My friend Joe Hodnicki over at Law Librarian Blog lays out a good overview of some of the bad decisions that West Publishing made in the whole Rudovsky vs. West matter. As Joe puts it, “Invoice-paying law librarians” have seen tricks and shams for a while now, but with so much going on, and in an economy where we’ve all taken on extra responsibilities, how does one fight these tricks?
Although West Publishing (Thomson Reuters Legal) got slapped with a $5.18 million verdict in this case, most people I’ve talked to don’t think that the final amount will be anywhere near that amount. Jonathan Turley writes on his blog that the amount will most likely be reduced, but that “Even at a total of $2 million, however, it would be a major new precedent in the field and the company is likely to appeal on contractual grounds. Indeed, this could end up in a Torts Treatise or West pocket part.”
I’ve sent a message to the AALL Executive Board and the SLA Legal Division Board about this matter, but I think there are things that we in the legal industry (whether you are a lawyer, librarian, paralegal, or secretary) that use these products should ask ourselves. In fact, Jason Wilson‘s comments on Jonathan Turley’s post say it better than I could, so I’ll just quote him:
- Who is policing the content for sale?
- Do you know if the content you buy, whether online or in print is current?
- Does this opinion change how you feel about West Publishing products?
- Will it make you scrutinize a product more carefully before you purchase it?