That avatar of Rick's...why is it we don't have one that says, "The least talented man in comics?"
Upon reading this entire thread:
Ow, my faith in humanity.
song of the moment: "sao paulo" ~ the deadstring brothers
This guy is unbelievable. I’ve been lurking in morbid fascination for over a month now, both here and at Chuck Dixon’s board and am ever more stunned by the gall and stupidity of this “person.” He really does seem to relish the attention, though, and obviously does not grasp or care about the damage to his reputation [EDIT: Thought I should add (though it goes without saying) that he does not care about the damage done to others]. It seems that the only way justice of any kind will be done is in court.
I am a lawyer, and would like to offer the following brief bits of information (some previously set out in a different format at Mr. Dixon’s board) if only to save various people – perhaps only the incredibly generous Mr. Waid – a few dollars and headaches:
1. Don’t sweat the B.S. NDA. There are a multitude of reasons why these spurious NDAs would be completely unenforceable and meaningless. I won’t recite them all, except for the most obvious. The law does indeed follow the sensible conclusion that many people have already reached: failure to pay for previously rendered performance of services is a clear breach of contract, and no NDA can prevent legal action for same. Contract law term is ‘failure of consideration’.
2. Don’t spend more than you’re suing for. Small claims court is, in most places, intended to be for the unrepresented litigant. These are not complicated claims, so you don’t need a lawyer. You just need to tell your story clearly and concisely.
3. Keep your temper. If Mr. Olney should actually appear in court, which strikes me as unlikely, don’t rise to the bait. If he is remotely like his cyber-persona, his ramblings will give the judge all the evidence you need. Keep your cool, state your facts, refute the lies. Don’t roll your eyes, jump up and yell, or interrupt. Believe me, the Judge will like you more and listen to you with greater respect.
4. Be relevant / Keep it short. Again – concise and clear. Don’t think the judge is going to read this entire thread, or even short extracts that show what a loon and @$$hole this guy is. State the facts relevant only to your claim. You’re suing for non-payment by him for services rendered by you. There is nothing illegal about his being a prick, and no compensation you are entitled to for it. The journalistic 5 Ws should help give you a framework.
5. Necessary Expenses – part A. One claim each. Without going into a lengthy discourse, this is almost certainly not suited for a Class Action. Every individual creator will have to sue individually, spending at least the following:
(a) There will be a filing fee. If you win, the filing fee will form part of the judgment, but remember that the judgment could be uncollectible.
(b) Registered mail or process server. Since Mr. Olney will almost certainly be a no show, you will have to prove that he was notified of the claim in order to get default judgment against him.
6. Necessary Expenses– part B. Shared Expenses. There is one expense that could be incurred once and shared for the benefit of all. A really good thing to spend money on would be a “corporate search” in New York State for “Tightlip Entertainment.” (Yellow pages should turn up a local registry office to perform the search). If TightLip turns out to have actual corporate existence, it will turn up on the search and you should sue in PRECISELY the name that appears on the public register and serve the claim at the exact registered address shown. As a bonus, it will likely give you Olney’s address for service as corporate officer / director. Regardless, you should name Olney personally. TightLip Entertainment is, in all likelihood, simple a trade-name (or "pseudonym") for Rick Olney.
7. Where to Sue. You are probably wasting your time and money if you sue anywhere but the debtor’s home jurisdiction. Not saying you can’t, but unless the sums involved are starting at four figures, it’s probably not worth it. Interstate conflict of laws and enforcement of judgments get way more complicated than a the relatively simple New York Plaintiff vs. New York Defendants with New York assets.
8. Who to Sue. Sue both TightLip Entertainment and Richard Olney. Likely, this amounts to the same thing (see above), but if Olney actually went to the time, trouble and expense of incorporating, the judge might find that the contract is actually with the corporation and not with Olney personally. So if you have only sued Olney, you could lose simply for naming the wrong “person” in your suit. Again, sue both "people", just to be safe.
9. What to Sue For: This is not a pedantic point. Perhaps you can get your artwork / script / characters / web design back and a declaration that Olney has no rights to any of the creations involved. This could be better than a money judgment. Most jurisdictions allow you to make alternative claims and then elect in court which one you would prefer.
10. Collecting on the Judgment: This is probably the hardest part. Unfortunately, I will have to be a bit of a cop-out here and say that you will probably need to hire a professional for this. Often, the costs of collection can be added to the judgment, though.
Hope some of this is helpful to somebody. Maybe it won’t shut him up, but it could certainly set him back (or shut him down).
“T Sterling”, a pseudonym clearly devised to defraud "Human Beings" like Rick Olney.
Last edited by T Sterling; 01-09-2007 at 12:34 AM. Reason: Self Explanatory
" Why do stars suddenly appear, every time I drink beer ? " ~~~ Karen Ellis
This is matching what we're all hearing from our own advisors, but no one has put it so simply and concisely (or as completely!) as this.
Thanks, T. Very very helpful.
I've been informed of the total amount owed by Tightlip and it's considerable. I hope the penalties imposed are serious enough that he can't do this ever again.
So, the key to making him disappear is to call him on specific shit!