We Didn’t Do It: Professor Authors Distance Themselves from West’s Shoddy Pocket Part

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Although it is all over the legal news in the main publications, I am really fascinated by this story and feel compelled to regurgitate it here: Professors David Rudovsky and Leonard Sosnov have filed suit in federal court against West seeking to enjoin distribution of a pocket part to their book “Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure — Law, Commentary and Forms” because of its poor quality and the imputation that the professors were involved with it. Seeking to protect their reputations, the Professors are urging the court to require West to clarify that the professors were in no way involved with the pocket part and to offer a refund to unhappy customers.

The professors provided updates to the 20-year old book through 2007. They are challenging the 2008 Pocket Part, which adds only three new cases adn no references to reversals by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of previously-reported cases.

Counsel for West concedes that West is not “proud” of the first version. Wow. And West has mailed out a new version that supposedly cures the defects and explains that the professors did not participate in any way in the making of the 2008 Pocket Part. The professors apparently quit working on the book when West cut their pay in half and refused to authorize a full revised edition to the 20-year old work.

Apparently, the sparring in this case is not confined to the arguments: the Judge presiding over the injunction hearing on Tuesday took issue with the “tone” adopted by West’s counsel, attacking the parties rather than their arguments, and lectured West’s counsel on manners.

Here is the statement by Thomson Reuters issued Wednesday following the Tuesday hearing:

West’s primary concern is to provide high quality products and services to its customers. We made the decision to update the 2009 supplement so that this publication could better meet the level of quality that our customers expect from us. West disputes the plaintiffs’ claim about the now-replaced 2008/09 supplement. The company will not otherwise comment on the pending lawsuit, but does look forward at the appropriate time to rebutting plaintiffs’ claims

Perhaps their time, money and effort might be of better use in making sure their publications meet minimum standards than in hiring counsel to rebut the plaintiffs’ claims. Or maybe West is more of the mindset that it should spend “millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute.” Thomas Jefferson.

Hit the jump to the Law.com for the full story.

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