Sedgwick Claims Management v. Delsman Appealed to Ninth Circuit

By Eric Goldman

Put this one in the “Are you kidding me?” file. Last month I blogged about Sedgwick Claims Management v. Delsman involving a small-time griper who had the temerity to cut-and-paste some company executive headshots to create his griping material. Sedgwick went after Delsman in a big way, hiring a big national firm (Lord Locke) to take Delsman down, apparently unaware of or unconcerned about the Streisand effect. Delsman defended pro se. Despite the long odds, Delsman nevertheless got a rousing dismissal of the claims. The court held the use of the headshots was a fair use (a clearly correct ruling, IMO), and the court casually tossed all of the other claims using California’s anti-SLAPP law.

That should have been the end of it. Instead, surprisingly, Sedgwick has decided to appeal the ruling to the Ninth Circuit. This sets up a potentially important Ninth Circuit showdown over how copyright fair use and anti-SLAPP doctrines apply to Internet gripers. It also gives Sedgwick extra time to bask in the glow of the Streisand effect.

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