No Good Deed: How Jose Arcaya Ph.D. Esq. Went From Suing a Client Over A Yelp Review To Complaining About Scott Greenfield

Jose Arcaya Ph.D., Esq., Etc. is a lawyer/psychotherapist in New York. Many lawyers have to assume the role of psychotherapist; Arcaya appears to have actual qualifications.

One of those qualifications is sensitivity, apparently. A former client left a negative review on Yelp. The review primarily complained about how Arcaya treated the client:

I hired Arcaya to help with a case. I asked him at the outset if he had handled these matters before and he said yes. The ensuing performance suggests otherwise.

When I mentioned his truly pitiful performance he implied that it was my fault. When i reminded him that he was the lawyer and hired to do a professional job he made fun of my medical issues. Absolute scum.

This is America, so you know what happened next: Arcaya sued the client for defamation, representing himself pro se. He demanded the removal of the Yelp review, $80,000, and the cost of his time. The complaint is a bitter denunciation of the client and a smirking recitation of his past misfortunes. Arcaya demands satisfaction for being called “absolute scum” and for the statement that he “made fun” of his client’s medical issues.

The statement that Arcaya is “absolute scum” is a classic example of insult, rhetorical hyperbole, and opinion: it can’t be proved true or false. The statement that Arcaya made fun of his client could be a potentially actionable statement of fact, though ultimately that’s probably a matter of opinion as well. Arcaya represented his client in an attempt to get him academic accommodations based on the client’s disabilities arising from brain damage. In the course of an email dispute about fees, Arcaya said:

In your dreams. You sorted me $2000. I got just $3k for the article 78. The deal had been $5K. Memory problems.

JMA

Was it over-sensitive of the client to interpret “memory problems” as a snide reference to his disability? Maybe. The tone of Arcaya’s complaint certainly suggests he’s the sort of person who would indulge in such an insult. Whether over-sensitive or not, it’s certainly not as freakishly over-sensitive as Arcaya suing over this Yelp review.

The client reached out to me, and I reached out to my friend Scott Greenfield. Scott wanted to try to talk Mr. Arcaya back from the precipice. That effort was unsuccessful. Rather than grasping that he was engaged in a self-destructive flirtation with the Streisand Effect, Arcaya doubled down. He subpoened Scott Greenfield for a deposition. No, really. Here’s the subpoena. Challenged, he filed a bizarre rant justifying the subpoena. He spun a tale that Scott threatened him with a “gang” of thousands of internet users. It sounds like a strange person’s misunderstanding of a point Scott often makes: if you act like an ass in the effort to suppress speech, the Streisand Effect will treat you unkindly.

Link (Popehat)

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