Wednesday, November 14

Lawyer Loses Case on Sex Poems? We Are Back in Business!

Whew – a somber day followed by a day of dead air – we're lucky anyone's still out there. Are you still out there?

Well, we hope so, because CE is returning to its bread and butter today, starting with a cautionary tale coming out of the 1st Circuit that we had to ignore on Monday.

We'll spoil it for you: if you're going to write love notes to coworkers, don't sue when you get fired.

Until now, we've always assumed British guys in their 60's living in the states could do pretty much whatever they wanted. (Girls go crazy for that accent. It's ridiculous.) Apparently, so did David Bennett. The ex-pat IP lawyer was fired from a corporation in Massachusetts, and he sued for age discrimination, among other things.

The problem was, he was fired for allegedly penning a series of anonymous, sexually-tinged love poems to a coworker. Though he denied writing the poems, he was ultimately implicated because many of the spellings and words were in the King's English, and not our west-of-the-atlantic, bastardized hog-talk. We can only assume this was a way of invoking the bright line rule about girls and accents espoused above. Plus, they hired a handwriting expert, which is an area of science we honestly thought was made up for 80's cop shows and CSI.

The other (read: actual) important thing to remember from the case is that, in the end, it didn't matter whether Bennett wrote the poems or not. From the ABA Journal:

Whether or not Bennett actually was the author was "largely beside the point," the panel wrote. "(W)hat counts is whether the decision-maker ... believed the plaintiff to be the author and, if so, whether he acted on that belief in deciding to send the plaintiff packing."

One last thing - when they asked Bennett if he wrote the poems he denied it, and then he said he had never composed a poem in his life. A search of Bennett's desk revealed a whole collection of other poems in his handwriting. Remind you of anyone? We'll simply repeat our often-repeated plea: Before you file that lawsuit that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take years to fully resolve, THINK ABOUT HOW DIRTY YOUR OWN FRIGGING LAUNDRY IS!

Or don't. This stuff is a boon for us.