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I need contingency lawyer to sue Google for allowing on-line impersonation of my husband for YEARS.

Silver Spring, MD |

I finally have gotten a confession from the perpetrator that he was doing it all deliberately to harass me, *&* I can prove damages to my husband resulting from it all.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

I am not sure why you think the law would, or should, hold Google liable for the reprehensible conduct of someone who misappropriated your husband's identity and utilized it to harass you.

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Asker

Posted

I hold Google responsible because they have been alerted to the problem & have done nothing. I have proof of that as well. I cannot sue the perp himself, because I have no clue as to his actual identity, & he lives in a different country.

L. Maxwell Taylor

L. Maxwell Taylor

Posted

What matters is not why you hold them responsible subjectively ("I hold Google responsible because...") but rather what source of law makes them responsible to intervene in the circumstance you describe. I am not confident that there is a basis for holding Google liable on the facts you indicate. It's not impossible, I suppose, but I know of no general principle of law that would make Google liable for policing the speech of a blogger who uses its services and says offensive things utilizing the same name as another person who finds the speech objectionable.

Asker

Posted

Google has a specific policy that says you can't do exactly what he's doing: impersonation. I have been complaining to them for YEARS & they have done nothing. This is not just "offensive speech", & they don't even say they will get rid of everything that anyone finds offensive. This is impersonation, for which they have a specific policy that they are violating, & not only have we suffered specific damage from this, I have finally actually gotten a confession from the perpetrator.

L. Maxwell Taylor

L. Maxwell Taylor

Posted

Ah, but I am skeptical that the "confession" is even admissible in evidence. It's just something you received from a person whose identity is unknown to you. It's classic hearsay.

Posted

In order to sustain a claim your husband must show that; (1) Google owed him a duty of care; (2) that Google's action or inaction constituted a breach of that duty of care; and (3) as a direct and proximate result of that breach, he suffered compensable damages.

I can't imagine how you would show that Google (a search engine) owed a duty of care to your husband to actively prevent identity theft or harassment. Your husband would be better off consulting with a lawyer about suing the perpetrator.

Good luck.

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Asker

Posted

Google is not just a search engine. Google hosts blogs. The perpetrator has been calling himself by my husband's name while running a blog where he says racist, sexist, homophobic & anti-Islamic remarks. I have REPEATEDLY informed Google that he's doing it, & they have ignored my complaints. As a result of this establishment of identity, a long-lost relative who my husband had been trying to find for *twenty years* delayed getting in touch with him for several years because whenever she went to look for my husband on the internet, she found all the hatred. I have only this month gotten a confession from the imposter that he's doing it on purpose just to harass me through defamation of my husband.

Posted

I don't think Google is the right party to sue. If you know who did it, and can show actual damages, then you may have a claim worth pursuing.

This is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. This is for education and informational purposes only. It is always recommended that you contact an attorney with any concerns as each individual case is unique.

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Asker

Posted

I hold Google responsible because they have been alerted to the problem & have done nothing. I have proof of that as well. I cannot sue the perp himself, because I have no clue as to his actual identity, & he lives in a different country.

Ian Thomas Valkenet

Ian Thomas Valkenet

Posted

That you hold Google responsible does not mean the law does. Google is not responsible for the content of its users.

Posted

Your claim would be against the perp. Retain a local lawyer in your city or state.

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Asker

Posted

The perpetrator is not in my state, or even my country. Google, OTOH, is complicit in that it has refused to take down his blog, even with proof of his crime.

Posted

It is unlikely that any experienced litigation attorney would agree to accept this matter on contingency. The prospects for a successful result -- which is THE critical issue for a contingent fee agreement -- are immeasurably low, for many more reasons than space here will allow. But here are just two: you don't know the perpetrator's identity? Then you can't produce him/her as a witness, an essential piece of the claim you theorize here.

Second insurmountable problem that will stop any lawyer from gambling here with his/her time and effort: : the law insulates the publisher (Google) from liability on these kinds of facts. Google is (1) not expected or required to read or verify everything that it hosts, so says the law; and (2) not required to take your word for it when you notify them about your contention of fraud.

If you were writing the laws, you might not have given internet publishers a pass on being held legally accountable for the content of the matter they host. That's a legitimate policy position. But Congress did give them that legal pass, and that is the state of the law. That law will cause any complain you can succeed in serving to be swatted away as a nuisance by the skilled army of Google attorneys. That's not a formula for obtaining legal representation on contingency.

If you are determined to pursue this claim, you will need to do it as a pro per or to fund it from your own financial resources.

No doubt there are many horrific and unforeseen crimes and frauds enabled by the internet and the strange tapestry of laws that half-heartedly govern it. But the law is still evolving in this vast subject matter and is not anywhere near "equilibrium" or resting point.

No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.

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L. Maxwell Taylor

L. Maxwell Taylor

Posted

Magnificent answer.

Asker

Posted

I had a feeling that it would come down more to money than anything else. Thank you.

L. Maxwell Taylor

L. Maxwell Taylor

Posted

Not only is the money against you, the law is against you, even if money were no object.

Asker

Posted

It seems to me that these were the points raised: "Google is (1) not expected or required to read or verify everything that it hosts, so says the law; and (2) not required to take your word for it when you notify them about your contention of fraud. " 1) I'm not saying they had to read everything 2) I'm not saying they have to "take my word for it." 1) I notified them, as per their own Terms of Service 2) I proved the fact to them, as per their own instructions when reporting such cases. They are in violation of their own Terms of Service, and a crime, that resulted in actual damages, has been committed. The REAL problem is "any complain you can succeed in serving to be swatted away as a nuisance by the skilled army of Google attorneys." If they are never liable for anything, & "Congress has given them a pass", why do they even have huge, long, Terms of Service which outline all the things they say they don't allow? Legal protection. Because they know they can be sued. But, as was outlined, "any complain you can succeed in serving to be swatted away as a nuisance by the skilled army of Google attorneys." Money.

L. Maxwell Taylor

L. Maxwell Taylor

Posted

You seem to have some belief that their own terms of service bind them, create a contract to which you can hold them. I don't share that belief.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

Asker, none of this argument about how the legal landscape ought to be different will affect your capability for attracting legal representation on the "work now, get paid later" plan, based on an expectancy of getting paid at the successful end of the lawsuit. Wasn't that the issue you asked after?

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