The case of Frankie Rzucek
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Harassment on YouTube case
A statement about the case of Frankie Rzucek
Since our firm has taken on the case of Frankie Rzucek, both our client and ourselves have been inundated with questions about the case, the legal strategy and the funding. Whilst we are unable, at this stage, to comment on the case itself or the evidence, we can provide some general information, pertaining to the different stages and the funding.
Our firm is known for taking on complex cases involving online discovery, harassment and defamation. Whilst we aim to provide legal assistance to as many victims as we possibly can, our in-house team of legal specialists is relatively small, usually between 12-15 lawyers and paralegals, which means we have to make sure that our time is being wisely invested. This means that before we can take on a complex case, we must carry out an initial assessment of the evidence and the law, to make sure that on the face of it, our client has a reasonably good likelihood of success. An initial assessment often takes a considerable number of hours to complete. We try to reach a decision based on as much information as possible.
The decision is based on an overview of the evidence, whilst avoiding going into too much detail, as this could substantially increase the legal costs at a stage where it is not yet clear whether we will be willing to take on the case. Our clients pay for us to carry out the initial assessment. Only after we conclude based on the initial assessment that our client has a reasonably good case to pursue, would we agree to take the case on and to move it to the next stage. Sometimes, individuals who approach us for help, are unable to raise the funds for us to carry out an initial assessment of their case.
Unfortunately, having a limited amount of resources means that we have to either turn those people away or, in extreme cases of hardship, we would pay for the initial assessment from our own charitable fund. We set this fund up 10 years ago precisely for this purpose. Fortunately, our client Mr Rzucek, was able to raise funds previously, to pursue legal action against his harassers. Mr Rzucek was, therefore, able to use those funds to fund the initial assessment stage of the preparation of his case, which required a substantial investment of time.
Before we began working on his case, we spoke to Mr Rzucek’s bank to ensure that the funds, which had been sitting there for a considerable amount of time, would be sent directly to our firm’s client account to carry out the initial assessment.
Once we agree that a case has a reasonably good likelihood of success, we consider, together with our client, various forms of funding. Litigation cases often consume a considerable amount of time and financial resources to prepare and present. Generally speaking, crowdfunding is a safe way for people to support legal causes that they feel passionate about.
If the crowd funding is done through CrowdJustice, the money that is being raised goes directly to the regulated law firm's client account and it can only be used to pay for actual legal work. No funds are received or handled by the client directly or indirectly.
Preserving the evidence and preparing the case
Once the client manages to secure funding, we move on to the next stage in the preparation, which is the preservation and detailed consideration of the evidence. This again requires an investment of a considerable amount of time and legal expertise.
Preparing a statement of the case
Once our lawyers have identified the relevant evidence in the case, the legal team will move to the next stage and draft a statement of the case. In most cases, this will be served on the defendant before commencing formal legal proceedings. At this point in the case, we will be reaching out to the defendant with a view of settling the case out of court which would be our preferred option, particularly if the case is being funded through donations.
Service of legal pleadings
After the preparation of the statement of the case, and in the event that the case isn't resolved following the service of a letter before legal action, the next stage in the legal proceedings is the filing of the legal claim, the service of the pleadings and if needed, an application for summary judgment or a trial.
Answering questions from members of the public
Each week, we receive scores of telephone calls and emails about Mr Rzucek’s case. Some just contain abuse whilst others are enquiries by backers who want to know more about the case and its progress. By law, we are unable to discuss any matter concerning our client without his consent.
Furthermore, as the majority of our work is paid for by generous donations, we must make sure that all the work that we carry out, is work that adds value and which helps to progress our client’s case. It is, therefore, impossible for us to engage in conversations with every person who calls or email us.
For these reasons, we are unable to discuss our client’s matter on the phone or respond to third parties’ emails about the case, as these could either result in a breach of our client’s confidentiality or be considered unnecessary work which does not help progress our client’s case.