Victim Blaming? So The Dentist Claims

The twists and turns of internet intrigue provide a never-ending source of amusement and bewilderment.  When I received a DMCA takedown notice from Carl David Ceder, the Texas Dipshit, he denied knowing anything about it.

He has not yet explained how this DMCA notice was sent (though he insists he doesn’t even know what it is).

Who stole Carl Ceder’s name, email, shoes and license to use his pic?  Heh. Who believes his bullshit is the real question.

But now, it appears to be an epidemic of people stealing other people’s identities to take legal action in their name. From Paul Alan Levy at Public Citizen, the latest victim is dentist Mitul Patel, who got nabbed going after Matthew Chan for leaving a Yelp review that said he pulled a bait and switch on him:

Chan reported that he was confronted with a hard pitch for additional, more expensive services, and Patel allegedly lost interest in providing the cleaning when Chan was not agreeable to buying additional services. I am in no position to say whether Chan’s criticisms of Patel are fair or accurate, but Patel’s sneaky response to the criticism, instead of just suing his detractor in the Georgia courts, tends to suggest that Chan might well have reason to complain.

According to court docs, Patel sued Chan in Maryland, claiming that he resided there rather than Georgia, where both Patel and Chan reside, and then doubled down with a pretty remarkable filing, a consent motion purportedly signed by Chan with a Maryland address conceding defamation. Except it wasn’t Chan.

Now, Paul has received a demand letter asserting that not only wasn’t it Chan, but it wasn’t Mitul Patel either:

Patel’s counsel, a lawyer whose blog suggests that he specializes in representing dentists, admits that the lawsuit was a fraudulent proceeding, while insisting that it was his client that is the main victim of the fraud, because Patel never authorized the lawsuit, had nothing to do with it, did not even know about the suit until I published my blog article, and yet has had his reputation affected by the fact that Patel’s name is on the complaint as plaintiff.  Patel’s lawyer promises that his client intends to seek damages from the person or company that filed the proceeding, as well as pursuing the possibility that the filing was a crime.

What sort of sick, twisted miscreant is running about the legal system filing lawsuits against Matthew Chan in the name of Mitul Patel over some unflattering online reviews?

But I find some of Patel’s claims of innocence to be suspect.  My response to Patel’s demand letter, identifies multiple reasons to question the veracity of Patel’s claim that he knew nothing about the lawsuit before I published my article on Friday.  Most important, Yelp received emails from one of Patel’s confirmed email addresses, seeking to take advantage of the existence of the consent order to get Chan’s review taken down.  Unless the email address was spoofed, this certainly suggests that even if  Patel was not involved in obtaining the fraudulent order, he had no compunction about taking advantage of that order.   I will be waiting to hear from Patel’s counsel whether Patel disavows these emails and claims that his email address was spoofed.

Is it possible that someone spoofed Patel’s email? Well, sure. And there are space aliens living amongst us as I type. But it fails to address the big question, why the hell would anyone else give a damn about Patel’s bad reviews?

Actually, there is a likely answer, but it doesn’t help people like Patel or the Texas Dipshit to look any better.

My letter raises the possibility that perhaps Patel retained a reputation management outfit to perform SEO miracles on Patel’s behalf, and that such a company might have perpetrated this fraud in pursuit of that assignment, while giving Patel deniability by not burdening him with knowledge of the sordid details.   In a subsequent conversation, Patel’s lawyer admitted to me that Patel did hire such a company, but he refused to identify it, saying that he needed to pursue further investigation about who it is that is responsible for the fraudulent Maryland filings.

So somebody who did something bad gets nailed for it on the internets and, listening to too much talk radio, believes the advertisements that some reputation management company can make reality disappear and create that fabulous internet persona that will make you filthy rich.

So they hire these highly-trained professionals, like Patrick Zarrelli, to do their bidding, fix their internet reputation, which is much easier than not sucking in the first place, and give them free rein to do their voodoo.

Maybe they know in advance? Maybe they only learn afterward? Who knows. But they find out that these fixers are engaged in conduct determined to invoke the Streisand Effect and take their really bad, though hard-earned and well-deserved, internet reputations and turn them into a steaming pile of dog poop in perpetuity.

When that happens, they claim they had nothing to do with it. They’re the victims! How dare you blame the victims. Seems totally legit. As if they aren’t totally responsible for the fraud committed by the sleazeballs they hire to dig them out of the cesspool they created for themselves on the internet.

23 thoughts on “Victim Blaming? So The Dentist Claims

      1. REvers

        Around these parts, they take your name even if it’s a cash payment. They want to know whose name to put on the receipt.

        It seems like no matter what name was in the court records, finding out what it was would tell you something.

      2. Oscar Michelen

        Scott: I am advising Matt Chan on this. We checked with the court it was indeed paid in cash.

        1. SHG Post author

          Glad to hear he has two excellent lawyers like you and Paul at his sides. Now, the ball is in Oberman’s court. Either his client did the dirty in Maryland or someone in his client’s employ. And if the latter, why is he concealing the party, if it’s not his client, who committed a crime?

  1. Patrick Maupin

    I offer better value for the money. Pay me and I won’t go around the country filing random suits in random venues in your name.

  2. angrychiatty

    Putting aside the fact that the explanation given is so obviously bullshit, may I ask why oh why are there so many lawyers who initiate contact with an adversarial/threatening/hardass tone when such an approach is so obviously misguided. I have seen examples of this time and time again from these types posted on your blog. In this case, you would think if your client was really the victim of identity fraud you would first approach the blog author with a light touch, appealing to their sense of decency and fairness as opposed to making some sort of idiotic and legally unsupportable threat.

      1. David

        That wasn’t a very adversarial/threatening/hardass tone of a response, I’m disappointed, considering some of the responses I’ve seen to e.g. someone who dares to compliment you…

        1. SHG Post author

          First, I like to switch it. It can get boring on my end. Second, there is nothing less illuminating than a compliment.

    1. MonitorsMost

      Partially because reasonable opening correspondence from an attorney doesn’t get posted online.

      And unfortunately, partially because throwing gasoline on a fire instead of water helps keep the meter running. Clients often come to you indignant and wanting to be aggressive. Far too many attorneys indulge them instead of remembering “about half of the practice of a decent lawyer is telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.” McCandless v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., 697 F.2d 198, 201-02 (7th Cir. 1983).

      1. SHG Post author

        What is it with lawyers who can’t restrain their compulsion to “explain” stuff when someone wants to go off topic and take a dive down the friggin’ rabbit hole. Are you twelve? Have you no self-control at all?

        1. MonitorsMost

          I would say I’m a millennial, but that doesn’t excuse my behavior. I’m sorry I assisted someone in derailing the comments to your post.

          Award me no points, mercy on my soul, etc.

  3. Norahc

    This has a combination flavor of Prenda and Zarelli. PR management in the vein of “you may govern your actions accordingly.”

    And yes, it still leaves a nasty taste in your mouth.

      1. Patrick Maupin

        But it was “new, improved, now with a twist of Zarelli!”

        It’s the difference between a dog turd and a dog turd soaked in piss. Like when I asked what the big deal was about soft-shell crabs the first time I ate them — “it’s a texture thing.”

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