So what is your beef with Dan?
My principal issues with Balsam are
(i) his abuse of the small claims process and
(ii) his zealotry in pursuit of his cause.
Mr. Balsam claims I have “YET to provide a single example of how I’m taking advantage of the small claims courts.” Dan conveniently forgets that I briefed this issue and helped XY7.com win a dismissal of Balsam’s small claims case against them as improperly brought in small claims court. In victory, XY7.com issued a a press release asserting that Balsam “ambushes companies in small claims court where lawyers are not allowed leaving upstanding legitimate corporations with their pants down”.
On the second issue, the AP story noted that Balsam has been accused of zealotry in court documents such that ‘anyone who disagrees with him must be villainous;’ a view that is shared outside the court house as one reporter has noted that
[t]o Balsam, opinions that didn’t agree with his were factual errors, or more aptly put, lies.
In my first two encounters with Balsam (Balsam v. Matthews in 2004 and Balsam v. ValueClick in 2006), he unsuccessfully took ridiculous positions and not only would he not listen to reason but he would become enraged and villify you for having the audacity to challenge him. Balsam responded to his loss in the XY7.com case by threatening their CEO that he would make them “pay” a price.
A week later, after I appeared on a web radio show in which XY7.com and I expressed our opinions about the case and Balsam, he quickly lashed out in a six page letter threatening to sue unless there was a retraction even though the comments (i) were opinions which cannot be defamatory as a matter of law; (ii) were privileged under Civil Code Section 47(d); and (iii) are protected under the First Amendment. I responded that
While it is clear that you have some psychological problem with being challenged and/or accepting defeat, the proper place to deal with this is a therapist’s office and not in the state court system. I must remind you that [your] admission to the bar is not a license to use the courts to bully people or for retribution.
Balsam has stated that “my win record suggests that I’m doing everything properly”. Well in Matthews, ValueClick and XY7.com his record in 0-3.
At the end of the day, his cause is not helping political prisoners or starving children, instead he is over-litigating cases and engaging in scorched earth tactics over something as banal and inconsequential as email (unless its really just about the money). He would be well served if his conduct were more measured to reflect this fact (a sense of humor would not hurt either).