"Surveillance of Soldiers' Blogs Sparks Lawsuit"

This sounds like a serious tug of war (so to speak), over free speech & security:

"The FLAG Project at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against the Department of Defense today, demanding expedited information on how the Army monitors soldiers' blogs.

"According to news reports, an Army unit called the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell (AWRAC) reviews hundreds of thousands of websites every month, notifying webmasters and bloggers when it sees information it finds inappropriate. Some bloggers have told reporters that they have cut back on their posts or shut down their sites altogether because of the activities of the AWRAC. EFF filed its suit [PDF] after the Department of Defense and Army failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about the blog monitoring program.

"'Soldiers should be free to blog their thoughts at this critical point in the national debate on the war in Iraq,' said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. 'If the Army is coloring or curtailing soldiers' published opinions, Americans need to know about that interference.'"


"Pushing Legal Research Beyond Google"

Good article about Internet research, specifically for paralegals:

"When it comes to sleuthing for information there are no hard and fast rules for paralegals, except maybe this one: Don't ignore the Internet.

"The courts may notice if you do.

"Last year, an Indiana appeals court agreed to dismiss a lawsuit because the plaintiff took three years to find a postal address and serve notice of his complaint. In a footnote [fn 3, p 13] to that published opinion [PDF link in article], Judge Michael Barnes noticed there was no evidence the plaintiff had tried looking on the Internet to find defendant Joe Groce. And the court was Google-savvy.

"'In fact, we discovered, upon entering 'Joe Groce Indiana' into the Google search engine, an address for Groce that differed from either address used in this case, as well as an apparent obituary for Groce's mother that listed numerous surviving relatives who might have known his whereabouts,' Barnes pointed out.

"Mark Rosch likes to highlight cases like that when he leads seminars about online research for Internet for Lawyers, the Southern California consulting firm he and his wife, Carole Levitt, have run since 1999."


Former Paralegal Wins SLAPP Ruling

Excellent outcome!

"Former paralegal Peggy Soukup and famed Irish dancer Michael Flatley don't know each other, but they share one thing in common: Both won cases Thursday clarifying the state's complex anti-SLAPP law.

By a unanimous vote in two rulings involving three cases, the California Supreme Court ruled that anti-SLAPP motions and their counterparts, SLAPP-back suits, can't be used by defendants to protect speech or activities that are illegal as a matter of law.

"'A contrary rule,' Justice Carlos Moreno wrote, 'would be inconsistent with the purpose of the anti-SLAPP statute as revealed by its language.'

"A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation is a suit asserting that a plaintiff's suit -- often for defamation or malicious prosecution -- is an attempt to interfere with the business interests or free speech of the defendant. SLAPPs are often an attempt to intimidate the plaintiff or silence critics.

[snip]

"Alan Charles Dell'Ario, a partner in Oakland's Dell'Ario & LeBoeuf who represented Soukup, said he was happy the court found his client 'had established the probable validity of her case' and 'debunked' the defendants' claims.

"'I can assure you she will be thrilled,' he said. 'And she gets a lot of credit. She did the petition for review -- pro per."