What do you get when you mix one part smart-ass lawyer with one part overly litigious city government, and shake it all up in the merciless expanse of the Internet? The sassiest legal document to ever hit the blogosphere, that’s what.
The story: Jake Freivald of West Orange, New Jersey, opened the website westorange.info as a clearinghouse for the goings-on in the tiny Jersey suburb. Apparently the City Council of West Orange was none too pleased about it, because a website that looks like it was made on an Etch A Sketch could have been confused for the city’s official web portal.
So they sent Freivald a cease-and-desist letter, claiming that “the use of the Township’s name is unauthorized and is likely to cause confustion [sic].”
Well, it was the cease-and-desist letter that confusted Freivald’s lawyer Stephen Kaplitt, who shut the city’s lawyers down with an absolutely hilarious counter-notice. He lets them know exactly how he feels about their kneejerk legalism and unfortunate spelling and grammar.
Kaplitt’s flawlessly executed snark is truly beautiful to behold. It’s a three-page long burn–you can still hear the council’s flesh sizzling. Here’s a little taste:
Last but not least, will you kindly provide to me the specific legal basis of bases for the Township’s demand that my client cease and desist from “use, ownership and maintenance” of his domain. To paraphrase the bar exam instructions, feel free to city any authority you consider relevant, including Federal, state or local laws, rules, regulations, ordinances, etc. (even those voluminous Township playground rules no one pays attention to).
The full text of Kaplitt’s letter is below. Sit down, crack open your favorite beverage, and bear witness to an old-school tuning-up.
Correction: the original post misspelled Stephen Kaplitt’s last name.