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Industry: Law
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Judged Blog
I'll take my Agreements in Writing, Please
You'd think two politicians would know it's going to take more than an

alleged handshake to seal a deal. That's exactly what two political

consultants are using in court in hopes of proving Arianna Huffington

and Ken Lerer stole their idea for a website that is now The Huffington


The lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court earlier this month,

details the claim that Huffington and Lerer, after having met with

Democratic consultants Peter Daou and James Bryce, had all shook hands

after having come up with the idea for the liberal website. It states

that Huffington and Lerer then struck out without their two

supposed-partners. The complaint reads in part:


has styled herself as a new media maven and an expert on the effective

deployment of news and celebrity on the internet in the service of

political ends...

Attorneys for the consultants are certain

they can prove the website was ''founded on false impressions and

inaccuracies'' and that the new media ideas were stolen from Daou and

Brice and therefore, the promise, via the handshake, was broken. The

site was intended to ''push the message'' for the Democratic party while

also serving as a fundraising avenue. Huffington denies the charges

and calls the lawsuit ''absurd'' and a ''ludicrous supposition''. She

also claims the two men approached her in search of a job, and not a

business proposition most recently (she does state they approached her

six years earlier, but the lawsuit is in regards to a more recent

meeting). She states, ''We have now officially entered into Bizzaro


Huffington and Lerer have both stated that they declined

to go into business with the consultants more than six years ago and

reiterated Daou and Bryce had nothing to do with the creation, running

or financing Huffington Post. Further, they insist the two consultants

said they'd not file the suit and ''would go away for just a little


Whether or not it's true and if the two plaintiffs win

their suit, which many say is unlikely, they will use the funds to

support progressive causes and citizen journalists. Despite those who

say the suit will never be won, it's important to note that anytime

intellectual property is involved, such as the one with the 2008

Facebook lawsuit, there is reason to not jump to any conclusions. Some

say if Daou and Boyce can absolutely prove the offering included

something specific and more than a general notion, there's a good chance

they could win. Forbes Magazine values Huffington Post at $100 million

in 2008.


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