“Like Your Client, This Claim Won’t Fly”

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Think I'll add a new category for legal correspondence, and this letter is going in it.

It's from a lawyer representing Dan Bilzerian. I'd never heard of him, but Legal Cheek describes him as "Instagram playboy Dan Bilzerian" and "Instagram sensation Dan Bilzerian" so I'm betting he has something to do with Instagram. Anyway, a few weeks ago he threw a porn actress into a swimming pool, or almost into a swimming pool, and she hurt her ankle on the edge of the pool. Legal Cheek says that this incident "shocked the world," but it didn't. You know what else didn't shock it? That this very rich person then got a letter from the allegedly injured porn star's lawyer.

Lawyer-letter-1-copyThe letter of interest here is not that one, but the response letter, which turns out to have been written by Tom Goldstein, an experienced Supreme Court advocate who may be the most high-profile attorney ever to write a letter to a porn star's lawyer. Goldstein also co-founded and publishes SCOTUSblog, which is certainly the best blog ever to be denied Senate and therefore Supreme Court press credentials (bullshit move, Senate).

Needless to say, the letter takes issue with the claim that Mr. Bilzerian is legally responsible for the injury, but this is not your standard denial-of-responsibility letter. "I am genuinely sorry that your client was hurt," Goldstein writes. "But the suggestion that Mr. Bilzerian is responsible for that injury is embarrassing. I'm sorry she made you suggest it in writing."

Lawyer-Letter-2-copyTurns out that, according to the letter, anyway, the whole thing was part of a photo shoot for Hustler Magazine, and as part of that shoot the now-injured party had agreed to be photographed while being thrown off the roof. This agreement, like the toss, was captured on video, thus constituting evidence that the woman assumed the risk of injury. The video also apparently shows the woman grabbing Bilzerian's shirt, "the one thing that she had been explicitly told in advance would stop her from reaching the pool." So, Goldstein argues, "like your client, the facts of the claim won't quite fly."

Goldstein also mentions that despite her injury, the woman seems to be doing well enough, at least judging from some of the pictures she is apparently sending out on her Twitter account.

In my professional opinion, the Cleveland Browns letter and this scheduling note are probably better, but that's mainly because they're shorter.