Discussion of the Bragg. v. Linden Labs Pleadings
So much for the short, vague style of complaint that Levin advocated. Comments on either content or style?
kstalter: Given what Martin said about writing a complaint, the Bragg complaint struck me as going into too much particularlity.
Sneddon: The complaint does create useful analogies (the Disney analogy) to some pretty complex property issues though. It's a good example of making a technical legal argument more readily understandable. It's still an interesting strategy question whether you want to be that particular (even about your analogies) at the complaint phase.
JP: Sure, the analogies are interesting. But the only purpose for *this* document is convince the court that a legal issue exists. Why give the court a reason to start thinking you are wrong? Why let the other side know your rhetorical strategy? (Or is the plaintiff also writing this document for the second life community, trying to get them on his side?)
JD: Some lawyers believe it creates a psychological advantage that 'overwhelms' the defendant by sheer verbosity. Given the small $$$ that Bragg has lost, he may simply have been trying to persuade/harange Linden into a quick settlement to avoid the mess.
- JP: You think Bragg and/or his attorneys would put that much time into creating a document, in hopes of getting a small settlement? I doubt they'd recoup their costs.
- JD: I've seen it many times - plaintiff loads up the Complaint with selective quotes from defendants which are intermingled with wild hoo-ha (totally unnecessary and actually contrary to many states/Fed Rules), drops in many references to Big Names (Lessig, Bezos, etc.) and hopes that defendant will fold quickly in an effort to avoid entangling their powerful friends in what seems, on the face of it, to be a mess. Sometimes, I suppose, this ruse gets traction and someone says 'I don't care how ridiculous it seems, we have to make it go away.'
JP: An article written by the lawyer who is representing Bragg (not us, the real lawyer) is here. He briefly explores the "staggering" speculative damages that might be deserved in the real-world when "the gods" of a virtual world appropriate the virtual property of real world people.
Marc: My hat off to you for your time, energy, and the effort you are investing in your education using this lawsuit as a point of inquiry, and especially evidence, one of my most favorite classes while in law school. Jason, my attorney, has properly cautioned me from joining in these discussions, but I think in the pursuit of intellectual honesty, that at times the risk of my words being used against me, to me, is worth the risk to further an honest inquiry into the reasons that things happen. The reason the original complaint was so long, in my opinion, is because it was filed in state court which requires "fact pleading" here in Pennsylvania as opposed to "notice pleading" in the federal court; and given the new and important theories at work, I would suspect that Jason found it more prudent to take the time to educate the court regarding the facts and background / context in which the case arose. As for quick settlement, that is not the goal. The goal here for me was to have my rights defined and to insist that real world laws take precedence in whatever they ultimately organically evolve. I filed first in small claims court simply to recover my losses, but when I began receiving numerous emails from others that felt the same as me, I believed that the small amount of money I lost was out of proportion to the far greater value of the rights of many that were at issue. I look forward to watching your class continue and wish I'd had the same opportunity to have explored evidence in an environment like Second Life. Conceptually, I think this type of platform is nicely suited for such educational pursuits. Best of luck to you all!