Brian Hill: Righthaven may be hit for fees even after dropping suit against autistic blogger

Thumbnail image for brian hills photo cropped.JPG
Brian Hill.
Earlier this week, amid a flurry of criticism and bad publicity, Nevada-based Righthaven LLC dropped its copyright infringement lawsuit against chronically ill, mildly autistic blogger Brian Hill for unauthorized use of a single Denver Post photo. But if the folks at the firm thought they'd permanently washed their hands of Hill, they were wrong -- because a new hearing has just been ordered.

In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Fort Collins-based lawyer David Kerr, who represented the financially strapped Hill pro bono, asked for attorney's fees. Most of that document was mooted by Righthaven's subsequent white-flag filing -- a notice that included snarky comments aimed at Hill and Kerr and a warning to other individuals being sued by Righthaven not to expect the outfit to withdraw. But U.S. District Judge John Kane, who ordered Righthaven's extraneous insults and threats stricken from the record, has ordered the company to file a response regarding the request for attorney's fees by May 5 and set a hearing on the topic for May 19.

In the end, Righthaven, whose business model is predicated on defendants paying to avoid court (Hill was given the chance to fork over $6,000), may wind up shelling out in a case that it belatedly decided not to pursue.

Which Hill's supporters will undoubtedly find suitably ironic.

More from our Media archive: "Denver Post parent MediaNews Group puts Mike Rosen column at center of copyright suit."

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Gnat K. Coal
Gnat K. Coal

Brian Hill should countersue for emotional distress, malicious prosecution and abuse of court resources.

Lawyers are Scumbags
Lawyers are Scumbags

In other words, Kerr did not take the case "pro bono." He took it on contingency. There's a big difference.

Why not just say that up front, David? You're not a bit better than Right Haven. Legal integrity now there's an oxymoron.

Boulder Med Cannabis
Boulder Med Cannabis

that's okay. he did good. now that the clients work is done, he is going after getting paid by someone who is able. plenty fair. more lawyering should be done this way.

Lawyers are Scumbags
Lawyers are Scumbags

Look up the definition of "pro bono." It doesn't say "until I figure out a way to make a dollar out of it." Mr. Kerr should have just been honest up front and said, "I'll do it on contingency" but he chose the other option. Here's an idea. Let's have Mr. Kerr volunteer to donate the money to Brian, so this white southerner on welfare can continue to exercise his free speech and make videos saying "Obama is trying to make us HIS slaves." The world needs another lawyer like it needs another Glenn Beck. There are no heroes in this situation.

Amadi
Amadi

Pro bono means without fee to the client. It is not unusual for attorneys to recover fees from the opposing side via filing, especially in situations like this.

Lawyers are Scumbags
Lawyers are Scumbags

So that puts him in the same category as Frank Azar. They're all ambulance chasers, which is exactly my point. It's not about helping anybody. It's about putting dollars in their pockets. Take another toke, genius.

Al
Al

@Amadi. I'm quite familiar with what "pro bono" is. You, however, made that up.

It took two seconds to Google the definition of pro bono, which is "done for the public good without compensation."

Kerr is typical lawyer.

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