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Dust settles in Web site duel

Dueling lawyer Web sites were left standing when the dust settled in Alexandria federal district court last week.

Two Northern Virginia lawyers with the same surname developed the Web sites to market their separate specialties.

H. Jay Spiegel, a Mt. Vernon IP lawyer, is at “SPIEGELAW.COM,” while Alexandria employment lawyer Steven M. Spiegel uses “SPIEGELLAW.COM.”

Each domain name had been registered with Network Solutions in 1999, but Jay’s site was up and running that year, while Steven created his Web site in 2008. When the two Spiegels clashed, the IP lawyer sued the employment lawyer.

Alexandria U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris denied the IP lawyer’s request for a preliminary injunction last December.

Last week, he denied the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, saying the court “will leave them as they stand.”

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, the court seemed to say in H. Jay Spiegel & Assoc. PC v. Spiegel. (VLW 009-3-485).

“The parties’ unwillingness to invest more time and energy in this litigation is to some extent understandable,” the judge wrote. Had either party hired outside counsel, rather than taking the pro se route, “it is extremely unlikely” the case would have gotten as far as it did.

“The dollar value that an objective observer would have assigned to this Lilliputian controversy would likely be much lower than the cost of litigating it,” Cacheris said.
Deborah Elkins

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