Defamation

Gorman v. Meale

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

07/07/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Jennifer Meale; Xcentric Ventures, LLC

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

McHenry County Circuit Court

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Attorneys at Favaro & Gorman Ltd. filed a lawsuit against Jennifer Meale and Xcentric Ventures, LLC over allegedly defamatory posts made anonymously by Meale on Ripoff Report, a consumer review website.  It is not clear how the law determined that Meale was responsible for the anonymous reports.

According to the Northwest Herald, Xcentric was named as a defendant because it failed to remove the allegedly defamatory postings despite repeated requests from Favaro & Gorman.  Xcentric will likely raise section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as a defense.

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

07/13/2009 - LB editing; no court documents available on Illinois state court website; no docket on westlaw; no other news coverage that I can find

Priority: 

1-High

Rejuvenation Strax and Aesthetics Institute v. Durham

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

05/08/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Marshia Durham

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

17th Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Florida

Case Number: 

CACE08020498

Legal Counsel: 

Pro Se

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

Strax Rejuvenation and Aesthetics Institute, a plastic surgery clinic in Lauderhill, Florida, filed a lawsuit in May 2008 against a patient who allegedly posted a defamatory review of her treatment on CitySearch.com. The patient, Marshia Durham, said in news reports that she stands by her review, which accused Strax of mishandling her tummy tuck and facelift. She said she posted her comments on the web using only her first name. Durham's review has since been removed from the site.

On May 5, 2009, Durham filed a notice of lack of prosecution after no activity had occurred in the suit for more than ten months. If no action takes place within sixty days of the notice's filing, the court may dismiss the suit.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

No information yet as to what court is hearing the case.

AVM 6/5/09 investigating, found case number and the like, now looking for docs

no additional docs on westlaw, will come back and check this

7/6/09 - docket available on WestLaw -- click the update link to get the latest version (CMF)

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

Google News

An Inter-Newspaper Cease-and-Desist Letter: My Trip to the Buffet of Wrong

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

First Call Properties v. Craigslist

Date: 

05/29/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Melissa Gomez, d/b/a AAA Apartment Locating; Mario Gomez; Craigslist, Inc.

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

Federal
State

Court Name: 

District Court of Nueces County, Texas (State); U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas (Federal)

Case Number: 

09-2571-F (State); 2:09-cv-00151 (Federal)

Legal Counsel: 

F. Edward Barker - Barker Leon et al

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Dismissed (partial)

Description: 

First Call Properties and its officers filed suit against AAA Apartment Locating and Craigslist in Texas state court, alleging, among other claims, trademark infringement, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference.  According to the complaint, First Call began posting advertisements on Craigslist's Corpus Christi site using their trademark phrase "First Call" in March of 2009.  Shortly thereafter, AAA allegedly began posting advertisements to the same Craigslist local site using the words "first call," "call first," and "call us first."  (Compl. 3.)  First Call alleges that AAA posted these ads "deliberately and intentionally in an effort to confuse the public into believing the ads were posted by [First Call]."  (Compl. 3.)  It also claims that AAA's ads contained "false, libelous and misleading information" about First Call.  (Compl. 4.)

First Call asserts that it sent multiple cease and desist notices to AAA, with copies sent to Craigslist.  Based partly on this, it asserts that Craigslist knew of AAA's "unauthorized practice" and did nothing to stop it, materially contributing to AAA's alleged infringement.  (Compl. 5.)  First Call is seeking temporary and permanent injunctions and damages.

On May 29, 2009, the Nueces County District Court entered a temporary restraining order, barring AAA from posting ads containing phrases such as "first call," "call first," or "call us first," which might cause confusion and deceive the public; using a telephone logo similar to that used by First Call; making false or defamatory statement about First Call or its officers, agents, or employees; or causing ads posted by First Call to be removed from Craigslist or any other public domain.  Craigslist was barred from removing legitimate ads posted by First Call. 

The temporary restraining order was made reciprocal by the court, pursuant to an agreement by the parties, thus barring First Call from using AAA's trademarks, making false or defamatory statements about AAA, or causing AAA's ads to be removed.  It was also extended to include Stephan Noak and Sarah Regmund, owner of Free Apartment Locators, neither of whom are parties to the litigation.

On June 26, 2009, the case was removed to the federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas.  A hearing is scheduled for July 29 before Judge Janis Graham Jack.

UPDATE: 

07/15/09- First Call filed a motion to dismiss the case against Craigslist. However, it continued its suit against the other parties. 

CMLP Notes: 

07/08/2009 - LB editing

UPDATED 7/28/09- added info about motion to dismiss re: craigslist, changed to dismiss partial

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Warning: UK Libel Law May be Hazardous to Your Health

It seems that the American Congress is not the only group enraged by England’s plaintiff-friendly libel laws.  Sense About Science, a British charity that promotes public understanding of science, is lobbying the

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Sethi v. TechCrunch

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

06/28/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

TechCrunch; Michael Arrington

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

International

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On February 19, 2009, lawyers representing Sam Sethi, a former employee of TechCrunch and former CEO of now-defunct BlogNation, sent a letter to TechCrunch co-founder Michael Arrington threatening suit "within the jurisdiction of the High Court of England and Wales, at the Royal Courts of Justice (in London, UK)" for libel. 

The basis for the suit is a series of allegedly defamatory posts on CrunchNotes (the TechCrunch blog) which stated, according to the letter, that:

  • "[S]ome of [Sethi's] former writers have accused him of fraud and other crimes."
  • Sethi "had threatened to kill" one of his former business associates.
  • Sethi was "involved in '. . . usury, fraud even'" (quoting from a blog post by Oliver Starr).
  • Sethi is "predisposed to making threats of violence and making others feel threatened by him and being thoroughly deceitful."

Sethi is also suing based upon the "posting [of] a confidential (and stolen) termsheet from [BlogNations'] VC funders," which, according to Sethi's lawyers, "seriously jeopardize[d]" the BlogNation's funding.  Sethi is asking TechCrunch to remove all posts that include allegedly false accusations about him, publish an apology, undertake "not to repeat the same or similar libels again," pay his legal costs, and donate damages to a charity or "towards fees of those unpaid editors at Blognation who had remained faithful to the end."

Michael Arrington replied to Sethi's letter through his lawyers, asserting that TechCrunch is "not susceptible to the jurisdiction of English courts" and that an English judgment would not be recognized or enforced by US courts.  He also provided evidence, mostly in the form of blog posts and comments by others, that he believes supports the veracity of the statements made in the CrunchNotes posts at issue.  TechCrunch has also offered Sethi the opportunity to submit a reply "concerning the challenged statements" that would be posted "with equal prominence to [TechCrunch's] previous posts about him."

According to TechCrunch, a lawsuit was filed on June 28, 2009. Based on third party reports, the lawsuit appears to have been filed in the United Kingdom.

Subject Area: 

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

07/07/2009 - LB editing; cannot find court information or documents

Priority: 

1-High

Complaints at Teatime! The Shaw-Skinner Lawsuit and the Futility of Legal Duels

Pistols at Dawn!” has become “Subpoenas at Noon!” or “Complaints at Teatime!” Today’s legal duelists, armed with dubious lawsuits charging defamation, are B.F. Shaw Printing, the parent company of the Northwest Herald, and Cal Skinner, a blogger.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

B.F. Shaw Printing v. Skinner

Date: 

06/11/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Cal Skinner Jr.

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Illinois Circuit Court for McHenry County

Case Number: 

2009 LA 217

Legal Counsel: 

Patrick Ouimet

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Description: 

B.F. Shaw Printing, the Northwest Herald’s parent company, filed a lawsuit against Cal Skinner Jr.,  a local blogger, for alleged defamatory comments, regarding the Herald's past funding and supposed political bias, that he posted on his blog.

Shaw's three-count complaint claims defamation, false light, and commercial disparagement arising from a June 3 post "Borrowing on Borrowing " on Skinner's blog, mchenrycountyblog.com. The post, repeated in Shaw's complaint, read in part (Compl. Count I ¶ 4):

[W]ho could forget the multimillion loan to the Northwest Herald at sub-market rates. . . . the NW Herald was not an 'in extremis' condition then. The excuse for loaning the money was to keep the county newspaper from moving out of the county. The real reason was to put the paper in the back pocket of the Republican Party. (Anyone want to deny the strategy worked?)

Shaw's complaint states that it “has never been the recipient of any loan, from any public body, at market or sub-market rates “ (Compl. Count I ¶ 7), “is not, and never has been, ‘in the back pocket’ or under the control or influence of the McHenry County Republican Party” ( Compl. Count I ¶ 8) and “is not now, and has never been ‘in extremis’ condition.” (Compl. Count I ¶ 9). Shaw claims that Skinner's statements "impugn the financial and editorial integrity of [the Northwest Herald]" and they "constitute defamation per se." (Compl. Count I - ¶¶ 20, 22).

Skinner, in his answer to the complaint, admitted to writing the post and claimed that his statements were true. (Answer at p. 10). He attached a copy of Resolution R-8511-02-86 from the McHenry County Board, which he claims shows that “the plaintiff was a participant in and beneficiary of a $2.6 million dollar loan, with interest at 80% of prime, from the McHenry County Board.” (Answer describing Ex. 1).

Skinner also offered 14 additional affirmative defenses including: failure to mitigate, unclean hands, failure to state an actual injury, and fair reporting privilege for “statements relat[ing] to matters of governmental affairs.” (Answer at p. 12 – 13).

Skinner countersued Shaw for bringing a frivolous suit, defamation, and false light. Skinner claims he was defamed by an article published by the Northwest Herald concerning the original lawsuit,  "Northwest Herald's owner sues blogger, claims defamation." The article, according to Skinner, “essentially parroted the allegations set forth in the lawsuit, but also contained the following . . . statement: Northwest Herald Publisher John Rung said Skinner’s assertions were ‘reckless and completely fabricated.’”(Answer at p. 22-26). 

Update:

1/29/10 - press accounts report a settlement.

CMLP Notes: 

AVM- State court has fee system for searches. Need to check WL. also took screen shot of post which I assume will be taken down

AVM-7/8/09 uploaded complaint

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Grebner v. Lennox

Date: 

05/14/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Dennis Lennox; Bradley Dennis; Anthony Giammarinaro

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Ingham County Circuit Court

Case Number: 

09-000684-CZ

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$1.00

Legal Counsel: 

Jeffrey Hank (for Dennis Lennox), Thomas Halm (for Bradley Dennis), Frederick Lepley Jr. (for Anthony Giammarinaro)

Publication Medium: 

Wiki

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Description: 

Ingham County Commissioner and Michigan political consultant Mark Grebner filed a defamation lawsuit in Michigan state court against three conservative activists for allegedly inserting false and defamatory information into his biographical Wikipedia entry.  The defendants were three university students active in Republican politics: Dennis Lennox, Bradley Dennis, and Anthony Giammarinaro.  According to the Michigan Messenger, the allegedly defamatory edits accused Grebner of being a homosexual and of having been convicted of sexually abusing children. One defendant also allegedly inserted a picture of Osama bin Laden into the entry with the caption “One of Grebner’s biggest supporters in the 2004 election.”  Wikipedia removed the edits in question.

After discovery, the case was referred to mediation where the claims against all three defendants were resolved. According to the docket, the complaint against Dennis was dismissed without prejudice and without costs on March 19, 2010. Ultimately, the trial court entered a stipulation and order for entry of judgment regarding the remaining claims against Lennox and Giammarianaro on Feb, 25, 2011 when, according to a report on a local political blog, Lennox agreed to pay Grebner $1,500.

The case was closed on March 11, 2011.

 

 

CMLP Notes: 

avm- state site is a pay to search, nothing on wl as of 7/8/09

 

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Salyer v. Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc.

Date: 

12/18/2008

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc.

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

Jefferson Circuit Court, Division 4; United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky

Case Number: 

08CI13421 (state); 3:09cv00044 (federal)

Legal Counsel: 

James L. Adams, Jon L. Fleischaker- Dinsmore & Shohl; Kimberly Bessiere Martin and Russell B. Morgan -Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP

Publication Medium: 

Print
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Dismissed (partial)
Material Removed

Description: 

Robert Salyer sued the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Kentucky state court over allegedly defamatory content in its print and online magazine, "Intelligence Report," which he claims stated that "he had been disbarred from practicing in military courts and also that he had received a dishonorable discharge."  (Compl. ¶ 3.)  The article at issue seems to have been edited at some point to remove the allegedly defamatory content, but re-posts at Crime and Criminals and The Experiment maintain the original content.

The SPLC removed the case to federal court and moved to dismiss the suit as barred by the statute of limitations.  Although the district court judge agreed that the suit was filed after Kentucky's one-year statute of limitations on defamation actions had run, he denied the motion pending discovery, as "changes to the website’s content may exist that would constitute substantial modification."  (Op. Den. Mot. to Dismiss 7.)  Such modifications would constitute republication of the allegedly defamatory content, and would thus "reset the clock" on the statute of limitations.

On April 28, 2009, Salyer amended his complaint, adding a claim of outrage (also known as intentional infliction of emotional distress).  The judge granted the SPLC's motion to dismiss this new claim since Kentucky law bars an outrage claim where a plaintiff's other tort claims allow damages for emotional distress, as defamation does.

CMLP Notes: 

AVM- 2009 WL 1036907, pleadings not on WL, try PACER

Case is first application of single publication rule to internet publication

07/01/2009 - LB editing; Happy Canada Day!

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Palin Threatens to Sue Blogger for Publishing Rumors of Investigation, Ensures Rumors Will Get Wide Attention

Exercising one of the freedoms Americans celebrate on Independence Day -- the freedom to threaten an ill-conceived lawsuit -- Alaska Governor Sarah Palin directed her lawyer to publish an open letter to Shannyn Moore, an Alaska blogger, radio personality, Huffington Post contributor, and frequent guest on MSNBC, threatening to file a defam

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Palin v. Moore

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

07/04/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Shannyn Moore; Huffington Post, MSNBC; New York Times; and The Washington Post

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Media Company

Publication Medium: 

Blog
Broadcast
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On July 4, 2009, an attorney for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin sent an open letter to Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, the Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and other news organizations threatening to file defamation lawsuits if they claimed "as 'fact' that Governor Palin resigned because she is 'under federal investigation' for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing." 

Attorney Thomas Van Flein states in the letter:

To the extent several websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as "fact" that Governor Palin resigned because she is "under federal investigation" for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation. This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law. 

According to Politico, neither the New York Times nor The Washington Post "made any mention of the embezzlement rumors in their Saturday editions, but sources close to Palin consider the letter a warning shot to stay away from the topic."

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Ricobene v. JP Morgan Chase

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

04/13/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

JP Morgan Chase Bank; Universal Tracing Services, Inc.

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois

Case Number: 

2009-L-004397

Publication Medium: 

Social Network

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

James Ricobene filed suit against JP Morgan Chase and collection agency Universal Tracing Services (UTS) after a UTS employee allegedly posted a message on Ricobene's daughter's MySpace page threatening legal action if he did not surrender his 2007 Mercedes GL450, which he apparently used as collateral to secure a loan from Chase. 

According to Ricobene's complaint, the message posted on Gina Ricobene's MySpace page read as follows:

We have been retained by, JPMorgan Chase Bank, to locate and repossess their missing collateral a 2007 Mercedes GL 450. Please contact our office immediately so we can discuss the peaceful recovery of the collateral. Failure to contact me will result in further action against your father James Ricobene. Legal options range from having a replevin order served on you or even worse reporting the collateral as stolen to local authorities in Illinois under the A.R.S. act 18-5-504. Failure to comply with this notice of surrender is a class 5 felony and carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for two years plus all applicable surcharges. You must contact the writer within 5 days to prevent this action from taking place. You can contact me directly at 800-667-7704 ext 222 or directly at 604-267-1581 ext. 222

Awaiting your immediate response.

Chris Flanagan
Senior investigator

Complaint ¶ 6.  Ricobene's complaint points out that refusing to return collateral without a court order is not a crime in Illinois, and that "there is no such thing as a 'class 5 felony' in Illinois." Complaint ¶¶ 11, 13. It also alleges that friends and family members saw the message on MySpace, causing Ricobene humiliation, embarassment, and emotional distress.

Ricobene's complaint includes claims of libel, false light invasion of privacy, and consumer fraud.  According to Chicago Breaking News, his daughter Gina has also filed suit, claiming invasion of privacy and consumer fraud.

According to  On Point News, UTS denies having an employee by the name stated in the post and claims that "no employee 'has ever posted anything on anyone's MySpace page."  Its website, however, boasts that "Universal tracing prides itself in using the latest technology and resources to track down and locate the hardest to find missing persons, and debtors." (emphasis in original)

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

06/29/2009 - LB editing

Jurisdiction: 

Consociate Inc. v. Macon County Shared Vision

Date: 

06/04/2007

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Macon County Shared Vision; Stephen D. Daniels

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Macon County Circuit Court (6th Circuit Court Illinois)

Case Number: 

2007 L 000068

Legal Counsel: 

Don Craven; Stephen Daniels

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Description: 

Administrators of the employee healthcare plan for the city of Decatur, Illinois filed a defamation lawsuit against Macon County Shared Vision, a concerned-citizens group that criticized high healthcare costs in several website postings.

Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint under Illinois anti-SLAPP statute, which was passed by the legislature but not signed by the governor before the suit was filed.  The Illinois court held that the anti-SLAPP statute's dismissal provision applied retroactively to the case, but that the its costs and fees provision did not. The court also rejected the administrators' argument that the anti-SLAPP law was unconstitutional under the Illinois Constitution.

The administrators subsequently moved to voluntarily dismiss the complaint, and the court granted the motion over Macon County Shared Vision's objection. In April 2009, Macon County Shared Vision appealed the decision to grant voluntary dismissal and to not award fees and costs.

Update:

August 24, 2009 - Macon County Shared Vision appealed the voluntary dismissal of the case and argues that the cost and fees provision of Illinois' anti-SLAPP statute does apply retroactively to the case.

CMLP Notes: 

MCS editing. Waiting to receive documents. 11-14-2008.

AVM 6/05/09- filing stuff, linked to docket, put in case number, and corrected data filed. Documents not on state website or on westlaw.

CMF 6/26/09

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Tanner Friedman v. Doe

Date: 

05/27/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Case Number: 

2:09-cv-12017

Publication Medium: 

Micro-blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed
Subpoena Enforced

Description: 

TFSC, LLC, a public relations firms doing business as Tanner Friedman, is suing an unknown Twitter user in a Detroit federal district court seeking injunctive relief and damages arising out of his use of the Twitter account "tannerfriedman."  Tanner Friedman, in its complaint, alleges that "tannerfriedman" posted "false and defamatory statement[s] regarding Tanner Friedman on the Twitter website using the hijacked name."  (Compl. ¶ 14.)  Tanner Friedman also alleges that "tannerfriedman" posted tweets by legitimate Tanner Friedman employees to "mislead Twitter users that it was Plaintiff who was posting these tweets and to impugn its reputation."  (Compl. ¶ 17.). 

Besides defamation, the complaint includes claims for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030), unfair competiton under federal and state law, trademark infringement under federal and state law, cyberpiracy, and intentional interference with contractual or business relations.

After filing suit, Tanner Friedman moved the court for permission to subpoena Twitter for identifying information about the unknown user.  The court granted the motion, which was unopposed. According to The Detroit News, John Doe was traced to a computer at a rival firm. 

According to its blog, this tweet, and CBS-affiliated WWJ Newsradio, Tanner Friedman has now gained possession of the "tannerfriedman" Twitter alias.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

06/30/2009 - LB editing

Subject Area: 

Skutt Catholic High School v. Does

Date: 

06/30/2006

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John and Jane Doe

Type of Party: 

School

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Douglas County District Court, Nebraska

Publication Medium: 

Wiki

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

Skutt Catholic High School sued anonymous Wikipedia posters over critical edits posted to the school's Wikipedia page in 2006. The posts criticized the quality of education at the school and its high tuition, used vulgar language, and referenced student drug use. After filing suit, the school subpoenaed Cox Communications, the ISP for the IP addresses used to make the postings. A spokesman from Cox Communications told the Student Press Law Center that the company would comply with the subpoena "unless there are further developments in the case, which quashes that order." The CMLP has been unable to determine whether Cox Communications ultimately complied and what ultimately happened in the underlying lawsuit.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

I (Stefani) researched this case, but I cannot find any more information on it.  My guess is that the school ended up withdrawng the suit, but I can't find anything else at all.  

AVM-6/9/09 Also looked into this and did not find any information.

CMF - 6/ 26/09- couldn't find any other information about the suit, so I guess it's been dropped. 

Source: Phil Malone

Jurisdiction: 

Badi'i v. Foote

Date: 

06/24/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Nikki Foote, Kirsty Cunningham

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Clark County District Court

Case Number: 

A-09-593187-C

Legal Counsel: 

Pro se

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

Faris and Ruhanieh Badi'i sued Nikki Foote in Nevada state court for defamation after Foote posted a disparaging comment on eBay claiming a bag she had purchased from the Bad'i'is was a fake.

The Badi'is, of Austin, Texas, alleges Foote, whom they identified as eBay buyer nikki809, was asked to remove the posting because the $495 handbag is authentic, the Las Vegas Sun reported. Bad'i'i alleges Foote refused the request as well as a removal request from eBay.

The Sun said Badi'i is seeking $1,000 for each day between the June 10 posting of nikki809's comment and a future time when the Badi'is' sales figures reach pre-June 10 levels. The suit also seeks the removal of the comment and $50,000 in general damages.

Update:

Sept. 2010: The Badi'is moved to dismissed their lawsuit against Foote after Foote declared bankruptcy, the Las Vegas Sun reported.  The Badi'is considered continuing pursuing Foote as a creditor in her bankruptcy case, but decided against. The court granted the Badi'is' motion and dismissed the case on Nov. 8, 2010.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

2-Normal

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Jacob v. Bezzant

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

01/01/1999

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

B. Brett Bezzant; Newtah, Inc. (d/b/a American Fork Citizen New Utah); Does I-X

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Fourth District Court- Utah County (Trial); Supreme Court of Utah (Appeal)

Case Number: 

No. 000403530 (Trial); No. 20060856 (Appeal)

Legal Counsel: 

Jeffrey J. Hunt, David C. Reymann

Publication Medium: 

Print
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

In 1999, Brett Bezzant, then-owner of the American Fork Citizen New Utah!, a local newspaper, published a political advertisement prepared and paid for by Bill Jacob, which claimed that an American Fork City ordinance barred two men from running for City Council, despite a legal opinion from the city's attorneys that said otherwise. Jacob's name was not on the flier. After the two candidates complained to Bezzant, he paid for and published an "Urgent Election Notice" that apologized to the two men, named Jacob as the author of the political advertisement, and called it a "classic example of negative campaigning." Bezzant distributed the notice by mail to American Fork residents and posted it on the newspaper's website.

Jacob filed a lawsuit against Bezzant, claiming the notice contained defamatory language and portrayed him in a false light. Bezzant filed a counterclaim under Utah's Citizen Participation in Government Act, also known as the Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) Act.  The trial court dismissed Jacob's defamation claims and granted Bezzant attorney's fees under the Anti-SLAPP Act and a federal civil rights statute (42 U.S.C. § 1988(b)).

On appeal, the Utah Supreme Court held in a June 2009 opinion that dismissal of Jacob's defamation suit and awarding of attorney's fees was inappropriate under the Anti-SLAPP Act because Bezzant's election notice was not "participati[on] in the process of government."  Utah Code Ann. § 78B-6-1403(1) (2008).  However, the Utah Supreme Court upheld the trial court's dismissal of the defamation suit as lacking legal merit and the award of partial attorney's fees under the civil rights statute.  The court declined to address the issue, raised by Jacobs for the first time on appeal, of whether Utah's Anti-SLAPP Act is unconstitutional under the Utah Constitution.

CMLP Notes: 

2009 WL 1659372

06/25/09 - LB editing

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Cafiero v. Custer

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

08/14/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Doug Custer a/k/a Doug Evil

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

Federal

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Case Number: 

3:08-CV-00202

Legal Counsel: 

Pro se

Publication Medium: 

Blog
Forum
Social Network
Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

John Cafiero, a rock musician and manager of punk bands The Ramones and The Misfits, filed suit against Doug Custer (a/k/a Doug Evil) alleging in his complaint that Custer infringed his copyright by posting an animated video featuring The Misfits on YouTube.com and other websites.  Cafiero also brought a claim of misrepresentation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, arguing that Custer lied on his DMCA counter-notification by claiming a copyright interest in the video.

Alongside the copyright allegations, Cafiero alleged defamation and false light arising from various Internet postings Custer allegedly made that criticized Cafiero.  Many of these arose from spoof site Osuka Papsmear, which Cafiero asserts is a Custer blog dedicated to defaming Cafiero and his band Osaka Popstar.

Early in the case, Cafiero received a default judgment against Custer after Custer did not appear or answer the complaint.  Appearing pro se, Custer successfully challenged the default judgment and filed his answer and counterclaims.  Custer's lengthy counterclaims, which discuss Cafiero's business dealings in depth, appear to bring claims of copyright infringement and defamation.  Custer's filings maintain that he himself authored most of the material appearing in the video and that Cafiero reneged on his promises regarding publication and use of the video.

On November 11, 2008, Cafiero filed a motion to dismiss Custer's counterclaims for failure to comply with rules of civil procedure, asking in the alternative for Custer to file a more definite statement.  Custer opposed the motion and filed a more definite statement.

On May 22, 2009, the parties agreed to submit the case to mediation proceedings, and the judge referred the case to mediation on June 1. The defendant consented to appointed counsel for the mediation process only.

On May 28, Cafiero moved to file an amended complaint that would add two more plaintiffs --  Jerry Caiafa (a/k/a Jerry Only), who composed music for the video; and Cyclopian Music, Inc., the owner of The Misfits trademarks. The motion also sought to add counts of copyright infringement arising from use of Caiafa's work; trademark infringement under  Section 32 of the Lanham Act; and false designation of origin and unfair competition under Section 43 of the Lanham Act. The defendant opposed the motion to amend the complaint, asserting that adding more plaintiffs would conflict with the purpose of mediation.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

Source: Dozier Internet Law

CMF - 6/8/2009

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

Westlaw Alert

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