Anti-spam activists have won an important legal battle against Florida-based junk mailers.
But even though Florida Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks dismissed the case brought by eMarketersAmerica.org with prejudice (i.e. ruling that the lawsuit was without any foundation), anti-spam groups still have to pick up their legal fees.
The defendants (including UK-based Spamhaus Project and SPEWS) hope to cover their costs through online donations, but their legal bill has tempered some of the pleasure gained from giving litigious penis pill pushers a legal "bloody nose".
In a message to the NANAE newsgroup last week, Spamhaus director Steve Linford sums up his feelings: "Although delighted with the technical outcome, we're left with the costs of having had to defend the bogus lawsuit, as the Florida legal system does not grant costs to the winner even in cases where lawsuits are as fraudulent as this one clearly was."
One happy outcome of the dismissal of the suit is that it establishes a precedent which should stop further frivolous legal actions. Anti-spam activists have won the right to carry on their work as normal and without further distraction.
The case began in April, when not-for-profit organisation eMarketersAmerica.org (actually a front set up Mark E. Felstein, lawyer for notorious spammer Eddy Marin, according to Spamhaus) went to the courts with a suit seeking to prevent prominent anti-spam organisations from blocking their spam.
The nuisance suit sought damages of $75,000 (plus interest and costs) against the defendants on five separate counts: blacklisting IP addresses of the plaintiffs, libel, invasion of privacy, the publication of allegedly false information and "intentional interference with a contract".
But, Wellborn & Butler, lawyers for the defendants turned the tables on junk mailers with a motion seeking to force them to hand over their business records. Yikes, said the junk mailers, we can't do that and they ran away from their own lawsuit, prompting a motion for dismissal that brought an end to the case. ®
eMarketersAmerica.org site (mirror - original site was removed for abuse / spam violations by its ISP)
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