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Russo & Hale, our law firm, sues us

Friday, March 23, 2007 by Dave Winer.

On March 12, I wrote a cautionary tale, part of the history of UserLand. The story was written in a general way, and raised a bunch of questions. Today I'd like to answer some of those questions. Permalink to this paragraph

1. It's really weird to be sued by your lawyer. Not a very nice feeling. Sort of like being made sick by your doctor, deliberately. Permalink to this paragraph

2. There are now two UserLands: The original company, and a new one which was formed in 2004 to market Manila and Radio, to create incentives for a new management team, and to settle claims by our law firm.  Permalink to this paragraph

3. I stopped working for UserLand in 2002, for health reasons, but I never sold my stock. Today I own 90 percent of the original company, and more than 50 percent of the new company. Permalink to this paragraph

4. Jack Russo was UserLand's attorney, a board member, secretary and my personal attorney, from 1988 to 2005.  Permalink to this paragraph

5. Russo and his law firm, Russo & Hale sued UserLand, Scripting News, and myself, in August 2006. Earlier this month, the court ruled to disqualify Russo & Hale from representing UserLand's shareholders due to conflicts of interest. Their strategy was clear -- to force me to spend a lot of money on lawyers while they used their own in-house, relatively inexpensive, legal resources.  Permalink to this paragraph

6. In the 2004 settlement, Russo released all claims with UserLand and myself. He was compensated with a large share of the stock in the new company. He drafted the agreement, it was signed in his office in Palo Alto.  Permalink to this paragraph

7. As I said in the previous piece, the company was in awful legal condition. While I take blame for that, as founder and former CEO, some of the responsibility must also lie with Russo, as the company's lawyer.  Permalink to this paragraph

PS: I wrote a review of Russo & Hale on Propinions. Permalink to this paragraph

© Copyright 1994-2007 Dave Winer. Last update: 3/31/2007; 9:22:53 PM Pacific. "It's even worse than it appears."

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