Defamation Lawyer Disclaimer
The facts are unproven allegations of the Plaintiff and all commentary is based upon the allegations, the truthfulness and accuracy of which are likely in dispute.
JAMES R. CANNON AND MARINE PILE DRIVERS LLC v. EAST COAST MARINE PILE DRIVERS LLC AND FRANK E. LYONS, III
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA (SHREVEPORT)
“Astroturfing” occurs when a business goes out and acts like a satisfied customer to build up its reputation. On the other hand, when a competitor goes online and poses as a customer expressing false dissatisfaction, that is defamation and product disparagement, as well as false advertising. How do you as a business know whether complaints about your company are legitimate or contrived? That’s one of the big challenges of dealing with a world of anonymity, and a very good reason why the right to anonymous speech online needs to be revisited.
Both parties manufacture and design barges used for pile driving in marine areas. The Defendants are alleged to have published comments online to deter third persons from doing business with the Plaintiffs. The lawsuit alleges that the Defendants’ comments appeared as if they were legitimate dissatisfied customers of the Plaintiff and alleged product deficiencies, failure to support equipment, poor quality construction, and went on to allege that the Plaintiff had a reputation for making death threats and should be avoided at all costs.
The lawsuit alleges violations of the Lanham Act and Defamation. The Plaintiff requests the entry of a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting its competitor from disseminating false, deceptive, misleading, and/or defamatory statements about the Plaintiff or the Plaintiff’s product, an award of compensatory damages, costs and attorneys' fees, and pre-judgment interest. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1341.
SIREN, INC. AND GREEN MONSTER USA, LLC v. KYLE SCOFIELD
DISTRICT OF ARIZONA (PHOENIX)
This is the first time that I have heard of a “tantrum site”. “Sucks sites” are becoming all the rage and more often than not are commercial enterprises driven by financial motives. Google Bomb, the book, can be ordered today on Amazon and will be available in book stores by September 1, 2009. It has an entire chapter on these types of sites and needless to say if your business is targeted by a “sucks site” great care must be taken in dealing with the situation.
Siren is a national leader for residential and commercial security systems. The Defendant, Kyle Scofield, is a resident of Arizona who operates an alleged “tantrum site” at “sirensecuritysucks.com”. The Defendant filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and wanted $45 plus “interest and penalties” to resolve his consumer complaint. Siren alleges that when it approached the Defendant to resolve his dissatisfaction and offered to refund the cost of his security system and provide two free months of security monitoring, the Defendant demanded $13,000 to take down the “tantrum site”. Plaintiff alleges that there are defamatory statements on the website.
The lawsuit claims federal cyberpiracy in violation of the Lanham Act and the Anticybersquatting Protection Act, unfair competition, and injurious falsehood, and requests compensatory damages, punitive damages, statutory damages of $100,000 per domain name, attorneys’ fees, interest, and costs. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1342.
24 HOUR FITNESS USA, INC. v. RICK BEASLEY, ET AL.
WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS (SAN ANTONIO)
There are all kinds of aggressive business practices being undertaken on the web today. This case illustrates the type of problem that requires a strong commitment to monitoring the web and everything that is said about your company. As an online business, you must also be prepared to protect your business from misconduct aimed at you.
24 Hour Fitness is a premier national chain of health and fitness clubs and one of the largest privately-held health and fitness chains in the world. The Plaintiff has attracted extensive attention by partnering with a number of fitness superstars including Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Jackie Chan, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, and Derek Jeter. 24 Hour Fitness was the official fitness center sponsor for the U.S. Olympic team for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing and has renewed its partnership with the United State Olympic Committee through the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Defendant is alleged to compete against the Plaintiff under the name “The Rock 24 Hour Fitness”, which is a chain of health clubs in Texas and Oklahoma. Plaintiff claims that the Defendant has published false and misleading statements about the Plaintiff’s business services.
The lawsuit alleges federal trademark infringement, federal false designation of origin and unfair competition, violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, federal dilution, injury to business reputation and dilution, false and misleading statements under state common law, and unfair competition under state common law. The Plaintiff requests preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, an accounting of profits, transfer of the domain name to 24 Hour Fitness, compensatory damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, treble damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1343.
CLEARY BUILDING CORP. v. DAVID A. DAME
DISTRICT OF COLORADO (DENVER)
Just another example of a “sucks” website that has become all the rage to leverage real or fake dissatisfaction to gain an economic advantage.
Cleary Building is a family owned business founded in 1978 and is a leading manufacturer and builder of pre-engineered structures. The Defendant is a customer of Cleary Building who became dissatisfied. Dame then launched a website at “myclearybuilding.com”, which is alleged to have contained extensive false statements about the project and the work of the Plaintiff.
The Plaintiff has sued for cybersquatting, trademark dilution, trademark infringement, federal unfair competition, federal false advertising, common law trademark infringement, unfair and deceptive trade practices, defamation, trade disparagement, and breach of contract. A permanent injunction is requested addressing the alleged misconduct in addition to requests for statutory damages of $100,000 for cybersquatting, an award of compensatory and punitive damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1344.
This concludes signficant cases on defamation law for the month of July, 2009 from Traverse Internet Law, the Defamation Lawyer.