TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Small Thought About Flea

The NY PI Blog continues to be the leader in blog coverage of the Flea-blogging-his-own-trial-and-then-settling-when-outed case.  I've read very little of it, so I may be repeating something said elsewhere and better.  But:

Is there anything particularly unique here?  A witness -- here a party -- decided to settle when it became clear that things he had said elsewhere were known to the other side and that those things would affect the case. 

Those things were on a blog in this instance, but is it really different than an expert taking a position in an earlier article contrary to that presented at trial?  (Seen that.)  Or a treating physician in a pharma tort case being impeached by his own records?  (Seen that, too.)  Or an investigating officer being crossed on past racist comments?  (Wish I had avoided that on Court TV.)

I'd initially queried "Is there anything particularly interesting?" above instead of focusing on uniqueness.  Clearly it is interesting; Flea (er, Dr. Lindeman) is a good and clever writer, and it's always interesting to read about people's first-hand interactions with the tort system.  (Even if I would probably choose a different bass player if I were choosing a pseudonym, though I understand that "flea" has a particular meaning among pediatricians.)

But other than that, I'm not sure it's really a "Wow, look at this new world we're in!" moment.  Instead, it may just be a moment to say that it's never a good idea to disclose privileged information to people outside the privilege, whether it's your neighbor or people who stumble across your blog.


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» June 5 roundup from Overlawyered
Everyone's got an opinion on Dr. Flea's trial-blogging fiasco [Beldar, Childs, Adler @ Volokh (lively comments including Ted), Turkewitz (who also provides huge link roundups here and here, KevinMD] Sidebar: some other doctor-bloggers have shut... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 4, 2007 7:30:48 PM


This is a perfect storm:

1) Bloggers are always fascinated by stories that involve blogs having real-world consequences.

2) Law-bloggers are interested because of the legal implications.

3) Medical-bloggers are interested because of the medical-blogging implications.

4) There's also the anonymity angle: it's frightening to anonymous bloggers that they can be so easily sussed out (though, as I noted in the Overlawyered comments, Flea left a lot of clues that uniquely identified him to anyone involved in his malpractice case).

As a result, everyone has something to say, and it gets disproportionate coverage in the blogosphere even though, as you note, it's not especially unique.

Posted by: Ted | May 31, 2007 7:57:20 PM

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