Sierra Corporate Design v. Falk

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: 

06/14/2005

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

North Dakota

Disposition: 

Dismissed (partial)
Injunction Issued
Verdict (plaintiff)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

$52,930.00
Sierra Corporate Design ("Sierra"), a self-described "specialized Internet service provider and web hosting provider," sued Ed Falk, an anti-spam campaigner and operator of the "Spam Tracking Page," and David Ritz, a member of one of Falk's Usenet groups, in North Dakota state... read full description
Parties

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

Sierra Corporate Design, Inc.

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Ed Falk; David Ritz

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Location of Party: 

  • Nevada
  • North Dakota

Location of Party: 

  • California
  • Wisconsin

Legal Counsel: 

Michelle Donarski (for Falk); Michael Huitink, W. Todd Haggart (for Ritz)
Description

Sierra Corporate Design ("Sierra"), a self-described "specialized Internet service provider and web hosting provider," sued Ed Falk, an anti-spam campaigner and operator of the "Spam Tracking Page," and David Ritz, a member of one of Falk's Usenet groups, in North Dakota state court for violations of North Dakota's computer crime statute (N.D. Cent. Code ยง 12.1-06.1-08) and trespass to chattels.

The complaint alleged that Ritz hacked servers owned by Sierra, gathered confidential information (in the form of "internal network configurations and NIP addresses for Sierra's network" and "private domain name/IP address/company information"), and published that information on the Internet. It alleged that Falk was aware of Ritz's unauthorized access to Sierra's servers and assisted in publishing Sierra's information by posting a link to Ritz's announcement on Usenet that itself linked to Ritz's website, where Sierra's information appeared.

In October 2006, the North Dakota court held that it did not have jurisdiction over Falk, dismissed the lawsuit against him, and vacated a default judgment that previously had been entered against him. (This case is related to Jerry Reynold's defamation suit against Falk, which is addressed in another CMLP database entry.)

Update:

1/11/2008 - After a bench trial, the court ruled in favor of Sierra, finding that Ritz had committed trespass to chattels by accessing its computers without authorization and with malicious intent. The court awarded Sierra $2,930 in actual damages and $50,000 in exemplary damages, and fined Ritz $10,000 for violating a court order. The court permanently enjoined Ritz from accessing Sierra's computers. The court held that Sierra also was entitled to attorneys' fees and ordered Sierra to submit an application for fees within thirty days.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Forum
Website

Subject Area: 

  • Personal Jurisdiction
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • North Dakota

Source of Law: 

  • North Dakota

Court Name: 

District Court, County of Cass, State of North Dakota

Court Type: 

State

Case Number: 

09-05-C-01660

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Threat Source: 

MLRC

CMLP Notes: 

check for status

Status updated on 6/9/2008. The Register wrote that it's unclear whether Ritz will appeal, but that was in January. ND docket is available online, and indicates the case was closed on 5/8 but reopened on 5/29. Bears watching for appeal. (AAB)