Friday, November 20, 2009

Habush v. Cannon - part V

A quick note too, the recent Journal-Sentinel article is wrong in asserting that the "Sponsored link [is] gone."

I again just searched Yahoo! and Google as well as Bing and all three have sponsored links when you search for "Habush" or "Rottier" that lead to the website of Cannon & Dunphy.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney

Habush v. Cannon - part IV

JS Online now as an article about the war of words and a quote from Cannon saying of the lawsuit and Habush, "It's ridiculous. He looks like a buffoon." Personally, I don't think either is true here. Let's take a look at the legal basis for the Habush v. Cannon lawsuit:

Wisconsin's Right to Privacy law, Wis. Stats. §995.50, states:

(1) The right of privacy is recognized in this state.
***
(2) In this section, “invasion of privacy” means any of the following:
***
(b) The use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of the name, portrait or picture of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person or, if the person is a minor, of his or her parent or guardian.
***
(3) The right of privacy recognized in this section shall be interpreted in accordance with the developing common law of privacy, including defenses of absolute and qualified privilege, with due regard for maintaining freedom of communication, privately and through the public media.


Thus, it seems to me, that the question here is whether Cannon's use of Habush's name through Google is permissible under subsection (3). Certainly, there's a possibility it was permissible. The question though is whether that's a question of fact (for a jury to decide) or a question of law (for a court of law to decide). Lawyers may want to see H & R Block E. Enters. v. Swenson, 2008 WI App 3, 307 Wis.2d 390, 745 N.W.2d 421. The bottom line is that we might eventually see this case in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, or perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court.

Consumers curious about the legal issues in Habush v. Cannon may want to review the Citizen Media Law Project's Using the Name or Likeness of Another.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Habush v. Cannon - part III

AP has a story on this now in which the two reputable Wisconsin pesonal injury attorneys are now having what can only be described as an ugly war of words. Per the story, among other things, Attorney Bob Habush said: "If Bill Cannon thinks this is a correct way to do business he needs to have his moral compass taken to the repair shop." Conversely, Attorney Bill Cannon is quoted as saying: "This is equally available to Habush if he weren't so cheap to bid on his own name." Though mildly entertaining, I'd venture to guess that lawyers for both attorneys might advise against this public display.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney

Habush v. Cannon - part II

Given the Chicago Tribune's report that Attorney Bill Cannon "calls the lawsuit "laughable" and without merit," perhaps my speculation that Habush and Rottier believed that Cannon wouldn't stop the practice was dead on and they could have been wasting their time if they had expressed concern before filing the lawsuit. More interesting to lawyers though is probably whether or not the practice is legal.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer

Habush, Habush & Rottier sues Cannon & Dunphy

Habush, Habush & Rottier, an old-guard Wisconsin personal injury law firm, is suing Cannon & Dunphy, another such firm for paying Google to link to the Cannon & Dunphy website when Google user searchs the name Habush or Rottier. It's actually quite interesting given that the Habush law firm was one of the first to advertise quite heavily on T.V. here in Wisconsin, but was one of the last among major Wisconsin personal injury law firms to start advertising on the web. For example, this attorney is aware of the fact that within the last year or so the Habush law firm paid someone to create a network of somewhat generic blogs on the web.

Apparently, some of the underlying facts of the Habush, Habush & Rottier lawsuit are true. I just went to both Google and Yahoo and searched Habush and Rottier and the sponsored results on both searches had the Cannon & Dunphy website listed as "sponsored results." Per the MJS article, Habush has asked a Wisconsin court to stop the Cannon firm from paying for such search results.

In reading the article, what I found interesting was attorney Pat Dunphy's comment the Habush firm didn't call the Cannon & Dunphy firm to express its concern before filing the lawsuit. I too find that interesting given the storied history of these two firms and it makes me think that either Bob Habush and Dan Rottier believed that Cannon & Dunphy wouldn't stop the practice or that the former was possibly looking for some "free press." Certainly, this is an interesting lawsuit among Wisconsin personal injury attorneys.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney