It is so easy as a lawyer to get frustrated with the many deficiencies of the Legal System. It is easy to blame yourself, and often it seems, the world blames the legal profession. It is all the more important then to celebrate whenever the system has worked.
My colleague, Donna Wilson, had a precedent-setting decision earlier this year, which established an actionable tort when someone takes your private photographs, voluntarily given, and posts them on a pornography website. Damages were awarded in the amount of $100,000. Hopefully this will give people inclined to do such a thing a reason to maybe, NOT DO IT, or incentive to take the photographs down immediately, and settle any claim for damages quickly when confronted. In this case the defendant did remove the video from the website after three weeks. There was still a substantial damages award, which clearly reflects the inherent violence and domination of such an act. As a society, we are all very much better off because of this decision.
Among the many snags before this case ever went to court, were lawyers who advised that the plaintiff had no case - although to be fair this was a precedent-setting case. More troubling is that there were people who tended to view the result (the video on the website) as partially the fault of the girl for filming the video in the first place and handing it over. One would have hoped that this type of reasoning was no longer alive and well. At the time that the video was posted, it was not a criminal act to do such a thing. It now is, but, as my colleague has stated, police have not been prosecuting every offence that is reported. Instead they are referring clients to her. This may mean that overworked police departments are downloading work to overworked lawyers.
This is a brilliant decision and recommended reading for anyone.
Congratulations to the plaintiff and her lawyer.