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University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Professor Sally Vogl-Bauer is fighting her former student's defamatory comments in a defamation lawsuit. She has hired Timothy Edwards of Cullen Weston Pines & Bach to represent her in this lawsuit, according to the Associated Press. According to a LTN Law Technology News article dated May 28, 2014, "Professor Sues Student Over Social Media," the graduate student has made it his mission to tell the public about his former professor's conduct before she ruined someone else's life. Anthony Llewellyn, the disgruntled student, outlined the so-called injustices he endured in his professor's class on YouTube. He also reported his grievances on professor-rating sites as well as other forms of social media.
Although Edwards and Vogl-Bauer hope Llewellyn removes his defamatory comments, the student's actions go beyond bad online reviews. Colleen Flaherty who writes for InsideHigherEd.com stated that Llewellyn contacted a professional organization called the Eastern Communication Association (ECA). He made similar statements to the ECA that can be found online. Llewellyn also sent Vogl-Bauer's colleagues a similar email. Edwards told Flaherty that the student's actions don't amount to protected speech. He added, "When somebody goes onto the Internet because they've gotten a bad grade or result they don't like, and anonymously posts things to get even or secure revenge," those statements shouldn't be excused.
I asked Mr. Edwards what can an individual do once there is defamatory content posted about them? "Unfortunately, social media hosts are not legally responsible for defamatory content that is posted on their platform. The only thing you can do is try to convince the individual in question to remove the objectionable material. Some websites will remove the material under its terms and conditions, so you should check there as well."
Will this case head to court? What does Mr. Edwards plan to achieve for Vogl-Bauer? "Our hope has always been that Mr. Llewellyn would remove his defamatory statements and move on with his life."
Mr. Edwards focuses his practice on complex federal and state court civil litigation, which includes class action disputes in federal court. He represents individuals and businesses in commercial disputes involving trade secrets, non-compete agreements, and other business torts. Mr. Edwards also handles construction and real estate litigation. He is a nationally recognized speaker and author on matters involving document retention practices, electronic discovery, and the admissibility of electronically stored information. Mr. Edwards has been lead counsel in many class action lawsuits, including a number of successful hour collective and wage actions resulting in significant settlements. He also represents licensed professionals in professional discipline issues.
Prior to joining Cullen Weston Pines & Bach, LLP, Mr. Edwards worked for a large Madison law firm for more than seven years, where he practiced principally in complex federal court litigation concerning class action work. Before that, he ran his own law firm in downtown Madison.
Mr. Edwards started his law career as a criminal defense attorney representing indigent clients in an Arizonian courthouse. This position prepared him for a career as a litigator. However, it convinced him that efficient client representation demands more than the ability to routinely go through dozens of cases each day.
Mr. Edwards is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he has taught Pre-Trial Advocacy, Civil Procedure, Professional Responsibility, and Evidence. For the past five years, he has operated the Law School's nationally recognized Pre-Trial Advocacy Program, which offers hands on, practical skills training for second and third year law students. Mr. Edwards' extensive practical experience and academic preparation permits him to approach legal challenges from several angles. In weighing solutions, he keeps a sharp eye on proficiency. Mr. Edwards understands that one of his clients' biggest challenges is the cost of litigation. He works hard to keep fees in check while emphatically protecting each client's best interests.
"Over the years, Mr. Edwards has been awarded with several distinctions. He is the recipient of the WISLAP Volunteer Attorney of the Year Award from the State Bar of Wisconsin (2006). He has been named a Super Lawyer in Employment and General Litigation by Wisconsin Super Lawyers from 2008 to 2013."
Mr. Edwards has been admitted to the State Bar of Wisconsin and Arizona, the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin, the U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin, and the U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit. From 2002 to 2008, he served as a Committee Member of the Wisconsin Lawyer's Assistance Program. In 2008, Mr. Edwards served as Chairperson of the Wisconsin Lawyer's Assistance Program (WisLAP). Since 2005, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Western District of Wisconsin Bar Association. Since 2011, Mr. Edwards has been a member of the Seventh Circuit's Electronic Discovery Pilot Program.
Mr. Edwards was born and raised Ann Arbor, MI, and received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1985 and earned his J.D. from Wayne State University Law School in 1989. He also earned his LL.M. from University of Missouri Columbia School of Law in 1999 and his S.J.D. from University of Wisconsin in 2001. Mr. Edwards and his wife reside in Oregon, WI, with their son Nathan, and their daughter, Megan.
When the fearless attorney isn't working, he enjoys the Detroit Redwings and fishing. He also enjoys eating at several great local Madison restaurants.
Mr. Edwards' Memories and Motivations
Did Mr. Edwards receive any awards or participate in any internship that influenced his decision to go into the law? "No."
Does he have a most memorable law school experience? "Graduating."
How long has Mr. Edwards been an attorney? "Since 1995."
Why did he decide to become an attorney? "I took constitutional law in Undergrad and I thought it was fascinating."
When asked about his practice areas, Mr. Edwards stated, "A major focus of my practice is litigating employment disputes in state and federal court throughout the nation."
What is the best part of his job? "I like the complexity of the law and the unique problems that are presented in litigation."
What is Mr. Edwards known for professionally? "I am a nationally recognized expert in electronic discovery and the admissibility of electronically stored information."
What are his strengths and one weakness as an attorney? "Sometimes I get too frustrated when other attorneys play games and judges don't have time or interest to provide thoughtful consideration in a given case. My strength is that I have a great deal of passion and commitment for my clients, who I care about very much."
What area of the law is Mr. Edwards most passionate about? "Our present misunderstanding of the Second Amendment and the protection that it currently provides for gun owners."
Is there an area of practice he would like to develop further into? "Complex Federal Court litigation including class action work."
If Mr. Edwards were not a lawyer, what would he most probably be doing? "I would be a professional fisherman."
Where does he see himself in five years time? "Pretty much doing the same thing."
What motivates Mr. Edwards to be an attorney everyday? "The challenges in litigation and I also have a family to feed."
How does he want to be remembered? "For being a good husband and father."
Working at a Giant Amusement Park, Being a Criminal Defense Attorney, Working for a Large Law Firm and Most Interesting Case
Mr. Edwards once worked at a giant amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, operating a water ride called the Nestea Plunge. How was this experience? "The ratio of female to male employees at Cedar Point was five to one. Need I say more?"
He began his law career as a criminal defense attorney representing indigent clients in a busy Arizona courthouse. How did this prepare Mr. Edwards for a career as a litigator? "This was the best experience a new lawyer could possibly have. I was in court regularly and had an opportunity to try cases and learn from some of the best trial lawyers in the United States."
Mr. Edwards worked for a large Madison law firm for over seven years, where he practiced primarily in complex federal court litigation involving class action work. How was this experience? "Class action work is fascinating, however working for a big firm has challenges that I never want to confront again."
Does he have a case that stands out? "The most complicated and interesting case that I worked on involved a class action lawsuit against a major telecommunications company for wages owed to its technicians. The case resulted in a significant settlement that resulted in payment to thousands of hard-working class members for money they earned but were previously not paid for."
Being an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Speaking Engagements, Pro Bono Work, Non-Profit Organizations and Mr. Edwards' Goals
What motivates Mr. Edwards to teach? "I enjoy working with younger lawyers and I believe it is critical that they are provided with practical skills before they graduate law school. The University of Wisconsin-Madison does an excellent job of providing this opportunity and I am proud to be part of its curriculum."
He is a nationally recognized author and speaker on issues involving electronic discovery, document retention practices, and the admissibility of electronically stored information. What motivated Mr. Edwards to specialize in this area of the law? Will he continue his speaking engagements regarding this matter? Mr. Edwards acknowledged:
"I am very interested in procedure, which I have taught at the law school for many years. Electronic discovery is a fascinating topic that involves many different areas of the law and creates special challenges for lawyers. I knew right away that this issue would continue to escalate and that it was very important to understand how electronically-stored information should be handled during the course of a lawsuit. I will continue to speak and write on these issues as time permits."
Does he handle pro bono work? "Yes."
Is Mr. Edwards involved with any non-profit organizations? "I am an advisor to a non-profit corporation that provides treatment services to addicted individuals in recovery."
Does he have goals? "To be a good husband, a good father and to be remembered as a passionate advocate for my clients."
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