Showing posts with label Real Estate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Real Estate. Show all posts
Fix Wilson Yard v. City of Chicago, No. 2008-CH-45023 (Ill. Cir. Ct. filed 2008).
Status: Subpoenas pending.

In a suit by local residents seeking to stop a proposed development in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, the developer issued subpoenas seeking the identities of several anonymous commenters on Internet bulletin boards, as well as the anonymous proprietors of the "Uptown Update" (www.uptownupdate.com) and the now-defunct "What the Helen” blogs.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, representing the anonymous commenters and bloggers, obtained a temporary order protecting the their identities in July 2009, and in August sought to to make the order permanent.

Links and Case Documents:
EFF press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/08/21
http://www.uptownupdate.com/2009/01/news-star-holstens-attorney-subpoenas.html
http://www.uptownupdate.com/2009/02/holstens-subpoena-requests-continue-to.html
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=112173
Fix Wilson Yard et al. v. City of Chicago et al., No. 08 CH 45023 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Cook Co. subpoenas filed Jan. 12, 2009).
Status: Pending.

In connection with a lawsuit filed by a community group in opposition to a redevelopment plan for the Wilson Yard area of Chicago, the developer subpoenaed Google for information regarding two anonymous Chicago-based blogs (www.uptownupdate.com; www.whatthehelen.com), and two additional websites operated by the neighborhood block club (www.buenaparkneighbors.org and www.uncchicago.org). The subpoenas ask for all documents pertaining to the six Uptown residents named as plaintiffs in the original lawsuit. In addition, the neighborhood organizations were asked to turn over all posts, in any form, relating to the Wilson Yard development.


Links and Court Documents
:
http://www.citmedialaw.org/threats/holsten-v-uptown-update-and-what-helen
Docket: https://w3.courtlink.lexisnexis.com/cookcounty/FindDock.asp?NCase=2008-CH-45023&SearchType=0&Database=3&case_no=&=&=&=&PLtype=1&sname=&CDate=
Jaeger v. Okon, No. 07-L-004940 (Ill Cir. Ct., Cook Co. filed May 11, 2007).
Status: Confidential monetary settlement

In response to frustration with a development project managed by plaintiff James Jaeger and his development company, defendants Joy and Tom Okon published several critical blog posts on the
North Center Neighbors blog, northcenterneighbors.blogspot.com. Jaeger brought suit for defamation based on these posts, as well as e-mails, which alleged corrupt business dealings. The case was settled, on undisclosed terms, outside of court while a motion to dismiss under the Illinois’ recently-enacted anti-SLAPP statute, the Citizen Participation Act, was pending.

Links and Court Documents
:
http://www.citmedialaw.org/threats/jaeger-v-okon
http://chicagojournal.com/main.asp?SectionID=48&SubSectionID=141&ArticleID=4724&TM=39096.86
Veranda Partners LLC v. Giles, No. 07 CA 2622 (Fla. Cir. Ct ., Orange County filed March 13, 2007).
Status: Summary judgment granted; blogger awarded $180,000 for attorney fees

The developer of a community in central Florida sued area resident Larry Giles over his website, www.verandaparknews.com (now archived at here), criticizing the development’s spending and landscaping. Giles responded with a motion to dismiss the suit under Florida’s anti-SLAPP statute and a counterclaim for abuse of process. After plaintiffs changed attorneys and then did pursue the case, the defense renewed its motions, which the court granted. The court also entered a default verdict on the counterclaims, awarding Giles triple his attorney’s fees, a total of $180,407.69, under Florida’s anti-SLAPP statute.

Links and Court Documents:

http://www.citmedialaw.org/veranda-partners-v-giles-lawsuit
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-mgiles2807mar28,0,2382483.story?coll=orl-home-headlines
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/orl-slapp0707apr07,0,7548827.story
Complaint: http://mworlando.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/complaint-veranda-giles.pdf
Answer: http://mworlando.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/answer.pdf
Defendant’s counter-claims: http://mworlando.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/counterclaim.pdf
Other case documents: http://mworlando.wordpress.com/the/; also http://randazza.wordpress.com/2007/04/13/an-ongoing-defamation-suit/; http://www.verandaparknews.com/
Final default judgement against plaintiff: http://www.citmedialaw.org/sites/citmedialaw.org/files/2008-09-11-Final%20Default%20Judgment%20Against%20Veranda%20Partners.pdf

Opera Tower LLC v. Lechuga, No. 2008-3086-CA-01 (Fla. Cir. Ct., Miami-Dade County filed Jan. 22, 2008).

Status: Dismissed by plaintiff

The developer of the Opera Tower condominium sued Miami real estate agent and blogger Lucas Lechuga for statements on the Miami Condo Investments blog (http://blog.miamicondoinvestments.com/) about the project. The blog initially stated that several contracts for sale of apartments in Opera Tower were likely to not close, and that developer Tibor Hollo had filed for bankruptcy in the 1980s. After the suit was filed, that blog entry was removed and a modified version posted. Lechuga’s employer, Miami real estate firm Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell, was also named as a defendant; the firm fired Lechuga after the suit was filed. In January 2009, the plaintiff dropped the case.

Links and Court Documents:

http://www.miamicondoinvestments.com/2008/01/29/opera-tower-llc-tibor-hollo-sues-me-for-25m/

http://www.miamiherald.com/business/story/397182.html

http://cbs4.com/video/?id=46869@wfor.dayport.com
http://www.miamiherald.com/business/story/856198.html

Docket: http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com/civil/docketinfo.asp?pCase_Year=2008&pCase_Seq=3086&pCase_Code=CA&pCase_Loc=01&id=AAAA8tAAHAAAoW/AAx

Complaint: http://media.miamiherald.com/smedia/2008/01/28/20/Complaint.Revised.source.prod_affiliate.56.pdf

Lexington Homes, Inc. v. Siskind, No. 2004-CA01018 (No. 04-CA-1018WS-G) (Fla. Cir. Ct., Pasco County dismissed March 2006).

Status: Dismissed

A housing developer sued the creator a web site (www.bad-lexingtonhomesinc.net; no longer active) that criticized the quality of its homes, saying that it led to decreased sales. The court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds, since the defendants are not Florida residents (they live in New York, but own property in Florida). The company filed an appeal, which it later dropped.

Links and Court Documents:

http://www.citmedialaw.org/lexington-homes-v-siskind

http://www.legaline.com/2006/03/florida-court-dismisses-web-defamation.html

http://www.sptimes.com/2004/05/01/Hernando/Builder_sues_man_for_.shtml

Order dismissing case: http://www.citmedialaw.org/sites/citmedialaw.org/files/2005-11-02-Order%20Granting%20Motion%20to%20Dismiss.pdf

Peters & Freedman LLP v. McMahon, No. 05CC11632 (Cal. Super., Orange County filed 2005); Pratt v. McMahon, No. 06CC01968 (Cal. Super., Orange County filed 2006).

Status: Denial of defense motion to strike suit under anti-SLAPP statute affirmed, No. G038236, 2007 WL 3151681 (Cal.App. 4 Dist. Oct 30, 2007), reh’g granted (Nov 29, 2007), aff’d on reh’g, 2008 WL 391190 (Cal.App. 4th Dist. Feb. 14, 2008)

Defendants Arnold and Elizabeth McMahon maintain a web site, the American Homeowners Resource Center (www.ahrc.com), with the stated goal of “help[ing] citizens in homeowner associations to take back their homes from the two generations of crooked lawyers, politicians, judges and vendors who have stolen them.” Peters & Freedman, a law firm in Encinitas and Palm Desert, Cal. that specializes in homeowners’ association law, sued for libel over comments that the McMahons posted to their site; former Peters & Freedman attorney Jeffrey R. Pratt subsequently filed his own suit The McMahons filed a motion to strike both lawsuits under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. The district court denied the motion in both cases, and an appellate court affirmed, holding that the comments about Peters & Freedman “do not concern a public issue.”

Links and Court Documents:

http://www.metnews.com/articles/2007/pete103107.htm

Appellate decision: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/G037871.PDF

5th St. Loft, LLC v. Dylan, No. BC392796 (Cal. Super., Los Angeles County filed July 17, 2008).
Status: Dismissed under anti-SLAPP law


he owner of the Shybary Grand Lofts building in downtown Los Angeles sued the bloggers of the
truedowntown.com web site, which states its goal “to inspire positive change at the Shybary Grand by identifying issues that need to be dealt with by the board and management company, especially if those issues have ignored California Law.” On Sept. 24, 2008, the court granted the defendant’s motion to strike the complaint under California’s anti-SLAPP law.

Links and Court Documents:
http://www.citmedialaw.org/blog/2008/california-developer-sues-homeowners-libel-over-disparaging-blog-comments
Complaint:
http://www.citmedialaw.org/sites/citmedialaw.org/files/2008-06-17-Shy%20Complaint.pdf

McCann v. Doe, No. CV 2006-092226 (Ariz. Super. Ct., Maticopa County filed 2006).
Status: Dismissed
After a similar lawsuit in Massachusetts was dismissed, real estate developer Paul McMann attempted to sue the unknown creator of the www.paulmcmann.com web site in Arizona. The Arizona court rejected McMann’s attempt to unmask the anonymous blogger, and dismissed the case.
Links and Court Documents:

Order dismissing case: http://www.citizen.org/documents/mcmannvdoearizopin.pdf
Press release on dismissal: http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=2364
Other case documents: http://www.citizen.org/litigation/forms/cases/CaseDetails.cfm?cID=371

ORIX Capital Markets, LLC v. Super Futures Equities, Inc., et. al., Civil No. 06-00271 (N.D. Tex. settled Feb. 10, 2009).
Status: $12.5 million jury award; undisclosed settlement immediately prior to verdict.

In 2001, Orix Capital Markets, a financing division of Wells Fargo, foreclosed on an apartment complex in Louisiana owned by Super Future Equities, Inc., a Nevada-based investor group in which the controlling shareholders are members of the Rafizadeh family. Orix also won a nearly $11 million judgment against Mondona Rafizadeh. Super Future Equities sued Orix and Wells Fargo in 2006, alleging that that the defendants consistently ignored their fiduciary responsibility is issuing mortgages. As a counterclaim in that suit, Orix alleged libel, business disparagement and other claims against the Rafizadehs and their companies; one of these was a libel claim over www.predatorix.com (now owned by Orix), a web site run by then-18-year-old Cyrus Rafizadeh, which stated that Orix and Weel Fargo financed mortgages irresponsibly. On Dec. 14, 2007, the court granted the Orix and Wells Fargo’s motion for summary judgment on all of Super Future Equities’ claims, and on March 18, 2008 the court dismissed all of the counterclaims, except for the libel per se claim over the web site. Trial on that claim began on Jan. 25, 2009, and on Feb. 6 the jury awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. Immediately before the jury verdict was announced, the parties reached a confidential settlement which involved a substantial payment to a charitable organization run by Orix, a public apology, and turnover of the site.

Links and Court Documents:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29120776/
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28830348/
http://www.houston-press.com/2007-03-29/news/uh-student-investigates-orix/print
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/021109dnbusdefame.3f3fc8f.html?npc
Ruling dismissing most counter claims: http://www.thelen.com/tlu/SuperFutureEquitiesVWellsFargo.pdf
Swartz v. Doe, No. 08C431 (Tenn. Dist. Ct., Davidson County filed Feb. 11. 2008).
Status: Motion to dismiss pending

Don and Terry Swartz sued the anonymous owner and posters on the “Stop Swartz” blog (stopswartz.blogspot.com), which accuses the couple of “ruining” the Old Hickory neighborhood of Nashville, Tenn. The Swartzes sell homes in the community through their web site, www.oldhickoryvillage.org; Don Swartz is also secretary of the Historic Old Hickory Village Neighborhood Association. In March 2009, the court indicated that it was sympathetic to motions to quash the effort to reveal the anonymous posters and to dismiss the case entirely.

Links and Court Documents:
http://www.citmedialaw.org/threats/swartz-v-does
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080212/NEWS01/802120365
http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=102307
Video of motion hearing: http://blip.tv/file/1879086
McMann v. Doe, Civil No. 06-11825-JLT (D. Mass. dismissed Oct. 31, 2006).
Status: Dismissed

Real estate developer Paul McMann sued the unknown creator of the www.paulmcmann.com web site, which promised to feature tales of his alleged misdealings. The court rejected two attempts by McMann to unmask the identity of the site’s creator, and dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. The court also noted that the contents of the site were actionable under Massachusetts law. McMann then sued in Arizona, with a similar result.

Links and Court Documents:
http://pacer.mad.uscourts.gov/dc/opinions/tauro/pdf/mcmann_subpoena.pdf

Dugas v. Robbins, No. CA 2008-491 (Mass. Super., Barnstable County filed July 7, 2008).

Status: Pending.

Peter Robbins, who writes the “Robbins Report” blog on the CapeCod.com community web site (www.capecodtoday.com/blogs/index.php/Robbins), was sued by an individual whom he criticized on his blog as being opposed to the dredging on Barnstable Harbor, saying that a suit brought by Joseph F. Dugas and other residents was “frivolous” and “malicious.” Robbins also criticized Dugas’ attorney, Paul Revere III. Dugas and Revere both sued Robbins and an anonymous commenter on the blog for libel. A defense motion to dismiss the case under Massaschusetts’ anti-SLAPP law was denied in November 2008.

Links and Court Documents:

Case information and documents: http://www.citmedialaw.org/threats/dugas-v-robbins

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/09/08/libel_lawsuit_filed_against_cape_blogger/

http://medianation.blogspot.com/2008/08/cape-cod-blogger-is-sued-for-libel.html