Rakofsky Moves to Add Yahoo!, TechDirt and Others to Defamation Action; Asks Sanctions Against Former Lawyer (Updated x2)

Joseph Rakofsky, as seen on a copy of his former website

[This post was substantially updated on October 26th, with new documents added and more informaton on the new claims)

Joseph Rakofsky has not, quite apparently, put away his shovel. He is still digging. (Synopsis of case and my opinions before becoming local counsel, here.)

He has now filed a motion to amend the complaint a second time, with a 300-page whopper including 1,248 paragraphs. He has 78 causes of action and demands, and, if my calculations are correct, he demands $145,000,000 in damages.

In addition to the extraordinary damage claims, Rakfosky seeks to add Yahoo! and TechDirt into the lawsuit, among 15 new parties.

And he seeks to create a new cause of action for Cyber-bullying, or Internet Mobbing, due to the things people wrote about him after his ill-fated trial before Judge William Jackson down in Washington DC.

He has also asked for sanctions against his former lawyer, Richard Borzouye, who had asked to be relieved as counsel, with the consent of Rakofsky.

And he still has the St. Thomas School of Law listed in the Complaint, even though it capitulated with a settlement.

And he still sues on behalf of his professional corporation, even though he may not do so without counsel.

He also wants to start engaging in discovery, seeking subpoenas to get information from Google and other places about anonymous defendants.

He also has engaged a self-professed expert in forensic computer work in an attempt to gain access to the computers of some of his critics, Osvaldo Alayon, though Alayon doesn’t bother in the affidavit to lay out the basis of her expertise. A Google search of  – ”Osvaldo Alayon” forensic computer — turns up zero hits. The claim is that one of the defendant websites has evidence of child pornography on its site. In viewing the Affidavit and Exhibits for that claim, I feel compelled to give this legal warning: The comments and pictures are infused with sophomoric  humor and badly photo-shopped photographs, internet memes, and inside jokes that will be seen as witless to some and irreverant to others. There is no actual child porn, so if you are into that kind of thing, well, do me a favor and go away and never come back. The affidavit is here and the exhibits are here.

And he is asking for a default judgment for those that have not appeared.

Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff. Here is a very quick guide to some of the new claims, though this isn’t by any means comprehensive, and is put together based on a quick skim of the materials:

You can find the Notice of Motion and supporting Affidavit at this link.

Part 1 of the proposed Second Amended Complaint is here and Part 2 is here. The scanned images are large files as Rakofsky refused to serve anyone with digital files.

A few notes on the Complaint, as it is so large, in order to help you find things:

Pages 1-29 – identify parties

Pages 29-55 Rehash of trial and claims against Washington Post

Paragraph 140 he writes that Judge Jackson made “denigrating” remarks about him on the record, writing that the judge “for reasons that can only be speculated, gratuitously published on the record that he was ‘astonished’ at Rakofsky’s willingness to represent a person charged with murder and at his (Rakofsky’s) ‘not having a good grasp of legal procedures’.”

Paragraph 144 he gives his explanation for the “trick” email that he sent.

On page 140, the action against St. Thomas School of Law and Deborah Hackerson is continued even though he settled with them.

New action against The Atlantic Monthly and Yahoo! are on page 161

New action against TechDirt and its writer Mike Masnick is on page 164

New action against Canadian Lawyer Magazine and Reuters Canada on page 167

Total demands for defamation he makes are $46M ($1M for each of 38 causes of action except for Greenfield and me for $5M each)

Page 170 is the end of the defamation claims, and the ones for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress starts here — demand for damages is $10M

Page 178 is the claim for interference of contract. $10M demanded

Page 181 is a claim for violation of Civil Rights Law for use of his image in the news stories, claiming it was used for advertising purposes – total demand is $10M

Page 184 is a claim for “Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage” and a demand for $10M

Page 186 is a claim against Washington Post for “Injurious Falsehood” and a demand for $1M. This is the 43rd Cause of Action, and similar claims continue until page 294 at the 77th Cause of Action, at $1M demanded for each, for a total of $34M

On page 294 is a claim for “Violation of Prima Facie Tort” which he defines as “mobbing” or “cyber-bullying” and a demand for $25M

Update #2 – 11/18/11 – Motion is withdrawn, as per the Court, as it was filed while a stay was in place

Tags:

22 Responses Leave a comment

  • Jonas Sampson 2011.10.25 at 18:35 | Quote

    Doesn’t attending the seminars listed on Rakofsky’s web site make him qualified to handle any case?? Spence claims ALL cases are winnable — that is if you attend his programs.

    Trial Technique Workshop (Trial Lawyers College with Gerry Spence), Briarwood Manor, N.Y.
    Certificate of Completion, April 2010

    Trial Technique Workshop (Trial Lawyers College with Gerry Spence), Briarwood Manor, N.Y.
    Certificate of Completion, April 2009

  • Jonathan Edelstein 2011.10.26 at 11:00 | Quote

    Please tell me that Marc Randazza will be doing the opp papers.

  • Eric Turkewitz 2011.10.26 at 11:35 | Quote

    @Jonathan Edelstein

    Randazza is lead counsel for many of the blogger-defendants.

  • shg 2011.10.26 at 12:09 | Quote

    This is a very weighty complaint. Very weighty indeed.

  • Mark Bennett 2011.10.26 at 14:33 | Quote

    Why are you and Greenfield good for $5 million each?

  • Ken 2011.10.26 at 14:43 | Quote

    Not picked for the team, yet again. This is junior high school all over.

  • NLP 2011.10.26 at 21:02 | Quote

    I wonder at what point Touro will offer him money to stop identifying himself as being a Touro grad.

  • Dave 2011.10.26 at 22:03 | Quote

    @Mark Bennett

    Rakofsky must think Greenfield is going to get a big check from KitchenAid soon.

  • G Thompson 2011.10.27 at 04:54 | Quote

    If that is what is going as Exhibits depicting alleged Indecent Imaging in America at the moment, I think my own standards of providing Digital forensic evidence is way too high and I must find this Osvaldo Alayon to teach me the news ways of Forensic interpretation of The Silly memes.

    I think there should be a news SANS course on this subject with Ms Alayon to head it.

    Sadly I will probably now be sued by Ms Alayon. Thankfully I would not mind a free trip to the USA to be educated by her, though I’d be kind and bring Ken in as a joined party. Poor Ken, all alone ;)

  • Eddie 2011.10.27 at 09:57 | Quote

    Looks like Rakofsky’s forensic “expert” works out of his house on Staten Island. Now we know what JR is doing with the $5K he got from Travelers.

  • A Henry 2011.10.28 at 13:00 | Quote

    Let Rakofsky open discovery, then call the buffoon to a deposition. Ask him in great detail about all of the points of advertising on the website. Ask him in great detail what his advertised experience consists of. Go through the transcripts of the murder trial and ask him in great detail about his “strategy”.
    Is his deposition experience commensurate with his trial experience?
    If so, it should be very fun.
    Then post the transcripts on the internet.

  • Jimbo 2011.10.28 at 21:08 | Quote

    Unreal. By naming his former counsel, ALL the emails, letters, phone calls, memoranda, you name it are discoverable. He puts the poor guy through the ringer, guess how long the depo will be?

    It’s hard to conceive that even in NY any jury will not just laugh and laugh and laugh at some lawyer asking for $135 million. There are law firms that in two generations won’t earn that much gross revenue much less some newly minted attorney.

    Just wait until he starts taking depositions, if allowed. Imagine $1,000 a pop for depo time/transcripts.

    If this guy is truly seeking counselling it is time for one of you guys to pull his ticket.

  • gary e. rosenberg 2011.11.1 at 00:10 | Quote

    Don’t see how the motion, which seeks contempt against former attorney, was served on former attorney.

  • andrews 2011.11.1 at 07:44 | Quote

    It’s a shame the documents are trapped in scribd (“documents check in, but they don’t check out”).

    That said, there is either some incredible strategy involved in complaining about your former atty, or your privilege is pretty well shot. Not such a big deal if his strategy is as fool-hardy as it appears from here with the limited information I have.

    On the other hand, his complaints and description about the judge’s comments might seem to open his discussions and stragety with the murder defendant as well. I’m not sure the murder defendant would be tickled at that.

  • Mark Bennett 2011.11.1 at 08:29 | Quote

    @andrews

    You can download the documents (OCRed, one big 300+ page file, 55.4MB)) here:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/24606/Rakofsky%2020111024%20Filings.pdf

  • Roy A. Mura 2011.11.2 at 06:59 | Quote

    Eric –

    You probably already know this, but Nassau County Supreme held in July 2010 that “the courts of New York do not recognize cyberbullying or Internet bullying as a cognizable tort action.” Finkel v. Dauber, 29 Misc.3d 325 (Sup. Ct., Nassau Co., 2010)
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=13961346953016673000&q=cyberbullying&hl=en&as_sdt=4,33

    Good luck.

  • andrews 2011.11.2 at 06:59 | Quote

    Got it, thanks.

    Is it my imagination, or is he calling himself “Joseph Rakofsky, Esq” in his affidavit?

    Is it customary to write “esq” after your own name up there, or is he just needing to reassure himself?

  • Nick Braak 2011.11.2 at 12:39 | Quote

    andrews:
    It’s a shame the documents are trapped in scribd (“documents check in, but they don’t check out”).

    FYI, create a free Scribd account and you can download as PDF or text file. If you’re privacy aware or non self-promotional make sure to uncheck the boxes that broadcast your actions to the world. Or just turn them off in the options.

  • Nick Braak 2011.11.2 at 12:51 | Quote

    @G Thompson
    I’m pretty sure Osvaldo is a male name (Oswald)..

    Either way, having an “expert” examine servers for child porn in a so-called defamation case is probably without precedent. What qualifications does Osvald have for evaluating child porn? If there was illegal material it’s an instant criminal matter, leaving both Rakofsky and his techie open to being charged with possession themselves!

Comments are closed.


The New York Personal Injury Law Blog is sponsored by its creator, Eric Turkewitz of The Turkewitz Law Firm. The blog might be considered a form of attorney advertising in accordance with New York rules going into effect February 1, 2007 (22 NYCRR 1200.1, et. seq.) As of July 14, 2008, Law.com became an advertiser, as you can see in the sidebar. Law.com does not control the editorial content of the blog in any way.

Throughout the blog as it develops, you may see examples of cases we have handled, or cases from others, that are used for illustrative purposes. Since all cases are different, and legal authority may change from year to year, it is important to remember that prior results in any particular case do not guarantee or predict similar outcomes with respect to any future matter, including yours, in which any lawyer or law firm may be retained.

Some of the commentary may be become outdated. Some might be a minority opinion, or simply wrong. No reader should consider this site (or any other) to be authoritative, and if a legal issue is presented, the reader should contact an attorney of his or her own choosing for advice.

Finally, we are not responsible for the comments of others that may be added to this site.