Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Appeals Court: D.C. Anti-SLAPP Law Provision Not Available In Federal Court

April 29, 2015

A federal appellate court has made an important ruling regarding the D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act. On Friday, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decided Abbas v. Foreign Policy. While dismissing a defamation case against the Defendant, the Court also held that federal courts sitting in diversity jurisdiction may not apply the Anti-SLAPP Act’s special motion to dismiss provision. The Court reasoned that the provision conflicts with federal procedural rules and therefore does not apply in federal court.

The D.C. Anti-SLAPP Act helps protect those threatened with litigation arising out an “act in furtherance of the right of advocacy on issues of public interest.” It is defined to combat “SLAPPs” – Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. The law is most commonly associated with defamation lawsuits.

The Court’s ruling considerably impacts the landscape of defamation litigation in the District of Columbia. Some questions remain open – for instance, whether the Act’s special motion to quash provisions can still apply in federal court.

Have you or your organization been threatened with a defamation lawsuit? Would you like to reduce the risk of such lawsuits and ensure compliance with defamation and media laws? Ward & Ward PLLC has demonstrated success in these areas and can assist you. Call or email for a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Ward & Ward wins big for a highly respected NGO

April 22, 2015

Ward & Ward PLLC recently obtained a comprehensive victory for a highly respected NGO. Ward & Ward successfully defended C4ADS from claims for defamation and punitive damages brought by Kaalbye Shipping International. The high-profile lawsuit, characterized as a “David versus Goliath battle,” attracted significant attention, including articles in Foreign Policy, Vocativ, and elsewhere.

In this particular battle, David prevailed. Ward & Ward attorneys Daniel Ward and Taimur Rabbani initially filed a declaratory judgment action on behalf of C4ADS in response to Kaalbye’s repeated threats of litigation.  Kaalbye responded by filing multiple defamation counterclaims against C4ADS.  C4ADS filed a Special Motion to Dismiss Kaalbye’s defamation counterclaims. If granted, a Special Motion to Dismiss under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP act provides for dismissal with prejudice of the targeted defamation claims, and the award of attorney’s fees and costs. In a recent Opinion, Judge Thomas Motley granted C4ADS’ Special Motion to Dismiss, dismissing with prejudice all claims brought by Kaalbye Shipping against C4ADS.

Have you or your organization been threatened with a defamation lawsuit? Would you like to create safeguards to minimize the risks of such a lawsuit? From pre-publication review through trial, the lawyers at Ward & Ward have considerable experience representing media, non-profit, and commercial clients with various First Amendment issues. Call or email Ward & Ward PLLC for a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Cisco Being Sued For Aiding and Abetting in China’s Internet Crackdown

June 6, 2011

Harry Wu to Hold Press Conference at National Press Club
Tuesday, June 7th at 9:30 am

Washington, DC | June 6th, 2011 |

Today, with the financial support of the Laogai Research Foundation, three Chinese dissidents filed a lawsuit against Cisco Systems, Inc. in the United States District Court in Maryland. Mr. Du Daobin, Mr. Zhou Yuanzhi, and Mr. Liu Xianbin, represented by Daniel Ward of Ward & Ward, PLLC, are suing Cisco Systems, Inc. and several senior management personnel including: Thomas Lam, President of China Operations; Owen Chan, President of Asia Pacific Operations; Rick Justice, Executive Advisor; and John Chambers, Chairman and CEO. The defendants are accused of knowingly aiding and abetting the Chinese government’s internet crackdown by providing technology and training for the construction and operation of the “Golden Shield Project”, also known as “China’s Great Firewall”.

The plaintiffs are prolific writers who promote democratic reform and increased freedoms for the Chinese people through articles published on the internet. It was through network surveillance technology provided by Cisco that the Chinese Ministry of Public Security was able to track the Plaintiffs down for exercising their right to free speech. This led to their harassment, arbitrary detention and arrest, and physical, mental, and emotional torture and abuse. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages for injuries and are requesting that the defendants be held accountable for their actions.

Since early 2000, Cisco has been involved with the construction of the “Golden Shield Project,” providing technology and training to the Ministry of Public Security which the Chinese government has used to monitor, track, and arrest political dissidents, practitioners of “illegal” religions, and anyone who posts content that threatens the stability of the Communist Party. This has affected countless victims, including artist and political activist Ai Weiwei, civil rights activist Chen Guangchen, and human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng.

The most well-known victim, however, is the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. After helping to write Charter 08, a petition for political reform, and authoring numerous articles promoting democracy and human rights in China, Mr. Liu was rewarded not only with a Nobel Prize, but also with detention, arrest, deprivation of political rights, and a hefty 11-year prison sentence.

While Liu remained in prison during the awards ceremony, Cisco’s CEO John Chambers made it to Oslo, making known his company’s contribution to funding the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Yet, without Cisco’s extensive cooperation, it would not have been so easy for China’s Ministry of Public Security to monitor the writer’s online activities and imprison him on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power.” Although Liu Xiaobo has no way of fighting for justice from inside his prison cell, through this lawsuit, plaintiffs Du, Zhou, and Liu hope to expose the extent of Cisco’s cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security.

Harry Wu, Laogai Research Foundation Executive Director, will hold a press conference tomorrow, June 7th, at 9:30 am at the National Press Club to discuss Cisco’s role in China’s internet crackdown and answer questions about this increasingly important issue.

DEVEX Calls Ward & Ward Partner and Georgetown Professor Mark Vlasic an “International Development Renaissance Man”

February 11, 2011

Ward & Ward Partner and Georgetown Professor Mark Vlasic was referred to by DEVEX as an “International Development Renaissance Man” in a recent profile highlighting Professor Vlasic’s international law and development efforts around the world.

International Development Renaissance Man: Mark Vlasic

A modern-day polymath, Washington-based international lawyer and Georgetown University professor Mark Vlasic brings experiences in the public, private, military and academic worlds to the courtroom, boardroom and classroom.

Vlasic’s study of Jesuit theology at Georgetown and service in the U.S. Army first stoked his sense of obligation to humankind. Helping to prosecute Slobodan Milosevic and other genocide cases at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, Vlasic saw “the darkest side of humanity.” He cited the passage from Romans 12:21 — “do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” — as a guiding philosophy for his work.

What binds his many professional roles is his mission to make good governance and the rule of law key elements of international development. As head of operations for the joint World Bank and United Nations Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, or StAR, Vlasic worked with the Swiss and Haitian governments to help return funds plundered by the country’s former ruler, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.

“I think the fight against impunity for war crimes began at Nuremberg some 65 years ago, and I think that the fight against impunity for economic crimes and specifically the global effort to recover stolen assets began when [World Bank President] Robert Zoellick and [U.N. Secretary-General] Ban Ki-moon launched the StAR Initiative at the U.N. General Assembly in September 2007,” he said, praising Zoellick for making StAR his “first initiative” at the bank. “Thus, while there have been some early reasons for optimism in the effort to return stolen assets to developing countries, the path ahead is fraught with challenges, and it is only through the political will of individual leaders – both political leaders and technical experts working on specific cases – that will lead to a landscape where there is no safe haven for stolen assets.”

Vlasic, who is now in private practice, is serving as international legal adviser to the Liberia Asset Recovery Team, which is seeking to recoup funds embezzled by Charles Taylor. The former Liberian president is currently on trial for war crimes in The Hague.

Ward & Ward Partner and Georgetown Professor Mark Vlasic Participates in NATO Summit

February 11, 2011

Ward & Ward partner and Georgetown professor Mark Vlasic was selected by the Atlantic Council to represent the United States at the Young Atlanticist Summit, as part of the NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. While in Lisbon, Professor Vlasic chaired a post-Summit panel discussion on “Assessing the NATO Summit.”

The Young Atlanticist website promoted the summit, saying:

The Young Atlanticist Summit in Lisbon will bring together top young leaders from NATO, Partnership for Peace, and Mediterranean Dialogue countries in conjunction with the 2010 NATO Summit. Here, these Young Atlanticists will meet with heads of state and senior NATO officials, with whom they will discuss the Strategic Concept and the issues facing the Alliance. Participants will also engage in discussion with one another about their views on NATO and its future.

In addition to these meetings, our delegates will be providing their unique insights on the happenings of the Summit, which they will be sharing here throughout the summit. Please check in regularly for delegate blog posts, photo updates and video coverage of select meetings – your inside track to the Young Atlanticist Summit!

Ward & Ward Partner and Georgetown University Adjunct Professor of Law Mark Vlasic Honored by Devex as a “40 Under 40” Leader

October 6, 2010

Ward & Ward Partner and Georgetown University Adjunct Professor of Law Mark Vlasic has been honored by Devex and Chevron as a “40 Under 40” International Development Leader.

Ward & Ward Partner & Georgetown Professor Mark Vlasic
Honored by Devex and Chevron
as a “40 Under 40” Leader

List honors Washington-area young leaders in international development

October 5, 2010 Washington, D.C. — Mark Vlasic, an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University and partner at Ward & Ward PLLC, was named a D.C. “40 under 40” International Development Leader. The recognition, the first of its kind, was given to social entrepreneurs, advocates, private sector innovators and government and multilateral agency officials. Criteria included individual influence on the global development agenda and results achieved. Devex, the world’s largest community of aid and development professionals, and Chevron Corporation, a global energy company, announced the honor during the Business Civic Leadership Center’s annual conference.

“I am humbled to be associated with some of the most dynamic and innovative young leaders in America” said Mark Vlasic “I can only hope that I will live up to this honor in my teaching and legal practice.”

Mark V. Vlasic is a senior fellow at Georgetown’s Institute for Law, Science & Global Security, an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, and a partner at Ward & Ward PLLC, where he heads the firm’s international practice. A former head of operations of the World Bank’s StAR Secretariat, Mark served as a White House Fellow, special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, and advisor to the President’s Special Envoy to Sudan, and was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service by Secretary Robert Gates. He has provided commentary to CNN, FOX, CBS and NPR, practiced law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and served on the Slobodan Milosevic and Srebrenica genocide prosecution trial teams at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Mark received his B.S.B.A. and J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University, his Certificate in International Law from The Hague Academy, and conducted post-doctorate research at Universiteit Leiden as a NAF-Fulbright Scholar.

“A new generation of leaders in Washington, D.C. is changing the world – fighting poverty with technology and improving lives around the world with innovative approaches,” said Raj Kumar, president of Devex. “This initiative is about celebrating and supporting 40 of these inspiring young leaders who are shaking up global development and pushing our community forward.”

“Healthy businesses depend on healthy, vibrant communities,” said Gary Fisher, General Manager of Corporate Public Policy for Chevron. “Smart, strategic global partnerships, like those being fostered by the thought-leaders being honored, are a vital component of this. We applaud them, and we encourage others to follow suit.”

All honorees were recognized at a reception held at the Washington offices of McKinsey & Company on September 30, 2010. The complete list of the “40 under 40” International Development Leaders in Washington is as follows (in alphabetical order):

• Natasha Bajuk, Remittances Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank
• Nisha Desai Biswal, Assistant Administrator for Asia and Near East, USAID
• Eric Braverman, Principal, McKinsey & Company
• Michael A. Clemens, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
• Jared Cohen, Director, Google Ideas
• Alexandra Marie Courtney, Associate, Booz Allen Hamilton
• Suzanne Ehlers, President and CEO, Population Action International
• Steve Feldstein, Professional Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
• Jared Genser, Partner, DLA Piper LLP, and President, Freedom Now
• Corey Arnez Griffin, President and CEO, Global Government and Industry Partners
• Sherri G. Kraham, Managing Director, Cooperation & Policy Improvement, MCC
• Mark Lopes, Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID
• Noelle LuSane, Staff Director, House of Representatives
• Fiona Macaulay, President/Founder, Making Cents International
• Michael Madnick, Deputy Executive Director, GAIN
• David McKenzie, Senior Economist, World Bank
• Todd Moss, Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Senior Fellow, CDG
• Craig Mullaney, Senior Policy Advisor, USAID AfPak Task Force
• Alyse Nelson, CEO, Vital Voices
• Joshua Nesbit, Executive Director, FrontlineSMS:Medic
• Samantha Power, Director of Multilateral Affairs, National Security Council
• Ben Powell, Founder and Managing Partner, AGORA Partnerships
• Joshua Rogin, Reporter, Foreign Policy / Washington Post
• Alec Ross, Senior Adviser on Innovation, State Department
• Nilmini Rubin, Senior Professional Staff Member, Foreign Relations Committee
• Dan Runde, Schreyer Chair for Global Analysis, CSIS
• John S. Sargent III, President and Founding Partner, BroadReach Healthcare
• Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID
• Aaron Sherinian, Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs, UNF
• Andrée Simon, President, Women for Women International
• Ian Solomon, US Executive Director, World Bank
• Ilana Solomon, Policy Analyst, ActionAid USA
• Andrew Stern, Global Operating Partner, Dalberg
• Erin Thornton, Global Policy Director, ONE
• Beth Tritter, Managing Director, The Glover Park Group
• Sebastian Troeng, Vice President for Global Marine, Conservation International
• Brendan Tuohey, Executive Director, PeacePlayers International
• Noam Unger, Fellow, Brookings Institution
• Mark Vlasic, Senior Fellow & Adjunct Professor of Law, Institute for Law, Science and Global Security, Georgetown University, and partner at Ward & Ward PLLC
• Wayan Vota, Senior Director, Inveneo###

About Devex
Devex is a social enterprise bringing efficiency to international development through recruiting and business information services. Our members find development projects, business and career advice, jobs – and professional connections – on devex.com. Founded in 2000, Devex serves a global community of 500,000 development professionals and one thousand donors, companies, and NGOs. With a mission to bring greater efficiency to international development, our global staff of over 100 in five offices (Barcelona, London, Manila, Tokyo, and Washington, DC) works to provide innovative products and services to address the needs of each member of our development community. Development professionals or organizations working in the field of international development, humanitarian relief and global health, are invited to join us on http://www.devex.com

About Chevron
Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide. The company’s success is driven by the ingenuity and commitment of approximately 62,000 employees who operate across the energy spectrum. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and other energy products; manufactures and sells petrochemical products; generates power and produces geothermal energy; provides energy efficiency solutions; and develops the energy resources of the future, including biofuels and other renewables. Chevron is based in San Ramon, California.

Mark Vlasic Op Ed on “Remembering Srebenica & Our Responsibility to do More”

July 19, 2010

Ward & Ward Partner and Georgetown University Adjunct Professor of Law Mark Vlasic publishes op ed in the Huffington Post, entitled “Remembering Srebrenica & Our Responsibility to do More.

Fifteen years ago today, thousands of Muslims were being slaughtered in Europe. Some were killed opportunistically, but most were killed in a full-scale military operation: hands tied and blindfolded, they were lined up before freshly dug mass graves and shot in the back.

In other cases, rather than bussing them to mass grave locations, their captors chose to murder them were they were detained – slaughtering them by the hundreds at a warehouse and theater, by volleys of gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades. Later, earth-moving equipment would be used to remove the dead – and perhaps some living – and deposit them into other mass graves.

It is estimated that over 8,000 Muslims were executed after the July 11, 1995, fall of Srebrenica, Bosnia, to the Bosnian Serbs. Like many of recent history’s slaughters, the international community was already present. A battalion of Dutch U.N. peacekeepers was responsible for protecting the first U.N.-declared “safe area” in Srebrenica. As the Bosnian Serb Army advanced on the city, U.N. officials declined to allow NATO warplanes to intervene until it was too late. The Serbs took Srebrenica without a fight and thousands of Bosnian Muslims fled to what they thought was the protection of the U.N. base in Potocari.

Rather than offering a safe haven, the United Nations expelled fearful Muslims from their base and watched as another European genocide unfolded. In a scene evocative of Schindler’s List–a case of life imitating art, imitating life–families were torn apart under the watchful eyes of the international community. Men and boys were separated from women and small children, never to be seen again.

I was one of the U.N. employees involved in the world’s belated response to that massacre. From 2001 to 2003, I worked as a prosecution attorney at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, where I helped investigate and prosecute the Srebrenica genocide. There, I met with survivors who had two hopes. The first was to be reunited with their loved ones. The second, however, was to see criminal prosecutions–not just of the perpetrators of genocide, but of the U.N. and Dutch officers that abandoned them to the Serbs.

Every year, international diplomats pause to remember the world’s most recent genocides. This week, we mark the fifteenth anniversary of the tragedy at Srebrenica. Yet, despite the memorials and pretty words, mass crimes are a reality in many parts of our world, including those on-going in Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. While dignitaries repeat their promises to “never forget,” much of the world stands-by and watches as mass crimes continue to be perpetrated.

It was never supposed to be like that. In the wake of World War II, after six million Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust, the world united to form the United Nations, an international institution that would serve to protect against the darkest sides of humanity. Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer who coined the term “genocide,” worked within this new institution to expose this kind of mass murder as the most heinous crime of crimes. In 1948, his efforts were rewarded when the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Within a generation, however, after the self-congratulatory applause of international diplomats died down, much of the United Nations stood by and watched as the history of the Holocaust repeated itself–not just once, but twice–first in Rwanda and then, in Srebrenica.

Sadly, the passage of time only seems to bring new slaughters in different corners of the word. The crimes in the Darfur region of Sudan have prompted world-wide outrage, and even an International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for genocide, but it has not prompted a halt to the suffering in Darfur, or the end to Bashir’s power in Sudan. And though we might pause to acknowledge ‘International Justice Day’ this week, which celebrates the ICC and its efforts to end impunity for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, such days have yet to impact the atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a decades-long conflict is fueled and funded by mineral resources used to manufacture our favorite smartphones.

The Enough Project’s “Raise Hope For Congo” campaign reports that “profit from the mineral trade is one of the main motives for armed groups on all sides of the conflict in eastern Congo – the deadliest since World War II.” Instead of waiting for diplomats to take action, “we must raise our collective voice as consumers and demand conflict-free electronics. By pressuring electronics companies to remove conflict minerals from their supply chains, we can help remove fuel from the fire in Congo.”

We say we will “never forget” genocide and mass murder. But each time we turn our backs to the current slaughters, we intentionally forget the horror that humans can inflict upon their neighbors. We forget the richness of humankind that is sacrificed to hate–and perhaps even worse, that which is sacrificed to inaction. Let us hope that our leaders recognize their responsibility and take action globally, and we recognize our responsibility and take action locally.

Mark V. Vlasic, a senior fellow and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University, served on the Slobodan Milosevic and Gen. Radislav Krstic (Srebrenica) trial and investigative teams at the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, and is a partner at Ward & Ward PLLC, where he works on international law matters.

U.S. Senator Hammers Apple over Antennagate

July 15, 2010

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has weighed in on the iPhone 4 controversy, issuing a sharply worded letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. A powerful member of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Schumer urges Apple to “address the flaw in a transparent manner,” raising concerns with the discrepancy between Apple’s official response and reports that a defective antenna is to blame for reception issues.

July 15, 2010

Dear Mr. Jobs,

I write to express concern regarding the reception problem with the Apple iPhone 4. While I commend Apple’s innovative approach to mobile technology and appreciate its service to millions of iPhone users nationwide, I believe it is incumbent upon Apple to address this flaw in a transparent manner. According to Consumer Reports’ review, released Monday on its website, the iPhone 4’s signal-strength problem is a hardwire glitch triggered by gripping the device in a particular manner. This finding, according to Consumer Reports, “call[s] into question” Apple’s recent claim that the problem is “largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software.” Consumer Reports declined to recommend the iPhone 4 because of this hardware design flaw.

Given the discrepancy between Consumer Reports’ explanation of the reception problem and the explanation provided by Apple in its July 2 letter to customers, I am concerned that the nearly two million purchasers of the iPhone 4 may not have complete information about the quality of the product they have purchased. The burden for consumers caused by this glitch, combined with the confusion over its cause and how it will be fixed, has the potential to undermine the many benefits of this innovative device. To address this concern, I ask that Apple provide iPhone 4 customers with a clearly written explanation of the cause of the reception problem and make a public commitment to remedy it free-of-charge. The solutions offered to date by Apple for dealing with the so-called “death grip” malfunction-such as holding the device differently, or buying a cover for it-seem to be insufficient. These proposed solutions would unfairly place the burden on consumers for resolving a problem they were not aware of when they purchased their phones.

I also encourage Apple to keep its promise to provide free software updates so that bars displayed accurately reflect signal strength; I further urge Apple to issue a written explanation of the formula it uses to calculate bar strength, so that consumers can once again trust the product that they have invested in.

I look forward to Apple’s swift action on this matter, and once again laud Apple for its innovative efforts and service to millions of Americans.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

If you own an iPhone 4, and are interested in participating in our lawsuit against Apple and AT&T, please email me at dan@wardlawdc.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,

Dan Ward

Apple Drops Restocking Fee For iPhone 4

July 9, 2010

The only thing worse then being sold a defective product is having to pay for the privilege of returning it. A few days after Ward & Ward, PLLC and Charles A. Gilman LLC filed suit against Apple alleging, among other things, deceptive trade practices, fraud, negligence in design and breach of warranty relating to the iPhone 4’s defective antenna, Apple decided to waive the 10% restocking fee it charges customers returning their defective iPhones.

However, in their July 2nd statement denying any design problems with the iPhone 4 antenna and blaming the reception problems on a flawed signal strength indicator, Apple said customers have only 30 days from the time of purchase to receive their refund. That means time is quickly running out for customers who bought their iPhone 4 on or near the June 24th release date to return their defective iPhones. And what about customers who bought their phones at places like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, or an AT&T store? Will they be able to return their defective phones free of charge as well? Waiving the re-stocking fee is a good start, but what about the two year AT&T contract customers had to sign? Will that be waived as well? Should consumers be stuck with a two year AT&T contract based on their purchase of a flawed iPhone 4?

If you own an iPhone 4, and are interested in participating in our lawsuit against Apple and AT&T, please email me at dan@wardlawdc.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ward & Ward, PLLC and Charles Gilman, LLC file suit against Apple & AT&T

July 2, 2010

Ward & Ward, PLLC and Charles A. Gilman, LLC filed a lawsuit on June 30, 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of Kevin McCaffery, Linda Wrinn, and other iPhone 4 purchasers similarly situated.

If you are interested in joining this suit, we would be happy to represent you. This lawsuit may become a class action lawsuit, and we will operate on a contingent-fee basis.

If you own an iPhone 4, and are interested in participating in this lawsuit, please email me at dan@wardlawdc.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,

Dan Ward