Last night at about 10:00 p.m., I received an e-mail from Richard Hunt of Barran Liebman LLP about Naegeli. It was a fairly standard legal threat, not that I know what those look like, since I’ve never received one before. If you’re short on time, skip their nonsense and read my reply.
The demand letter is available for download here:
Now, I understand that this kind of thing may have a chilling effect on the free speech I have worked so hard to promote in our industry. I must ask all of you not to be afraid, but to turn to your state and federal legislators and law enforcement. Take this opportunity to share with them what is happening. I will lead by example in defense of our collective futures. I will be brave as I am asking all of you to be.
The PDF download and plain text is below.
Dear Mr. Hunt:
I’ll assume you’re an honest lawyer roped into this circus by your corporate client. Welcome. Make sure you’re sitting for this one.
This is my show. Defamation is a false statement of fact published to a third party that causes damage. Naegeli’s reputation is so awful that I find it hard to believe there’s anything that could be said that would damage its reputation further. Some of the statements I make are factual, and truth is an affirmative defense to defamation. Beyond that, some of the statements I make are an opinion based on my expertise as a stenographic court reporter for the last 11 and a half years and creator of what is indisputably the largest blog in my industry. You do not have a cause of action and therefore it would be legally wrong for you to file a complaint against me.
You should peruse my blog. I’ve been reporting corporate corruption against much larger corporations than Naegeli. Veritext and US Legal Support appear to be involved in a plot to rig the court reporting and stenotype services industry against consumers/lawyers. What was done to the healthcare industry as portrayed in the series Dopesick about Purdue Pharma is more or less being done to my industry. The difference here is that what is occurring in my industry is what would have happened if one doctor rallied the others to fight the misleading advertising and dishonest behavior. Conceded that the series is a dramatization of the actual events, of course. I have a moral obligation to stop the lies and dishonesty rampant in my field because of the damage this plot will likely do to my profession, its students, minority speakers, and testimony transcript accuracy. Once the public takes note and begins alerting the DOJ, FBI, and FTC as I have, there is virtually no chance the plot will continue. Naegeli’s gouging was such a minor and unrelated part of that, that in my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined this kind of foolish overreaction and strategic blunder. Thank you.
My field is beset by silence and fear. I aim to break this. To achieve this I have become a goal-oriented person. You see, now that Naegeli has threatened to sue through an actual law firm, it’s put itself in a much worse position than anyone could have conceived. Now Naegeli has two choices. It can fail to sue me, and show an entire field of nearly 30,000 court reporters that it is a scared barking dog, which will embolden them. The competition from all of them will become so fierce that it will run the company into the ground. Alternatively, Naegeli could sue. I am quite sure that I can find a valid counterclaim. We can lock each other in for a lawsuit and give this field the show it never knew it needed. It will be the single-largest destruction of capital the industry has ever seen and your client’s reputation will drop even more as court reporters across the nation realize that money could’ve gone into advertising to fix the stenographer shortage. Imagine the backlash. “Yes, I could’ve spent $400 an hour advertising this profession but instead I, Naegeli & Co., have decided the money is better spent stifling Christopher Day’s free speech.”
I know the latter seems like an attractive choice, but it will only expand my audience exponentially and possibly allow me to run daily ads decrying Naegeli’s hatred of free speech and the stenographic free press. I took a personality test recently, and it claimed I was a mediator. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have come up with a third option. I can use my media personality to completely rehabilitate Naegeli’s reputation. We can sign a contract that Naegeli will use only stenographers and/or voice writers, and will shift their billing model to be the more open and honest “split of invoice” method. I’ll take $100,000 for up to two dozen press releases or media actions in 2022. Together, we will find a way to repair Naegeli’s image in the eyes of the public and court reporters across the nation. We can donate 5% of the contract to NCRF and 5% of the contract to Open Steno to show the field our resolve and unity.
I have about $1,200 to my name and am about $20,000 in debt. You see, the corporations in my field looted it so much by the time I got here that as a young man, I simply didn’t have a fair shot. I let you know that in order to explain that in the event you sue and somehow manage to bribe a judge and/or jury to see things your way, you will have succeeded in little more than obtaining a piece of paper called a judgment that says “you win, congrats.” Meanwhile, the work I am doing will ensure that not a single stenography grad ever has to suffer like that again. If you believe there is any universe where I will back down, there is an ancient stenographic proverb designed just for you.
19 thoughts on “Stenonymous Receives Demand for Correction & Apology from Naegeli”
This is awesome. Thank you, Christopher!!
So well said. Definitely hit a nerve in the Naegeli camp. Something tells me they’ll keep fighting (aka shooting themselves in the foot.) Thank you, Christoher Day, for being our voice!!
Excellent response. Thank you!!!
Priceless response !
I am BOWLED OVER with this. Kudos to you, sir.
Good job, Christopher. You have certainly made a difference in the direction our profession is going! Thank you for that.
I was on the record all day and couldn’t wait to read this. I’m baffled as to why they think this is a good strategy, but here we are!
[wild, raucous standing ovation with glitter]
Chris – the stenographers who work for me all make at least $80k a year. We set guaranteed minimum pay for real-time writers. Are you a real-time writer? I’m just thinking that if you put more time into developing your skills (and maintain a budget) you would be out of debt in no time.
I’m just thinking my media personality beats anything you’re going to pay.
Just read this! Thanks for all you do, Chris Day! You’re great! Naegeli is NOT.
Any update on this? I’ve battled with Naegeli many times over the years over their incredible overcharging. We NEVER hire them, but end up getting a bill occasionally when another party hires them – and we’re just stuck with it.
They never sued me or responded after that. Two other stenographers received similar letters and responded as I did, and as far as I know no action was taken.
Stenographic free press wins for now, but as for what can be done about the opaque nature of the market, I’m not sure. I did put out a page rate report under REC Reporting.
Thanks for the update and your great work taking on these people! Scam artists!! I questioned their invoice a few days ago and received an “I’ll look into this tomorrow” response, and I’m still waiting. Can’t wait to see the ridiculous reasoning they come up with for charging me almost $2,000 for less than two hundred pages of transcript (which they also charged the other party over $4,000 for the same transcript with video!).
Keep up the good work!
Thank you very much. I feel that the market could do with more transparency. Right now we have a big issue where large companies are claiming no stenographer is available but they’re not making great efforts to attract stenographers.
It’s basically an attack on consumer choice. Consumer preference is stenographer, so the only way to get them to accept not having one is to say they can’t get one, and artificially grow the demand for digital audio monitoring, which some have a stake in training.
It’s bizarre to me that such things are done to attorneys, who tend to be on the smarter side when it comes to consumer knowledge.
Chris, great stuff! This oughta teach them who they’re dealing with! Love it!
They never did follow up.
This made me smile from ear to ear. Keep it up man fighting the good fight!
Thank you so much! Have to try. Them and people like them are destroying my industry. And they may even succeed. But applying pressure is the name of the game, and as long as I’m breathing, the pressure will mount.