Video Professor v. Informercial Consumer Awareness

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: 

05/03/2009

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

Colorado

Disposition: 

Settled (partial)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Video Professor, a computer instruction software company, filed a lawsuit against the owners of Infomercialscams.com, a website which hosts anonymous reviews of infomercial products, and several related individuals asserting claims that the owners of Infomercialscams.com used the threat of negative consumer ratings to extort... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Dean Graziosi; Ryan Patten; Michael Savage; Edward Johnson; The Tax Club, Inc.; Infomercial Consumer Awareness, Inc.; Justin Leonard; Leonard Fitness, Inc.

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • Colorado

Location of Party: 

  • New York
  • Arizona
  • Utah
  • Nevada

Legal Counsel: 

Stanford B. Owen and Gregory E. Goldberg (for Graziosi); Scott T. Ashby (for Patton); Jersey M. Green (for Savage); Randall H. Miller (for Informercial Consumer Awareness); Barry Douglas Roseman and Paul A. Levy (for Leonard)
Description

Video Professor, a computer instruction software company, filed a lawsuit against the owners of Infomercialscams.com, a website which hosts anonymous reviews of infomercial products, and several related individuals asserting claims that the owners of Infomercialscams.com used the threat of negative consumer ratings to extort the company. 

Video Professor's ten-count complaint alleged that Informercial Consumer Awareness, the corporation which runs Infomercialscams.com, used Video Professor's trademarks in its metadata, such that any web search for the company would return a listing for Informercialscams.com and potentially negative consumer reviews. Compl. ¶ 47. According to the complaint, Infomercial Consumer Awareness allegedly offered Video Professor the opportunity to "delist" negative reviews of its product and to boost its rating on the site in exchange for a yearly payment of approximately $300,000.  Compl. ¶ 67.

Video Professor argued that, through these actions, Informercial Commercial Awareness and the associated individuals violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) and misused the protections of the Communications Decency Act Section 230. Video Professor also filed for a preliminary injunction against Informercial Commercial Awareness. 

On July 8, 2009, Video Professor voluntarily dismissed the case against all defendants pursuant to an undisclosed settlement agreement. The Stipulated Notice of Dismissal as to Defendants Justin Leonard and Leonard Fitness, Inc. (the "Leonard Defendants") reserved to those Defendants the right to file a motion for attorneys' fees and sanctions pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. 

On July 22, 2009, the Leonard Defendants filed the motion for attorneys' fees and sanctions, asserting that Video Professor lacked any evidentiary support for its claims against those defendants.  Specifically, the Leonard Defendants claimed that Section 230 immunized them from liability for the allegedly defamatory postings, and that Video Professor's attempts to plead around Section 230 by asserting claims for extortion were insufficient as to the Leonard Defendants because Leonard had sold the web site in May 2008, before the alleged extortion attempts occurred.

The Leonard Defendants' motion for attorneys' fees and sactions is still pending.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
  • Section 230
  • Trade Libel
  • Reviews
  • Business Torts
  • Consumer Ratings and Reviews
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Colorado

Source of Law: 

  • United States
  • Colorado

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the District of Colorado

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

1:09-cv-01025-RPM

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

Same plaintiff as Video Professor v. Justin Leonard and Video Professor v. Doe. Same defendant Leonard as in those threats as well.

8/3/009 - avm editing