Update to our June post on the…absurd…Sam Sethi litigation. Our lawyers sent a letter letting them know that we have no intention of submitting the the jurisdiction of the UK courts, although we’d be happy to litigate his claims here in California. Sethi obtained a default judgment on July 30 and is now messaging people “fyi won my libel case against arrington last thurs. News to break today thought I would tell you first. pls keep mum for now.”
By “won” I guess he means we didn’t show up, as we previously stated, and so the court had no choice but to give him a default judgment. It’s important to reiterate that the courts didn’t determine anything other than the fact that we didn’t show up.
I had a long talk with a number of UK legal experts about whether we should defend the case in the UK even though we aren’t subject to UK jurisdiction. They were fairly confident we’d actually win…but that the total legal costs could exceed £500,000. That’s just not an interesting proposition for us. Meanwhile, I’ve had to cancel my London FOWA speaking engagement, and certainly won’t be visiting that country any time soon. Which is a shame since I have so many friends there.
What’s really the biggest shame is that just a couple of weeks ago Sethi was reaching out to friends of mine asking to figure out how to get out of this mess without destroying his reputation further. My response – the same thing I told him in February – write a post apologizing to the employees he lied to and cheated, and take the blame like a real adult. My advice was that the Internet tends to forgive everything over time, particularly to those who ask for it. But Sethi continues to choose his own path, and insist he did nothing wrong. It’s just a very sad situation. Someday I hope he finds peace with himself and all the people he has hurt.
July 22, 2009
VIA EMAIL AND FIRST CLASS MAIL
United Kingdom WC2R 1AT
Re: TechCrunch: Sam Sethi
Dear Mr. [redacted]
As you know, this firm represents TechCrunch and Michael Arrington in the libel claim filed by your client, Sam Sethi, in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Sanjiv Sethi v. Michael Arrington, et al., No. MQ09 X02558. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that TechCrunch and Mr. Arrington will not, as is their right, submit to the jurisdiction of the English courts in this matter. As we have previously informed you in our letters of March 18 and May 17, 2009, TechCrunch is not susceptible to the jurisdiction of the English courts and the proper forum for your client’s claims would be the State of California, which is the location where the words were both written and published in accordance with the prevailing local laws and standards. As a result, any vindication that your client seeks should properly be sought in the courts of the appropriate California jurisdiction. Accordingly, defendants will not file an Acknowledgment of Service in the High Court of Justice. As we have previously informed you, any judgment that your client may obtain in this matter will be unenforceable in the United States.