Farthing & Stewart LLP is pleased to announce that partner Brian S. Stewart has been named a 2019 Ohio Rising Star by Super Lawyers.
The Super Lawyers selection process evaluates lawyers based on peer recognition and professional achievement; verdicts/settlements; honors/awards; scholarship and professional writings; pro bono and community service activities; education/employment background; as well as other notable achievements. Rising Stars are up-and-coming attorneys who are under 40 years old or who have been practicing for 10 years or less. The selection process is further detailed here. A full list of the 2019 Ohio Super Lawyers and Ohio Rising Stars can be found in the January 2019 issue of Columbus Monthly magazine.
No more than 2.5 percent of lawyers in Ohio are recognized as Rising Stars.
"It is an honor to be recognized by Ohio Super Lawyers," said Attorney Stewart. "At Farthing & Stewart LLP we hold ourselves to high professional standards in how we practice, how we work with fellow lawyers, and most importantly, how we serve the needs of our clients."
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Service of process – being “served” with a summons and complaint at the beginning of a lawsuit – is an essential aspect of the litigation process. The rules have been fairly static for many years, but 21st technologies may eventually prompt a reevaluation of their usefulness. This past week, for example, “A judge has given a New York City woman permission to file for divorce from her elusive husband via a Facebook message.” The judge directed that the woman could serve her husband “via a private Facebook message” which will “be repeated once a week for three consecutive weeks or until ‘acknowledged’ by Ellanora Baidoo’s hard-to-find husband.” See “Court says woman can serve divorce papers via Facebook” The Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com/news/break-news/court-says-woman-can-serve-divorce-papers-via-facebook-1.580997.
Once you get past the “service by Facebook” novelty, the NY judge is, in effect, merely allowing service by publication via social media, as opposed to publication in a print newspaper. In Ohio, the Rules of Civil Procedure provide for service by publication when a party cannot be located at a physical address. In practice, this involves a costly newspaper ad, running for 6 consecutive weeks in the largest print newspaper in the county where the lawsuit is pending, buried along other notices and ads that might (but likely won't) be seen by the intended recipient. I recently completed this service by publication process in a small town newspaper, and the cost of the ad alone was more than $1,000.
For this reason, some of the rules regarding service of process read as being rather quaint and antiquated when compared to the everyday technologies of the 21st century. If the goal of service of process is that it ultimately succeeds, bar associations and policymakers should eventually ask some basic questions, especially when it comes to service by publication. For one, is it more likely that an adverse party will be given notice of a pending lawsuit by posting on his/her Facebook page, or by placing a print notice in a newspaper he/she may not even read, in a section of the paper than even many subscribers avoid?
A few jurisdictions have dipped their toes in the water of service by social media. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has allowed even personal service by social media, let alone service by publication. See “Service of Process via Social Media Becoming a Reality?” Bloomberg BNA Social Media Blog, http://www.bna.com/service-process-via-b17179872848/. A bill in the Texas legislature appears to be the first attempt to provide for service by social media within statute. Id. The history of service of process as it relates to emerging technologies is also analyzed thoroughly in “Superpoked and Served: Service of Process via Social Networking Sites” by Adriana L. Schultz in the University of Richmond Law Review. http://lawreview.richmond.edu/superpoked-and-served/
The broader legal industry may be slow to embrace this judge's "Service by Facebook" ruling. Indeed, most legal articles about emerging technologies tend to err on the side of pearl-clutching warnings about how cloud computing is dangerous, social media activity is a gateway drug to ethical violations, and other stodgy fretting. But these technologies are here to stay, and as the broader society continues to embrace them, it is likely inevitable that their use will (and should) be adopted by the legal field as well.
I was honored to speak at Forest Cemetery in Circleville this year as part of the Soldiers Monumental Association's Memorial Day ceremonies. You can now watch my remarks online.
-Brian S. Stewart
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently issued a decision cancelling the trademark registrations owned by the NFL’s Washington Redskins. As an attorney who has handled multiple trademark matters before the PTO, this decision is fascinating both for its scope, and also for the unique manner in which it has focused the general public’s attention on the law of intellectual property. There are several brief takeaways that I think are important for those interested in this story.
This is just the beginning. The next item of intrigue will be whether the federal courts grant a stay of this decision pending the (inevitable) appeal. Then, there will be the appeal itself before federal judges – not staff from the PTO. It will be fascinating to watch.
For questions about trademark rights and other forms of intellectual property, contact Farthing & Stewart LLP.
-Brian S. Stewart
Originally published in The Circleville Herald, January 22, 2014.
Established local attorney John Farthing and Brian Stewart, an attorney and Pickaway County Commissioner, are partnering to form a new local law firm, Farthing & Stewart LLP, based in Circleville.
Stewart, an Ashville resident, has worked at the Columbus law firm of Carlile Patchen & Murphy LLP since 2010 in the firm’s litigation and business practice groups.
“I’m very excited to be taking the next step in my legal career,” said Stewart. “I’ve always been attracted to the idea of working for myself and providing legal services in the type of community that I’ve lived in all my life. Being able to partner with John, who has been very successful and has such a wealth of experience, is a great opportunity that really appealed to me.”
Farthing & Stewart LLP offers legal representation for businesses and individuals in a variety of different practice areas, including numerous business law services, contracts, misdemeanor criminal defense, domestic relations, estate planning, intellectual property, many types of litigation, professional compliance, real estate, tax and technology law.
“Brian and I share an approach as attorneys which emphasizes professionalism, integrity and a personal touch in providing great service to our clients,” said Farthing. “I’m looking forward to being able to expand the services we offer throughout south central Ohio.” Stewart spent 2013 in his first year as Pickaway County Commissioner, and is looking forward to being a daily part of the local business environment.
“I was spending a large part of each week in Circleville, and the more time I spent here, the more I started to wish I could work here full-time,” Stewart said. “As Commissioner, you have a front row seat to see so many positive things happening all around our community, and I’m constantly working to help promote Pickaway County and Circleville as a great place to work. I’m excited to have the chance to take my own advice.”
The firm is located at Farthing’s existing law office at 233 S. Scioto Street in Circleville, alongside Citizens Land Title Company.
Additional information about the firm and its services can be found at www.farthingstewart.com and by calling (740) 474-3103.
A recent article in the New York Times describes a legendary contract enacted in 1976 between two owners of a struggling American Basketball Association (ABA) team and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Ozzie and Daniel Silna were the owners of the Spirits of St. Louis, a team that was going to be left out in the cold and excluded from the new NBA. As compensation, the Silnas and their attorney negotiated a deal that was, at the time, viewed as somewhat of a bargain: just $2.2 million (the other excluded team's ownership got over $3 million), plus 1/7 of all NBA TV revenue until the end of time (i.e. this contract had no term in place). As explained by the Times:
The Silnas’ deal resonates, at least in part, because it appears that they snookered the league, or, more accurately, the Nets, the Pacers, the Nuggets and the Spurs, who dealt directly with the brothers.
The Silnas' gamble paid off handsomely: an estimated $300 million to date, an impending $500 million settlement payment, plus an eventual (undisclosed) buyout payment that has now been negotiated. This is obviously an uncommonly great deal, but the takeaways for parties in everyday transactions should not be overlooked.
First, never sign a contract that you have not read, and do not fully understand. As the Times implies, the ABA/NBA side was in a hurry to get a deal done, and were willing to agree to a term they likely did not fully comprehend. Your contract should almost always include a set term, plus a clear description of how and when the agreement may be terminated early or renewed. Also, just because a contract is well-drafted, does not mean those terms are in your favor.
Second, consult your crystal ball. The parties involved in the Silnas' deal do not appear to have appreciated the value of what they were dealing with. That the NBA would become an international sensation - with superstars like Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, etc. - probably seemed like a pipe dream in 1976. Your own business might seem like a longshot when you're working out of your garage or basement. But countless American success stories have humble beginnings. So consider the future before entering into long-term deals, or selling ownership interests, in your own business.
FARTHING & STEWART LLP
Brian S. Stewart
Thank-you for visiting our new website. We are excited to have formed this new partnership, and look forward to serving the legal needs of those individuals and businesses in our region. This blog will be updated with news about our firm, general legal news of interest, and articles by our attorneys. We encourage you to bookmark this blog and check back soon.