Rakofsky v. Internet*

You would think it bad enough for a young lawyer to become the poster boy for incompetence and deception.  Not for Joseph Rakofsky, whose hubris similarly exceeds his grasp.  After getting slammed by, well, everyone, he’s thought long and hard.  Very long and hard.  And came up with a plan.  Rakofsky v. Internet.

The rote expectation of insipid lawyers is that by bringing suit, something will come of it if for no other reason than to avoid whatever minor annoyance even the most frivolous action brings.  Sometimes it works.  Not this time, however.  Rakofsky has sued 74 defendants, ranging from the Washington Post to the American Bar Association to a who’s who of the blawgosphere.  Plans are in the works for the biggest blawger party ever, to be held in New York as the venue of choice.

Blawgers who weren’t sued are now scrambling, feeling embarrassed for not having made the cut.  Not only do they not care about being named as defendants, but they don’t want to be left off the list.

Sadly, many of the named defendants will never get a chance to play.  The substance of the action is not merely frivolous, but the action was brought in New York Supreme Court, and had Rakofsky’s lawyer done some homework, he would learn that New York’s long arm statute expressly excludes defamation.  The out-of-state defendants are not amenable to suit in New York.  Perhaps they will traverse the nation, even the continent since they’ve named Canadians as well, to vigorously pursue this action.  Perhaps not.

The first question that spread around the room was whether Rakofsky was pro se, as it was hard to imagine that any lawyer would take such a frivolous case.  The answer is that Rakofsky was represented by a lawyer named Richard Borzouye, who gives the same 14 Wall Street office address used by Rakofsky and operated by Regus.

Far too much is known about Rakofsky already, his claims of having “founded []his firm on a commitment to set the standard for criminal defense in New York City,” which would have flown better had he been admitted to practice law in New York, or his “extensive and intricate understanding of legal procedures and loopholes, as well as federal and state trial experience,” which would have made more sense if he had any trial experience. 

So eyes turned to Borzouye, wondering who would have taken on such a frivolous case and drafted such a ridiculous (and procedurally defective) complaint?  He appears to be licensed to practice law in New York, though the “bar code,” a phrase not typically used in New York (outside of a supermarket setting), doesn’t reflect his New York attorney registration number. 

Borzouye doesn’t have quite the extensive web presence that Rakofsky had, before he deleted as much as he could following his self-immolation, but his advertising  on CraigsList and in the  Pennysaver provides some insight.

I practice criminal law in New York and Federal Court (SDNY & EDNY), covering all 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island & Westchester as well. I am a young, clever, head strong, courageous, hard-nosed warrior, bulldog, passionate, champion, no-nonsense, maverick Litigator who will never stop fighting for you and who knows how the system works. I am a Former 18-B Panel Attorney and I can handle all felonies & misdemeanors with the level of excellence that you deserve in State & Federal Court ranging from violent & capital crimes to White Collar, RICO (civil also), DWI, Fraud (mail, wire, bank), Theft (grand larceny, embezzlement, etc), Drugs/Narcotics, Gangs, Domestic Violence, Sex Crimes, Battery, Robbery, Burglary, Firearms & Weapons, Computer Crimes, Appeals, Probation Violations & Early Termination of Probation. If you or a loved one have been arrested, awaiting arraignment or currently being investigated, Call the Law Offices of RICHARD D. BORZOUYE`, ESQ., 24/7 at (212) 618-1469 at our Wall Street Headquarters during business hours (8:30 am-5:30 pm) or (917) 399-4949 afterwards. We’re right across the street from the New York Stock Exchange. All calls are held strictly confidential. I offer flexible payment plans at a fair hourly rate and I will ferociously defend you at all times. Hire an elite Wall Street Trial Attorney who will not be intimidated by overzealous prosecutors or tough judges, and nor should you. I’M ON YOUR SIDE!!! Representation for federal cases nationwide!

I’ve added some emphasis for fun,  Does a Regus office, the lawyer equivalent of a hot-bed motel, make one an “elite Wall Street Trial Attorney?”  I suppose it does when one is young, clever, head strong, etc., but my guess is that Borzouye won’t live up to his hype. 

The complaint alleges that Rakofsky has suffered such severe mental anguish that he will require psychological treatment for the rest of his life.  That may well be true, given the insanity of his decision to take on the internet and his assumption that someone, everyone, will acquiesce to his demands.  Maybe an elite Wall Street lawyer would have counseled his client differently, but not the ferocious Borzouye, who demands that the court “[p]ermanently restrain[] defendants from publishing the name, portrait or picture of plaintiff without her consent.” 

Astoundingly poor judgment has a way of compounding itself.  A few years back, I might have offered Rakofsky a dime so that he could call his mother and let her know that his career as a lawyer has come to a crashing halt as result of his bad choices.  Borzouye might have gotten a dime as well, now that his puffery comes to light as a result of his decision to be the ferocious lawyer championing Rakofsky’s cause. 

But I suspect they both have cell phones.  They can make the calls on their own dime. 

And yet the utility of Joseph Rakofsky as a role model for young lawyers continues.  Don’t let this happen to you.  It won’t end well.  It never does.  The internet is not a truth-free zone.

As for the case, it will be a minor annoyance like so many others that comprise an ordinary lawyer’s day for the defendants.  Whether other defendants will post about it is up to them.  I see no reason to let a teaching opportunity pass, and the initiation of a frivolous action in a bizarre attempt to recapture lost reputation is hardly a reason for concern.

For the plaintiff, and perhaps his lawyer, this poor decision will likely compound his problems.  Never underestimate a person’s ability to dig the hole deeper.

* Lest anyone wonder, yes, I coined the caption Rakofsky v. Internet.

37 thoughts on “Rakofsky v. Internet*

  1. Jonathan Edelstein

    He’s suing URLs? As “unincorporated associations?”

    I predict that this defamation suit will end every bit as well as Oscar Wilde’s.

  2. BL1Y

    Naming out of state defendants isn’t necessarily a bonehead move. Defendants can waive their objection to lack of personal jurisdiction. A defendant eager to send off an equally hilarious answer might accidentally lose this objection.

  3. SHG

    There have already been rumbles of people opting into the case, despite the fact that there’s no long arm jurisdiction.  Even more peculiar, there are rumbles of people who aren’t named as defendants asking to be impled, or just appearing anyway and demanding defendant status.

  4. Bad Lawyer

    You’re damn lucky!

    Hey, maybe I can claim to be a John Doe…or something. Guess I’ll have to post something about the idiot in solidarity…once Blogger starts working again.

  5. Patrick

    I’m sorry, but did he list an e-mail address as a named defendant? Really?

    “The complaint alleges that Rakofsky has suffered such sever mental anguish that he will require psychological treatment for the rest of his life. That may well be true …”

    Did you just admit injury, turning this into a trial on causation?

  6. SHG

    There are quite a few steps he would have to surmount before anyone would worry about injury, Patrick.  But no, it was sarcasm.  That’s a man thing.

  7. Marty D.

    I see a reality TV show here. On Comedy Central. Rakofsky 4.0. Truth is funnier than fiction.

  8. George Wallace

    Thanks for the quick treatise on New York’s long-arm defamation exception: saved me a lot of investigative work. So he’s a bit of a libel tourist on top of everything else?

    I note that while Rakofsky claims residency in New York (which could even be true, I suppose), he gives a New Jersey address when he signs the complaint.

    Here’s one more intriguing issue: Does New York recognize the doctrine/tort of “spoliation of evidence”? If so, how else to describe Rakofsky’s speedy demolition of his own website, which was very much a subject of the “offending” blog posts?

    From my outpost in Florida (Rakofsky v Internet, par. 56), I am watching every move with the greatest interest.

  9. SHG

    There are so many inexplicable and conflicting details in the complaint that listing them all would prove a monumental bore.  My fav (as noted) is the question of his gender, a completely new issue to my knowledge.

  10. George Wallace

    It is so hard to tell sometimes, with these kids today and their long hair. [Because links are prohibited in ‘Simple Justice’ comments, I will not take this opportunity to point to the Rakofsky MySpace page, or to his exotic guitar stylings on YouTube.]

  11. SHG

    I appreciate that. Having briefly listened to his version of hava nagila, it’s best left alone.

  12. Ken

    I sense an undying meme.

    Wasn’t Ben Stiller’s satirical character in “Tropic Thunder” named “Simple Jack”? We could adopt that. “Never go full Greenfield.”

  13. QuestioningLawyer

    Didn’t he just completely violate his client’s right to attorney/client privilege?

  14. SHG

    I didn’t say it wasn’t true. I’m just a bit sensitive about my, ahem, shortcomings.

  15. Lee Keller King

    I’m sorry; I nodded off after about the 25th page. Did he get the guy off? Did he get the girl? Did he get disbarred, for crying out loud???

    This reminds me of watching the Jerry Springer Show to make yourself feel better about yourself. No matter how bad you may suck as a lawyer, you are probably better than Rakofsky.

    When does his reality show start? 🙂

  16. Marc Garfinkle

    Rakofsky continues to bring disgrace to our noble profession, and his lawsuit suggests to me not only his incompetence as a lawyer, but his lack of depth as a human. A reasonable outcome would recognize this as vexatious litigation and would impose such professional and financial sanctions upon him that he’ll never jeopardize the public or our noble professional again. In his case, the J.D. means “just despicable.” Although I am not a defendant in this kooky case, I asked the teacher subbing for me in my Persuasion and Advocacy class at Seton Hall Law to make the Rakofsky matter a part of the lesson plan. Thank you, Mr. Rakofsky, for providing a measuring stick for future incompetents.

  17. Consigliere46

    By waiving objections to jurisdictions and opting into this circus, defendant wannabes will be subjecting themselves to what promises to be a history-making set of interrogatories. Rakofsky has all the zeal (and a tiny bit more of the knowledge) of the most insane pro se litigants, and will doubtless commit hundreds of Rule 11 (or the New York State equivalent) violations. Of course, the whole issue of needing psychological help for life lends itself wonderfully to a defense of “pre-existing condition.”

    For us practitioners in D.C. Superior Court, it’s been quite the education to watch Fakofsky’s (not a typo) strutting and preening. Did he name himself as a defendant? I wonder how his FaceBook buddies who congratulated him on his Great Victory reacted when the Writ Hit The Fan…

  18. Patrick

    I’d like to point out that the Patrick who wrote that comment is not the same person as the Patrick who comments here most frequently.

    Meaning me.

  19. Nancy

    The only thing that surprises me is that he didn’t add Judge Jackson to the list of defendants. (I almost wish it were possible to do so. I’ll bet the judge’s response would have been well worth reading).

  20. SHG

    That omission is really pretty surprising, given that he alleged collusion between Judge Jackson and the AUSA, as well as the Judge defaming him in open court.

  21. Steve Magas

    I hope his video deposition is scheduled soon, preferably in a large seat arena and simulcast on the new Lawyer’s Network … I’d pay $29.99 to watch that – certainly more entertaining than whoever Manny knocks out next…

  22. PointOfLaw Forum

    Rakovsky v. the Internet

    Joseph Rakovsky’s murder-defense mistrial received a great deal of Internet attention when bloggers discussed a Washington Post story detailing the judge’s criticism of Rakovsky’s performance. Now Rakovsky has found an attorney, Richard Borzouye, willing to sue several dozen bloggers who…

  23. Eddie

    I am putting this index number on my Case Watch list. Some how, some way I will make it to Supreme New York when the various motions to dismiss are argued (and granted) and the Judge rips idiot Rakofsky and his bigger idiot attorney a new one. Will be a joy to watch!! Afterwards you should all gather at the Whiskey Tavern to celebrate.

  24. Melissa

    So you call yourself lawyers…It seems to me that an actual lawyer would be busy working on cases, not engaged in a pissing contest with those who are suing you.
    So you call yourself bloggers…well bloggers have original, interesting material, not words that are taken directly from the Washington Post
    From the above blog and comments, it seems that you are not successful at either…
    I have done a bit or research myself…and if all you have to make fun of an attorney is their Craigs List ad, well,thats not very much is it? There is no doubt in my mind that Rakofsky was a victim of his own hubris and Borzouye is his friend willing to help him out…A lawyer with integrity…judging from your blog, he seems to be the only one left.

  25. SHG

    Ignoring your silly troll arguments, you raise one point that merits a response.  If Borzouye was a friend, and a lawyer of even minimal competence, then his efforts would have been better used to help a young, foolish lawyer from digging deeper.  Instead, he chose to join him in the bottom of the hole, revealing his own puffery and becoming an integral part of the most foolish endeavor by a young lawyer on the internet. 

    Friends don’t let friends get stupider.  And they don’t ask friends to troll the internet writing dumbass comments.

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