Lindsay Lohan E*Trade lawsuit reminds us why we all tell lawyer jokes
By now you’ve all heard about the frivolous totally brilliant, amazing lawsuit filed by attorney Stephanie Ovadia on behalf of Lindsay Lohan. “It’s Lindsay” claims that E*Trade’s Super Bowl commercial in which a fat-cheeked talking baby ‘Lindsay’ is portrayed as a milkaholic is allegedly ’subliminally’ about Lohan. So subliminal we didn’t even know it. But up in the front of our minds is the $100 million sought by Lohan.
John Cook asks a good question at Gawker, one that I was thinking about, too:
But the strange thing about the suit is that the lead attorney on the case, Stephanie Ovadia, has done legal work for Michael Lohan in the past, and Michael has repeatedly posted fulsome praise of Ovadia’s legal skills to his Twitter feed as recently as January. Last we checked, Michael was still in the midst of his famous feud with Lindsay—just last week, father and daughter were lobbing tabloid insults at one another, with Lindsay saying she didn’t speak to Michael and calling him “nuts.” So why would she seek out her dad’s lawyer just a few days later to file a $100 million lawsuit? Sure, the high-end Hollywood lawyers that Lindsay has employed in the past wouldn’t be stupid enough to draw up the E*Trade complaint, but surely she could find a bottom-feeding attorney of her own to embarrass themselves for money and attention.
Ovadia didn’t return a phone call and e-mail asking how she got involved in the case and whether she’d ever spoken to Lindsay Lohan about it. And we don’t really know where to go to ask someone from Lindsay’s side about it, considering the fact that her long-time publicist is on a “hiatus.” Her mother Dina Lohan told the New York Post today that Lindsay was outraged by the ad, adding, in a telling use of the first person, “I’m just basically glad I took a stand.” And to to complete the circle, Radar Online quoted Michael Lohan just two days ago saying that he and his ex-wife had reconnected and were “crying to each other” on the phone after he took a heart-related trip to the hospital.
The suit itself got me thinking about my own brief experiences with attorneys who go fishing for money to make. I don’t think they do it so much to actually win in court, or even to settle. I think they do it because even if they don’t get a big fat settlement, they get to take that retainer from their celebrity client, or bill some hours.
This is because in 2008, a publication I was working at was contacted by an English attorney working for a billionaire of Arab extraction who I shall not name. The letter ordered the removal of an article I had written from the web about said billionaire and his alleged ties to a certain presidential candidate in our last electoral cycle. The attorney alleged that I had libeled this billionaire, and threatened suit under British libel law, which is broken and stupid because it makes journalists guilty until they prove themselves innocent. What was so astonishing about the letter was how many times it included the construction that what I had written implied certain disparagements against the billionaire. Not that I had knowingly written false things, but that I had implied false things. Also, the letter clearly had been copied and pasted from earlier letters sent to other outlets who had written related stories that included statements we did not make.
All in all, it was attorney amateur hour from across the pond. We laughed off the letter, stood our ground, and the lawyer went away, and never came back. The article sits there to this day on the website.
What was really happening here was that this billionaire’s attorney was making work for himself to justify the billing of hours, or the retention of a lucrative annual retainer. The attorney knew that he wasn’t going to get a rich cash settlement from us – he probably even knew that we didn’t have any cash to settle with. He was just making sure that his client knew that he was doing something on his behalf.
I think that’s probably what’s happening here with Ovadia and whichever member of Lindsay Lohan’s family she’s actually representing in this farcical lawsuit against E*Trade. What Ovadia called a subliminal swipe at Lohan is actually her subliminal plea to keep getting a meal ticket from the Lohan clan.