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Veteran spam suit troll plaintiff calls it quits

Cites threat of bankruptcy or dissolution

Website security in corporate America

The end may be near from an internet service provider that has brought more than 20 lawsuits seeking millions of dollars for alleged spam abuses.

Asis Internet Services abruptly abandoned its case against Subscriberbase citing a “negative judgment in an unrelated case that threatens to place Asis in either bankruptcy or corporate dissolution.” That suit, against defendant AzoogleAds.com, backfired when Asis was ordered to pay almost $807,000 for filing "groundless claims" that mired the companies in years of costly litigation.

Life hasn't always been so tough for Asis, which is described as a four-employee ISP from Garberville, California, that spent about $3,000 per month to process about 200,000 junk mails per day. In early May, it won a whopping $2.6m judgment against a company that sent fewer than 25,000 spam messages to Asis subscribers.

Critics have cast Asis as little more than a spam lawsuit troll that opportunistically sought millions of dollars under the heavily punitive CAN-Spam Act, even when there was little proof the defendants had sent the messages.

In late May, a federal magistrate judge largely concurred, ordering Asis to pay $806,978.84 to AzoogleAds. The judge in that case said the award was necessary to “deter Asis and other plaintiffs hoping to profit under the Can-Spam Act from casting such a wide net.”

Last week, the judge hearing the suit against Subscriberbase granted Asis's motion to dismiss the case “with prejudice,” meaning Asis cannot refile the case. He said he'd delay the action by 30 days to give the defendant time to seek attorneys' fees and other costs in defending the action.

Not that the cases are likely to go away soon. Plaintiff Joel Householter of Foggy.net will press ahead with the suit. ®

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