Set forth below is the text of a post that I recently put to the Goon Central board:
Oh, and good luck finding an attorney willing to sue people who disagree with you at online discussion boards!
I’ve already spoken to more than one attorney who told me the case was strong enough to take on. That’s not an issue.
The issue today is that I have not found one to take the case on a contingency basis. There are five ways to solve that problem.
One is that the ban on honestzzz posting is an issue of huge public policy significance. There are millions unemployed today because of the Buy-and-Hold crisis. People are losing faith in our political system because the two political parties are in the pocket of Wall Street. When we go into the Great Depression, there is a good chance that there will be a world war and millions will die. In these sorts of circumstances, it is possible to find very good lawyers willing to take cases on a pro bono basis as a means of enhancing their reputations.
Two is that there is already a similar case that was brought by a Yale lawyer (to whom I have had conversations about how to proceed) which was taken on a pro bono basis. One of the issues here is that this is a new area of law and many lawyers are unwilling to take a case on contingency when the uncertainties always present in a new area of law are present. When the case taken by the Yale lawyer has finished its way through the courts, there will be precedent. Lawyers will be able to look at the damages obtained against people who engaged in defamation on discussion boards and see that similar amounts can be obtained in other cases where the facts are exceptionally strong.
Three is that, after the next crash, the anger at what the Buy-and-Holders have done to our society and to our financial futures is going to be very strong. It will be easy to connect with thousands of people on the internet with an interest in achieving justice against the people who have posted in “defense” of Lindauer and/or Greaney. There are no doubt lawyers today who would gladly take the case if I could reach them. My reach is greatly extended as the crisis worsens and as the number of people seeking to obtain justice for what has been done to us increases.
Four, there will in time be media lawyers who will want to take this on to be the first lawyers to have worked on a case dealing with the many unique fact patterns present here. The internet discussion board is an important communications medium of the future. This is a case where a tiny number of lawyers would very much want to be involved but the vast majority would not. Once I connect with the right people, I don’t anticipate problems.
Five, I will be connecting with lots of people of great influence as we spread the word re Valuation-Informed Indexing. A lot of people in the investment industry have done their reputations harm by getting involved in the promotion of Buy-and-Hold at times when they did not recognize the danger. The entire industry is going to need to take steps to restore the reputations of financial planners who fell for the mumbo jumbo. Those people have lots of money and they will be able to help me (and all of the thousands or tens of thousands who need to bring lawsuits because their retirements are failing after they believed claims promoted at boards that had banned honestzzz posting on what the historical data says) out. Maybe John Bogle will finance the lawsuits. That would be a nice Alfred Hitchcock ending to the story.
I believe that we will work it out one way or the other, Yip. Job #1 is bringing the economic crisis to an end and making all the powerful insights of the first ten years of our discussions available to everyone. All sorts of wonderful things follow from that. Successful lawsuits against the Internet Sewer Rats is just one of the wonderful things we will be seeing in days to come, in my assessment.
There was a day when there were people saying that I was crazy to believe that we would ever achieve a consensus in this field that the Old School studies get all the numbers wildly wrong. Some of the same people who said that are now expressing doubt that the lawsuits will be successful. My thought is — I’ll give it my best shot, I can do no more and I can do no less. Perhaps it is the people who put their financial futures at risk for the thrill of being able to use the internet to destroy millions of middle-class lives who were the crazy ones all along!
I don’t have a crystal ball. We’ll have to wait and see.