Dave Gore and Brian Miller have been suspended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal for sending intimidating letters of claim to members of the general public that they accused of filesharing. *
Although Gore and Miller accused the people they sent letters to , they never gave them a chance to prove their innocence in Court, they relied on people not responding to their letters to get dubious “Default payments”
The Suspension willl be for three months and they will be fined £20,000.
The SDT said:
Their judgment became distorted and they pursued the scheme regardless of the impact on the people receiving the letters and even of their own clients.
In addition to the £20,000 fine, Miller and Gore were ordered to pay interim costs to the SRA of £150,000.
The SDT went on to say:
“Some of those affected were vulnerable members of the public. There was significant distress. We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a conclusion and hope that it serves as a warning to others.
“Solicitors have a duty to act with integrity, independence and in the best interests of their clients. Solicitors who breach those duties can expect to face action by the SRA.”
The order has been suspended for 21 days to allow for appeals.
Although this is a welcome development, it no way goes to be an adequate punishment for the pain caused. £20,000 fine would be easily miniscule to the profit that was made from people scared of legal letters and paying up to make the situation “Go away”, Davenport like their successor ACS:LAW aimed the letter of claim at a cynical price of £500 – £750, the same cost to employ a lawer to fight the claim.
A Three month supension will allow them to be back in work for the New Year.
We look forward to seeing what the SDT does with the ACS:LAW/Andrew Crossley hearing later in the year, but after this rather dissapointing ruling we dont expect much.
*(For more on the background of Davenport Lyons “Letter of Claim” see the excellent Torrentfreak that broke the news way back in 2007)
**Davenport Lyons has issued a response to the SDT Findings.
“We were instructed by the owners of intellectual property rights in music, film and games to help them curtail the significant losses they were suffering as a result of the unlawful file-sharing of their products.
“The steps we took on behalf of our clients were for the protection of their legitimate legal rights. We consider that we acted in our clients’ best interests at all times.
“We wholeheartedly support David and Brian’s intention to appeal both the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s original decision and the resulting suspension and fine.”
Just a thought Davenport Lyons, when you are in a hole, STOP digging, you have been found guilty in the Court of Public Opinion a long time ago, and that could be easy to dismiss, however NOW you have been found guilty by you own regulatory body and their disciplinary body.
Accept you have done wrong and APOLOGISE for the pain you have caused.
You are going down the same road as Andrew Crossley and ACS:LAW by denying that you have done anything wrong. Last time we looked that path was not good…