Bennoti, Inc. v. Complaintsboard.com

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

03/25/2008

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

New York

Disposition: 

Withdrawn

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
In March 2008, Bennoti, Inc., an espresso machine marketer and merchandiser, sued consumer review site Complaints Board and its owner, Elizabeth Arden, for defamation of business reputation (trade libel) and unfair competition. In March 2009, the United States District Court for the Southern... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

www.complaintsboard.com; Elizabeth Arden

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • Nevada

Location of Party: 

  • California
Description

In March 2008, Bennoti, Inc., an espresso machine marketer and merchandiser, sued consumer review site Complaints Board and its owner, Elizabeth Arden, for defamation of business reputation (trade libel) and unfair competition. In March 2009, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York discontinued the action with prejudice, noting that "[i]t [had] been reported to this Court that the plaintiff wishes to voluntarily dismiss this action."

According to the complaint, Complaints Board published six false or inflated consumer complaints about Bennoti. One complaint featured a photograph of a Bennoti espresso machine, to which Defendant added "a comic strip style balloon" featuring the words "Don't call us! We're busy cheating customers!"

The complaint also alleged that Complaints Board diverted "hits" away from Bennoti's website, and in doing so exposed consumers to defamatory remarks and "pirate[d] the millions of dollars Plaintiff spends to develop consumer awareness of its coffee products brand, and then diverts those consumers to Plaintiff's competitors."

The complaint asserted that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act did not shield Complaints Board because the website allegedly created fictional complaints and inserted "headings, report titles and messages for the reports."

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text
  • Graphic

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Subject Area: 

  • Third-Party Content
  • Section 230
  • Trade Libel
  • Gripe Sites
  • Consumer Ratings and Reviews
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • New York

Source of Law: 

  • United States
  • New York

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

1:08-cv-03118-JGK

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

-mw reviewing 10/9