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Lawyer brilliantly bites township trying to shut his client's site
CNet ^ | 6/19/13 | Chris Matyszczyk

Posted on 06/20/2013 8:45:18 AM PDT by LibWhacker

The temptation to bully can be too great to resist.

If you don't like something or the someone who's done that something, you want to squish them -- if you're bigger than they are, that is.

One method often used is to get a fancy lawyer to write a cease-and-desist letter, designed to stop the recipient from breathing.

The township of West Orange, N.J., decided that Jake Freivald was a nail for its hammer. He had exercised sufficient temerity to operate a Web site called

It's not a fancy site. And it certainly doesn't purport to have any affiliation with the township. Ah, but that's not how the township saw it.

So it got a fancy lawyer called Richard D. Trenk to send Freivald a chilling cease-and-desist letter.

For his part, Freivald got himself a lawyer whose fanciness extends to his sense of humanity. He appears still to be in touch with his humorous particles and clearly isn't fond of bullies.

So Stephen B. Kaplitt wrote to the township's lawyer, eschewing ink in favor of hilarious acid.

Freivald posted it to a forum, where it still holds pride of place. (My regular and serious reading of Above The Law directed me there.)

The letter began: "I am pro bono counsel to Jake Freivald and write in response to your 'cease and desist' letter," dated May 13 2013, regarding his domain Obviously it was sent in jest, and the world can certainly use more satire."

The official West Orange site. So similar, no? (Credit: Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

Warming to his tune, Kaplitt wrote:

Not that we didn't get the joke...but since Mr. Freivald had not previously encountered a humorous lawyer, he actually thought your letter may have been a serious effort by the Township to protect its legitimate interests. Rest assured, I've at least convinced him that it was certainly not some impulsive, ham-fisted attempt to bully a local resident solely because of his well-known political views. After all, as lawyers you and I both know that would be flagrantly unconstitutional and would also, in the words of my 4-year-old, make you a big meanie.

I have embedded the whole letter for your delectation. It reads as if Louis CK had suddenly entered the legal profession.

Kaplitt does bother to explain that there are many, many sites that have "westorange" as the main part of their domain name.

He then devolves into legalese, offers a little case law but still hopes this is all one big joke.

He explains that a site that his client says cost $3.17 to set up (yes, free hosting) cannot be compared with the $35,000 (plus $5,000 per year hosting and maintenance) that the township allegedly pays.

Kaplitt even takes the opportunity to ask for a refund on his own property taxes.

I have contacted Kaplitt to see whether he has received any response to his passionate defense of his client's rights. I will update, should I hear.

There's something heart-stirring about the little guy being defended with such elegant ease, attention to detail and appeal to humanity.

Stephen Kaplitt: Cease and Desist Response Letter

Stephen B. Kaplitt
Member of the Bar in New York * New Jersey * Maryland * District of Columbia (inactive)
1271 Avenue of the Americas
Suite 4300
New York, NY 10020

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: orange; slapp; suit; west
I hope isn't some extreme leftwing outfit. The website is swamped so I can't check it out. But since I'm opposed to SLAPP suits in general and since two-thirds of West Orange, NJ voters voted for Obama in '08, I suspect this is a case of fascist libs trying to shut down a conservative website, and I'm not too worried about it.
1 posted on 06/20/2013 8:45:18 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

This was posted here yesterday.


2 posted on 06/20/2013 8:51:43 AM PDT by alexander_busek (Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.)
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To: alexander_busek
Thanks, you mean this one? No wonder I didn't find it; it's not the same article.
3 posted on 06/20/2013 8:56:22 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker
I hope Mr. Kaplitt gets a talk radio show. Does he have enough material for a book? He has a great sense of humor and an attitude that I enjoy.
4 posted on 06/20/2013 8:58:55 AM PDT by TWhiteBear (Sarah Palin...The Flame of the North)
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To: alexander_busek

Not everyone stays on site 24/7.

Know telling how much I would miss if on occasions some one doesn’t re-post an article of interest.

5 posted on 06/20/2013 9:02:09 AM PDT by CIB-173RDABN (California does not have a money problem, it has a spending problem.)
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To: LibWhacker

The website has free hosting. You don’t get a lot of bandwidth for free.

6 posted on 06/20/2013 9:03:07 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Religious faith in government is far crazier than religious faith in God.)
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To: LibWhacker

Robert Parisi, Mayor of West Orange, is a Democrat. Are you surprised that a Democrat would attempt to use big law to silence his opponents? Well, you shouldnt be, though I doubt that you were.

7 posted on 06/20/2013 9:48:54 AM PDT by ketelone
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To: LibWhacker
This reminds me of a letter from a Cleveland Browns fan (also a lawyer), and the response:

Gentlemen: I am one of your season ticket holders who attends or tries to attend every game. It appears that one of the pastimes of several fans has become the sailing of paper airplanes generally made out of the game programs. As you know, there is risk of serious eye injury and perhaps an ear injury as a result of such airplanes. I am sure that this has been called to your attention and that several of your ushers and policemen witnessed the same.

Please be advised that since you are in a position to control or terminate such action on the part of fans, I will hold you responsible for any injury sustained by any person in my party attending one of your sporting events. It is hoped that this disrespectful and possibly dangerous activity will be terminated.

Very truly yours (name withheld)

The response letter from the Cleveland Stadium Corp lawyer stated:

Dear (name withheld):

Attached is a letter that we received on November 19, 1974. I feel that you should be made aware that some a$$hole is signing your name to stupid letters.

Very truly yours, Cleveland Stadium Corp.

8 posted on 06/20/2013 9:50:29 AM PDT by Go Gordon (Barack McGreevey Obama)
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To: Go Gordon


9 posted on 06/20/2013 9:54:10 AM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

Lol, footnote 1 was my favorite part.

10 posted on 06/20/2013 10:03:42 AM PDT by andyk (I have sworn...eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.)
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To: TWhiteBear

I love this guy, great sense of humor!!

I fully plan on using him the next time I need a hired guy in the people’s republic of New Jersey!

11 posted on 06/20/2013 10:34:49 AM PDT by WomBom ("I read Free Republic for the pictures")
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To: LibWhacker

$28763.22 is 2 years’ worth of property taxes in West Orange. That being said, you can imagine what West Orange is like... rich snooty Jews and entitled class Wall Street Bankers. Total Desperate Houswivesville.

East Orange... totally opposite. It’s like what everyone thinks Detroit is like, but WORSE.

12 posted on 06/20/2013 4:41:24 PM PDT by Rodamala
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