyer. I also believe that the partners at Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh must be aware that the word “shyster” itself is a synonym for some of the following words: cheat, bluff, charlatan, chiseler, con artist, confidence operator, conniver, cozener, crook, deceiver, decoy, defrauder, dodger, double-crosser, double-dealer, enticer, fake, hypocrite, impostor, inveigler, jockey, masquerader, pretender, quack, rascal, rogue, scammer, shark, sharper, shyster, swindler, trickster.

One hopes that the partners at Lazar, Akiva & Yagoubzadeh are aware of such bad, malign, unethical, crooked and downright quackish synonyms for the word “shyster”.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop ┬╗

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it