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Gibson Dunn Attorney Jim Walden: Blog Comment “Potentially Libelous”

This Wednesday, while Streetsblog reporter Noah Kazis was wrapping up his piece on the propriety of devoting pro bono legal services to help wealthy Brooklyn residents eradicate a bike lane, we received a letter from Gibson Dunn attorney Jim Walden. We think the letter is illustrative of the tactics employed by opponents of the Prospect Park West redesign.

Gibson Dunn attorney Jim Walden

The letter is dated February 18, two days after Noah started submitting inquiries to Gibson Dunn about how the firm decided to work pro bono for Prospect Park West bike lane opponents.

In the letter, Walden contends that a reader comment left in response to a February 14 Streetsblog post is “potentially libelous” in its treatment of Steven Spirn, a member of the anti-bike lane group Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes who appeared in a Marcia Kramer CBS2 news segment embedded in the post.

I called Walden yesterday and told him that Streetsblog will not be removing the comment in question because it does not violate our comment policy and does not constitute libel. I asked if he intended to pursue legal action.

“I’m going to evaluate that with my client and I'll let you know,” he said.

I asked Walden if his client in this case is “Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes,” and he said no, in this case, he’s representing Spirn individually.

I asked Walden if he was representing Spirn pro bono, and he said, “I don't see how that's any of your business.”

He then refused to answer any questions about his representation of Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes.

Update: At the request of the commenter, the comment in question has been removed.

Here is Walden’s letter to Streetsblog (you can click to enlarge).

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