Monday, January 7, 2008

Who Is Joseph Martin Carasso?

In a city teeming with attorneys, it might have been assumed that Susan O’Malley could have found a First Amendment or libel law specialist to file her $2 million lawsuit against Sharad Karkhanis.

Instead, the former UFS chairperson/PSC executive committee member turned to a 54-year-old entertainment attorney named Joseph Martin Carasso. A graduate of the William Mitchell College of Law (not an institution many would confuse with a Tier-I law school), Carasso’s Lexis/Nexis entry lists his specialties as entertainment litigation and personal injury matters.*

Carasso also served as consultant to a 2003 film called How Do You Spell Murder?, which “documents the L.I.F.E. literacy program at the New Jersey State Prison, one of the few inmate-run literacy programs in the United States.” He also has advertised himself as providing “low-cost legal advice for independents.”

It’s not clear how any of this experience—or, presumably, his personal injury lawsuits—prepared Carasso for filing what Brooklyn College professor Mitchell Langbert has termed a case “consistent with the long-observed deterioration of universities’ willingness to tolerate dissent,” which “may suggest an extension of this deterioration to universities’ use of the courts to suppress external criticism.”

In an interview with the New York Sun, O’Malley termed her cause of action “very, very silly.” Perhaps that’s why she had to turn to an entertainment and personal injury lawyer to get an attorney willing to file the suit.


*--corrected, in light of Carasso's subsequent denial of an association with ARP

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