Rakofsky’s Dedicated Life

It was a simple question: Is this going to be his life?

One of my co-defendants in  Rakofsky v. Internet came to the realization that the  Rakofsky Effect was playing out, meaning that  Bennett’s first rule might apply.  When a second amended complaint with 1248 paragraphs covering more than 300 pages arrives, it’s a pretty good indication that the synapses aren’t shooting the same way they do in other people’s lobes.

My co-defendant went on:

I can see him sitting alone in his room in the middle of the night, laughing maniacally, tapping away at his keyboard, muttering “this will get ’em,” as he wipes drool from the corner of the mouth hole in his Guy Fawkes mask.

I saw the image too.

He’s adding in the new evil-doers who’ve maligned him, one by one they will feel his wrath and pay for their insolence.  He’s attacked his one-time pal, confidant, co-conspirator, for his disloyalty and abandonment.  He’s seized upon the lunacy of internet mobbing, that all but the teacup fringe realize is a joke.

My co-defendant’s question was a simple one, easily understood by any lawyer who has dealt with the insane.  Will this be the obsession to which one deeply trouble young man will dedicate his life, never to let go, never to give up, never to stop as long as there are dark nights and power surging in his computer?

In the beginning, this was a matter of a young lawyer who did what so many others would have done, reached beyond himself for the dollar at the expense of a murder defendant, Dontrell Deaner.  At this point, most have forgotten that this was about saving the Dontrell Deaners, the defendants entitled to competent counsel because their lives depended on it.  Instead, they got puffery.

But it now appears that Joseph Rakofsky isn’t like the other young lawyers who want to be something they’re not.  Most of them would have learned something from the universal condemnation.  Most would have grasped their horrible mistake quickly. A few would have taken longer, but eventually come to the harsh realization that they blew any chance at redemption.

This one, however, has enjoyed no epiphany.  This one will fight to the death.  He will add, and redo, and redouble, and fight.  This isn’t tenacity, an excellent trait in a lawyer.  This isn’t mere stupidity.  This is pathologic obsession. 

If he was just a lonely, isolated kid whose mind failed to connect that which others did naturally, we might feel badly for him, speak to him in dulcet tones and comfort him, that with the right help, everything will eventually be okay. 

But he’s not a sympathetic figure.  He’s on the attack.  And he will continue to attack, and when he loses, as he must, he will attack some more.  Whether it’s other jurisdictions or appeals, or new causes of action or bizarre theories, it will never be over in his head.

There’s been comfort along the way, some encouraging words by lawyers with their own psychological issues and deficits, and a cash infusion by a law school’s insurer that couldn’t be bothered.  Perhaps he wraps himself up in these small comforts, believing that he must be right and righteous or they wouldn’t be behind him.  Sick minds take comfort wherever they can find it.  Sick minds tend to find each other.

The expectation when Joseph Rakofsky first began this quest for vindication was that it would be buried under a deluge of motions to dismiss, with the imposition of costs as a much needed lesson that the legal system won’t be used to shut down the sound of criticism.  And then a young lawyer, likely to quickly be a former young lawyer, would slink away into obscurity, his life only serving the purpose of being an example to others of how not to behave.

It now seems unlikely that this will be the future.  My answer to the co-defendant’s question is yes, based upon what I see in this new complaint, I expect this will be his life.  He has crossed the bridge into that strange and dark place the sane people can’t go, and late at night, he will sit there and think of new ways to get back at the people he thinks have ruined his life, his plans of greatness, his future.

Only a disturbed person does what Joseph Rakofsky has done.  Given the nature of the internet, I expect others wearing tin foil hats to come to his defense, raging against whatever demons live inside their heads.  And he will be emboldened to stay awake another night dreaming up his revenge.

Yes, this is going to be Joseph Rakofsky’s life, his vendetta. It started with Dontrell Deaner, but it will be Joseph Rakofsky who serves a life sentence of his own making in the prison of his own mind.

22 thoughts on “Rakofsky’s Dedicated Life

  1. AH

    Out of morbid curiosity I have read some of Rakofsky’s pleadings. He is brazenly incompetent and exercises horrible judgment. That he had the same incompetence and bad judgment in the murder case, as in this frivolous lawsuit is terrifying.

    He seems to have no ability to think strategically. What is the ultimate outcome that he seeks? Does he understand that his suit is frivolous? If so, did he expect to get a retraction and some cash because of the inconvenience of defending? Didn’t he understand that the Washington Post would spend a million dollars on legal fees before it paid one dollar in damages? Didn’t he foresee that 50 bloggers might jointly hire a lawyer to minimize cost? What was his Plan B, if the opposition didn’t cave?

    Rakofsky better secretly hope that the judge dismisses this quickly. If this is protracted, he’ll pay a fortune in sanctions to his opponents.

  2. John Burgess

    We all now know that student loan debt is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Are sanctions dischargeable?

    If not, Mr. R is going to be eating off-brand Cheetos for the rest of his life, hoping his mother lives a long life herself so that she can provide his basement accommodations.

  3. Andrew

    Remember, he *did* get some cash because of the “inconvenience of defending” or some other excuse. Maybe he’ll put that $5,000 to good use doing something besides continuing pointless lawsuits, but probably not.

  4. John Beaty

    Unfortunately, I think he feels that he has no other option: it has gotten to the point where to back down would be akin to suicide (he feels.)
    It’s also, to my mind, past the point of being an object lesson to others. No good can come from this. Very sad. Having been caught up for years with a psychotic person, I have great sympathy for all you folks.

  5. Leslie Sammis

    Wouldn’t a psychiatrist just call it mental illness that evolved into paranoid litigious delusions? Now it is just a story about the way attorneys deal with being sued by a crazy person with a law degree.

  6. SHG

    If all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. We’re lawyers, not psychiatrists.  On the other hand, it’s unclear which came first, litigation or delusions, though I would be surprised if Rakofsky wasn’t ripe for paranoia. 

    The question I have is whether anyone at Touro law school recognized a problem that would eventually impair his ability to practice law, but let him through anyway to keep the tuition checks coming.

  7. Erika

    I find the delay he cited in his affadavit between his taking the bar exam which he listed as July 2009 and admission in April 2010 being a bit intriguing in that regard.

    Maybe New Jersey is just slow at getting people admitted.

  8. Barbara Burke

    Does your gratuitous cheap shot at Touro Law Center serve any useful purpose? We can no more blame Touro for Rakovsky’s incompetency then we can place blame on, oh say, Yale Law School for the evils of John Yoo.

  9. SHG

    Cheap, yes. Gratuitous, no. And if Rakofsky went to Yale, I would have blamed Yale law school for not seeing a problem, as I have with other law schools when they dropped the ball.

    The difference, of course, is that students at Touro are unduly sensitive to any criticism of their school. Yale students aren’t bothered at all. Any thoughts as to why that might be?

  10. DC Dane

    This is nothing! I’m sure that almost every employment law attorney out there has at least one story about a crazy former employee who will never stop suing (or at filing unintelligible complaints), and for whom doing so has become their life’s focus.

    I don’t think these pleadings have crossed that line, although the potential is there…

  11. Konrad

    He’s at the age where psychosis usually begins to surface in men. Even then, you don’t go to hearing voices and wearing tin-foil hats overnight.

    Early symptoms of mania include being energetic, spontaneous, over-confident, and having a passion (some might say a compulsion) that drives one to work tirelessly for hours or even days on end. Do you suppose someone like that would stick out among a group of law or pre-med students?

    These same traits are called “qualities” in an ambitious person, “symptoms” when they precede psychosis, and “intoxication” or “medical treatment” when caused by moderate amounts of cocaine or Adderall. When used in immoderate amounts, these last two can cause a (temporary) psychosis indistinguishable from the kind seen in mental illness.

    You expect the schools to figure that one out?

  12. SHG

    Expect? No. The law schools never manage to find any paying student who presents as someone who shouldn’t continue to pay be a lawyer.

    Very interesting comment, and well put. Thanks.

  13. Konrad

    A common link to psychotic behavior seems to be sleep disturbances. Total sleep deprivation isn’t necessary. Some animals eventually die if you wake them too often to prevent deep sleep. Not humans though; they’ll just wish they were dead.

    There are more subtle methods, too. Remember Tom Hanks and his friend Wilson, the volleyball? Isolation does that in some people more readily than in others. More intense sensory deprivation can produce hallucinations and paranoia shockingly quickly.

    So let’s say Tom Hanks washes up in Cuba and the evil commies take him prisoner. They won’t even give him a volleyball to talk to, but make him wear dark goggles, earmuffs and mitts to deprive him of stimulus. When he’s not being forced to sit motionless in the sun, they move him from cell to cell every hour so he can’t sleep.

    Add in a lot of stress, and that’s how I would imagine the perfect storm of soul-crushing madness. You didn’t ask, but I thought I’d throw that out there.

  14. Jordan

    We already know what it means to file endless amounts of amendments and pleadings in an effort to silence your critics…

    So what does is it called to file an endless amount of motions, most of which request relief a court can’t even give, while also throwing in a few things that, in the context of all the crazy stuff actually seem okay on first glance, but only because the other stuff is so crazy?

    For example, I’m going to file a motion requesting opposing counsel to make me a ham sandwich, requesting sanctions against my wife for failure to clean, a motion requesting an order for a two year discovery period, and a motion seeking to compel my cats to stop scratching on the couch and waking me up in the morning.

    How much you wanna bet I get the two year discovery period? I should start giving seminars about this…

  15. SHG

    Oh, so close. Thank you for playing. 

    Rule 11 is a federal rule of civil procedure, and this is a state court case where there is no rule 11. 

  16. Barbara Burke

    Most state courts have a rule comparable to FRCP 11. For example,New York’s CPLR 8303-a which covers frivolous claims and costs would be applicable to this case.

  17. SHG

    Similar, but very rarely used. This might, however, be a case where the judge is inclined to award costs, as rarely has a claim ever been as frivolous.

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