Dennis Howlett writes today about the lawsuit involving Sam Sethi and Mike Arrington and Interserve, Inc., als known in our wrold as TechCrunch. As a disclosure I remember this riff vividly as my friend and partner Tris Hussey was involved in this problem and other friends, Marc Orchant and Oliver Starr were also part of the BlogNation.com which is peripherally part of the overall story. I am not a huge fan of what took place in that business deal and I see what happened as unfortunate to my friends.
I won’t get into the merits of the case, nor will I try to discuss the legal issues as I had plenty of the legal world after working there for 22 years. I do want to comment on the somewhat short sightedness I see on behalf of Mike Arrington and TechCrunch as it relates to the lawsuit. I know that Mike Arrington is giving this lawsuit less than a nuisance value and sees no merit to the claims and perhaps wants it to carry it on for more page views (which of course I am adding to albeit a small amount). I’m afraid that this is just the beginning of something that will give Mr. Sethi more fuel for his feud and make this debacle continue.
Mike has stated that he will not participate in the litigation and that they will ignore it, not planning to subject himself to the litigation process in the UK. I think that is not a bad strategy from a legal standpoint as it carries with it somewhat of a "no harm, no foul" consequence. California Law does not really give much weight to the UK and its judgment, be it a default judgment or otherwise. I should note that a default judgment might have less weight than a judgment on the merits, but I digress. From a business standpoint, I think this might be a bad move.
According to Mike his legal costs could exceed £500,000, to win the case which the experts indicated should not have been a problem. The court would then have awarded Mike his legal costs, but that is like squeezing blood from a turnip as I assume Sethi is not in a position to pay that type of money, given what I know of the Blog Nation debacle. The part here that is troublesome is giving life or a breath or two of life to Sam Sethi and his continued efforts to gain the upper hand and make him appear to be in a better position in his case against Mike Arrington and TechCrunch.
In addition, now Arrington must watch how he works around having this judgment against him in the UK. I am assuming at some point it may be necessary for him to do business there or to collect from advertisers there or to get money from the UK. I am assuming that any funds due to him or his company from that jurisdiction can be attached or to some effect, garnished to satisfy the judgment. He has already canceled to speak at an event he told the organizers he would be a part of and who knows how many other ventures he must cancel or at least not appear for in the UK. I am not sure the limitation on satisfying judgments in the UK, but I can assure you that Sethi will be waiting at the opportunity to get his shot in to collect if only a dollar of the judgment. The time to put this to bed is now. The time to finish it is here. If not, this could drag on for some time. As I stated above, that could be what we are looking for from someone that wants to sensationalize it.
If you are a person that is owed money as a result of the Blog Nation debacle, it might provide fruitful to see if you can attach your own judgment to funds related to the Sethi’s judgment. Who knows it might work. It is by far more than you will get if you are waiting for an old paycheck to clear.
Photo above via CrunchNotes*
*I wanted to point out the labeled photo on CrunchNotes is "sethiissuchadick.jpg" :) Classic.