• Random House sued ME; not the other way around.
  • Random House filed suit to silence the facts I was posting on the web.
  • There has been NO trial on the facts, only the Random House effort to prevent a trial.
  • The only sworn statements made under penalty of perjury are affidavits from me and my experts, nothing from RH.
  • The judge refused to consider any expert analysis.
  • Despite suing me first, Random House & Sony UNsuccessfully demanded that I pay the $310,000 in legal fees they spent to sue me.
  • Contrary to the Random House spin, I am not alleging plagiarism of general issues, but of several hundred very specific ones.
  • This is not about money. Anything I win goes to charity.

Legal filings and the expert witness reports are HERE

I have a second blog, Writopia
which focuses on Dan Brown's pattern of falsehoods
and embellishment of his personal achievements.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Why The Double Standard For Lawyers?

I have had any number of emails and phone calls now from attorneys who believe that the statements by the Random House attorneys that I find objectionable would NOT, in fact, be viewed as violations of the New York Bar's Code of Professional Conduct by the panel of lawyers who would decide the issue.

In the opinions of these many attorneys, Random House's distortions, out-of-context quotes, factually flawed and incorrect statements representing that I said things that I did not, or did things I did not, may be "playing fast and loose with the truth" or "intellectually dishonest" but would not be found by other lawyers to be violations of the ethics code.

What kind of twisted system have we produced where a process that is supposed to produce justice can be acceptably filled with falsehood? I am told that is the REALITY of our legal system.

Sure, I understand that, but the _other_ reality is that honest people punish their children for far less substantial falsehoods. Those who don't, provide society with an endless supply of crack dealers and Enron CEOs.

There is probably a book here somewhere.

If you're just beginning to read this blog, take a look at some of the examples. Scroll down to the articles on last Friday's court hearings, or further down to "Cooking the Truth Smells", " Lies, Damned Lies and Random House Footnotes", or " Q. When Is a Bachelor NOT a Bachelor? There are more, but these will offer you a flavor.

It also makes me wonder what they are trying to accomplish. The judge is too smart to let these get in his way. And if their case is as good as they say, then why do they feel this is necessary?

I'll have more to say about this later over at Writopia.


Blogger Mark said...

When you defend somebody that's guilty say, altering the truth by ommission seems to be standard MO. Misrepresentation is a part of the defense strategy. It's judge and jury ultimately that has to decide where the BS is.

Wed May 11, 07:13:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Well, I come from a family of lawyers (mostly litigators), have many friends who are attorneys and nearly became one myself.

Those people have a respect for the law. Too much respect to bugger it by lying.

I don't think they are a minority, but their voices are seldom heard.

Lawyers who conduct themselves with the sort of intellectual dishonesty as the Random House attorneys teach people that disrespecting the law is the norm.

Go ahead, they encourage, bend it, twist it, telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is for suckers. That is the example they set.

And by doing so, they encourage the sort of behavior we have seen at Enron and elsewhere.

When I was growing up in Mississippi, the norm for a lawyer was to disrespect the law when it came to those who were not white.

The courts were for white people and thus the rest of society learned that the protection of law belonged to white people only.

Anytime you corrupt the respect for truth and the law, you encourage criminals and that, in my opinion, is what lawyers like those for Random House do.

It may be the reality, but it is wrong.

I grew up in a state where white people were the only ones that had rights. That was a reality. That was wrong. That has changed.

I think that the Random House lawyer attitude is far too prevalent and that it will eventually produce its own Enron-like disaster. At least, I hope it will so that we can take out the garbage and make the court system a place where justice actually means something to everybody.

Wed May 11, 07:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Jocelyn Smith said...

OY! Ease up on the lawyer profession! As one who's just completed Legal Ethics course, if there's a double-standard regarding lawyers, it's that we're BELOW the law, not above it. Seriously, we can get nailed for some crazy stuff!

Anyway, out-of-context quotes, factual flaws and incorrect statements among other things, may well be what the Random House people actually believe.

It's not enough in the field of law to just quote someone. Especially if it's your opponent: You have to take everything that person says, does, has ever said, and has ever done, and try to seek a conclusion BEYOND what your opponent wants the judge to believe. You have to find a pattern in that person's words and behavior that that person himself insists isn't there, and say to the judge, "See? He says this, but he MEANS this, and here's why."

That's not misrepresentation or intellectual dishonesty so much as attempts at analysis. Maybe it's bad analysis, but that's the adversarial system.

Look at the Nancy Stouffer case. There ARE people who bring plagiarism and copyright infringement cases trying to profit off a bestseller.

I am NOT saying you're lying or that Random House's people are right--just that they are most likely trawling through your actions and words trying to pick stuff out that makes you look more like Nancy Stouffer and less like the victim of a plagiarist.

Maybe in Dan Brown's mind (and what he's told his people at Random House) he DIDN'T plagiarize: he just did "research" or got "non-copyrightable" ideas from your books. Or maybe he read your books and didn't tell his Random house lawyers at all about it. Or maybe he did and they told him not to bring it up becaue although they don't think it was REALLY plagiarism, they're afraid it'll be prejudicial.

Again, I'm playing devil's advocate here (or maybe lawyer's advocate--law school does that to a girl.) It's entirely possible that these guys are as crooked as a dog's hind leg (I sure as hell hope not, because that's the kind of legal job I'd like someday, at a publishing house with writers and copyright law!) Or maybe they're just trying to do an analysis and make a good case. Hard to tell the difference sometimes.

Thu May 12, 06:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Actually, I'm NOT on the legal profession's case ... other than to point out that the vast majority are honest but too silent and have been hijacked by those for whom sharp business practices are acceptable.

I like attorneys, respect most of them, have many for friends and truly enjoy the challenging discussions and quick minds.

In addition, the RH attorneys cannot plead ignorance. Their distortions and factual errors have been pointed out to them, both in legal filings and on this blog which, people tell me, they read.

A mistake is forgivable. But to repeat an error in court after having been shown the proof of the error is unacceptable.

Thu May 12, 07:24:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Mark said...

"He was amazed how the lawyer could make up the lie on the spot."

That's a line from The Testament, by John Grisham. It's an unfair stereotype, but it ocurrs as a strategy nonetheless.

Thu May 12, 08:21:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Lewis Perdue said...

Yes, Mark -- Unfortunately there is a lot of truth to that. I still believe that most attorneys are honest, but their honesty has been coerced into the closet by a combination of dishonest bullies and ethics boards composed of lawyers who allow the abuses to continue.

In many cases, it would be better to have civilians -- non-lawyers -- on the bar association ethics boards to offer a reality check and a foundation that honest attorneys can build upon.

It's just like the cultural shifts in Mississippi - decent people were coerced into silence. It took Emmitt Till and Dr. MLK Jr. to shock people into seeing the evil, and federal troops and the FBI to allow decency a place to grow.

I keep returning to Mississippi as an example because my next book,Perfect Killer is set in Mississippi and tries to deal with the question of why so many people were so quiet -- good, moral people who knew that the system was evil and did nothing.

It was an emotionally torturing experience and most, I believe, dealt with it by learning how to be blind to the evil.

At some point, someone with power and clout needs to stand up and say, "Enough is enough. If you can't tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then shut the hell up!"

Will that come from within the legal community or will it take a disaster, a scandal?

Thu May 12, 09:52:00 AM PDT  

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