Showing posts with label Withdrawn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Withdrawn. Show all posts

Shamblin v. Martinez

UPDATE (4/20/2011)

STATUS: Judgment granting defendant's motion for summary judgment was affirmed on April 13, 2011

Tenn. App.: Cult Accusations Lacked Malice, Court Affirms

Courthouse News Service
A Christian weight-loss guru failed to prove that she was defamed by a critic who accused her on the Internet of running a cult, a Tennessee appeals court ruled. Gwen Shamblin, leader of the Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood, Tenn., sued Rafael Martinez after he made an allegedly defamatory comment about her on the website. . . "We have reviewed the record in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs and have determined that the record does not contain clear and convincing evidence upon which a trier of fact could find actual malice," Judge Richard Dinkins wrote on behalf of the appeals court.

--Opinion: Shamblin v. Martinez

See also:

Shamblin v. Anonymous Blogger, No. 06648 (Tenn. Dist. Ct., Williamson County filed Nov. 6, 2006).

Gwen Shamblin and 78 members of the Remnant Fellowship Church that she leads sued an anonymous blogger, and Rafael Martinez, who operates the web site, for statements labeling the church as a cult and saying that it advocates starvation and torture of children. In April 2007, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the suit.

Links and Court Documents: Complaint:
Defendant’s motion to dismiss:
Plaintiff’s notice of voluntary dismissal:
Spirit Watch statements on the suit:
CRIMINAL CASE: Oklahoma v. King (2008 criminal defamation investigation)
Status: No charges filed

Separate criminal complaints were made by Pittsburg County, Okla. District Attorney Jim Bob Miller; and Billie Jean Stipe, and her son Wayne Stripe of McAlester, Okla., against McAlester Watercooler ( publisher Harold King. (Billie Jean Stipe is the widow of businessman Francis Stipe, who was the brother of former State Senator Gene Stipe, who filed a 2005 complaint against the same site.) After Miller recused himself, the case was referred to Kay County District Attorney Mark Gibson for investigation.  Although no charges were filed against King over the site, although District Attorney Miller agreed not to seek re-election as part of a deferred prosecution agreement over his efforts to discover the identities of posters to the McAlester Watercooler site.
Butler University v. Doe(?), No. _____ (Ind. Cir. Ct.? 2009).
Status: Withdrawn.

In January 2009, Butler University sued a blogger using the pseudonym "Soodo Nym," for posted comments disparaging two university administrators.

The university says that by subpoenaing Google to identify the user of a Gmail account, in June 2009 it determined that the blogger was Butler student Jess Zimmerman.  Zimmerman, who has admitted writing the blog, claims that the university determined his identity earlier, by monitorins his campus e-mail account.

Zimmerman's parents both work for the university, and the blog criticized what it alleged was disparate and unfair treatment of the school's employees.  "Soodo Nym"also sent an e-mail to the administrators that school officials characterized as a threat.

The university dropped the suit in October, but said that the matter would be handled internally.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman has started the "I am 'John Doe'" blog to publicize this case.

Links and Court Documents:
University's Libel Suit Highlights Growing Online Dilemma (The Indy Channel, Oct. 13, 2009)
Butler president defends school's choice to file lawsuit against blogger (Student Press Law Center, Oct. 16, 2009)
University Sues Student Blogger (Inside High Ed, Oct. 16, 2009)
Lawsuit dropped in Butler blogger case (Indianapolis Star, Oct. 27, 2009)
Butler drops libel lawsuit against student blogger (Student Press Law Center, Oct. 30, 2009)

Save-A-Life Foundation v. Baratz, No. 2007-CH-12022 (Ill. Cir. Ct. filed May 3, 2007).

Save-A-Life Foundation, Inc. v. Heimlich et al, No. 1:08-cv-06022 (N.D. Ill.

Status: Withdrawn

The Chicago-based foundation Save-A-Life Foundation, which teaches and promotes the use of the “Heimlich maneuver” has sued three critics of the first aid procedure and its creator, Dr. Henry Heimlich. Among the critics named in the suit is Jason Harp, who maintains the “Cincinnati Beacon” blog (, and Peter Heimlich, Henry Heimlich’s son, who maintains his own website ( The foundation is also seeking an injunction against the critics’ comments. In its amended complaint, the foundation added American Broadcasting Company, WLS-TV in Chicago, and WLS reporter Chuck Goudie as defendants over two WLS-TV stories on the controversy. In January 2009, the case was moved to federal court.

In July 2009, the plaintiff voluntarily withdrew the case.

Links and Court Documents:,1,7964289.story?coll=chi-newslocalchicago-hed

Amended complaint:

State court docket:

Hammitt v. Watson, Civil No. 07-4954 (Ga. Super., Floyd County filed Dec. 2, 2007).
Status: Dropped by plaintiffs.

Ed and Brenda Hammitt sued the operator of the web site over comments posted by a user of the site that accused them of criminal activity. The case was dropped by the plaintiffs in December 2007 for procedural reasons, but was refiled in Chattooga County.

Links and Court Documents:

Duffin v. MySpace, No. BC410118 (Cal. Super., Los Angeles County filed March 19, 2009).
Status: Withdrawn by plaintiff

Plaintiff Cyd Duffin, principal of Colony High School in Palmer, Alaska sued MySpace and several John Doe defendants in California, where the company is based, over a fake profile created on the social networking site in her name which claimed that she went to strip clubs after school hours and was a member of the Klu Klux Klan. Duffin dropped the suit after the creators of the fake profile confessed and were punished by the school.

Links and Court Documents:
Ward v. Cisco Systems, No. 2007-2502-A (Tex. Dist. Ct., Gregg County filed Nov. 7, 2007)
Status: Withdrawn

Eric Albritton and T. John Ward, Jr., two attorneys representing a company which claims that Cisco violated its patents (in ESN, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., Civil No. 07-00156 (E.D.Tex. stipulated dismissal Nov. 2, 2007)) both filed their own lawsuits against the author of the Patent Troll Tracker blog (; now members only).

The defamation suits claim that a posting on the blog defamed the attorneys by alleging that although the patent suit had been filed on Oct. 15, 2007 (the day before the patent at issue was granted), the attorneys got the court clerk to change the date to Oct. 16, 2007 in order to avoid having the case dismissed. (They parties eventually agreed to a stipulated dismissal of the patent case in Texas, although another case in Connecticut is still pending.)

Ward initially sued the anonymous blogger as John Doe, and sought to obtain the blogger’s identity by seeking to depose Google. But on Feb. 23 -- after Chicago attorney Ray Niro offered a reward for the identity of the blog’s author and the blogger received an e-mail threatening to identify him -- the blogger identified himself as Rick Frenkel, an attorney who held the position of director of intellectual property at Cisco. Ward then amended his complaint to name Frenkel and his employer.

Later, Ward withdrew the Texas state case, and filed a federal suit in Arkansas against the same defendants.

Links and Court Documents:
Dominick v. MySpace, No. 2008L005191 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Cook Co. filed May 12, 2008)
Status: Dropped by plaintiff.

Larry Dominick, town president of Cicero, Ill., filed a petition seeking an order requiring MySpace to reveal the author of two fake profiles of him, which he alleges included defamatory comments and privacy violations. He dropped the case after the Electronic Frontier Foundation submitted an amicus brief in the case, arguing that the petition did not demonstrate a viable legal claim sufficient to overcome the poster’s First Amendment right to anonymity.

Links and Court Documents:
Case information and documents:
Vision Media TV Group v. Richard, Civil No. 08-80797 (S.D. Fla. filed July 17, 2008).
Status: Withdrawn by plaintiff.

Vision Media TV Group allegedly contacted Leslie Richard, saying that it would feature her eco-friendly fashion business in a report to be aired on PBS and CNN. But then the company told Richard that she would have to pay $22,900 in production fees and $3,000 in airfare. Richard wrote about the incident on her blog for her business, the Oko Box blog,, calling it a “scam.” The television company then filed suit, but dropped the case in October 2008.

Links and Court Documents:

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 ( 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:



Ligonier Ministries, Inc. v. Vance, No. ________ (Fla. Cir. Ct., Seminole County filed Aug. 2006).
Status: Dismissed at request of plaintiff.

A religious organization sued a critic, Frank Vance, for comments posted on his blog about the group and its leaders at The religious group also sought a court order prohibiting additional postings. The organization dropped the case in late September 2006.

Links and Court Documents:,0,931489.story?track=rss
Plaintiff’s emergency motion for ex parte hearing:

Johnson v. Tucker Max, No 2003 CA 004867 (Fla. Cir. Ct. removed to federal court June 6, 2003); Civil No. 03-80515 (S.D. Fla. dismissed July 2003).

Status: Dismissed by plaintiff

Plaintiff, formerly Miss Vermont and Miss Vermont U.S.A., sued over postings on the blog in which the author recounted his alleged sexual exploits with her. Initially, a Florida state court judge issued a temporary injunction against continued availability of the postings. After the injunction was lifted, the case was removed to federal court. The plaintiff then voluntarily dismissed the case.

Links and Court Documents:

Initial complaint:

Tallerico v. Doe, No. BC398715 (Cal. Super., Los Angeles County filed Sept. 24, 2008).

Status: Pending.

The lead singer of the rock group Aerosmith, Steven Tyler – whose real name is Steven Tallarico – sued the anonymous authors of two fake blogs, that were removed from the website at Tyler’s request. One of the blogs,, purported to be written by Tyler himself, while the other,, purported to be written by his girlfriend. In January 2009, the clerk filed papers that the plaintiff had failed to file proof of service of the suit.

Links and Court Documents:

Case information and documents:

Eclipse Aviation Corp. v. Doe, No. 108CV110380 (Cal. Super., Santa Clara Co. dismissed July 31, 2008).

Status: Withdrawn by plaintiff

Eclipse Aviation, which manufactures very light jet aircraft, sued several John Does in New Mexico state court, alleging that they were current and former employees who had violated their confidentiality agreements by contributing and posting comments to the Eclipse Aviation Critic blog,, which was active until 2007, and its successor, the Eclipse Aviation Critic Next Generation blog, Eclipse then filed a related action in California state court, seeking a subpoena to compel Google to reveal information to identify 28 “John Does” who contributed to the sites. Eclipse obtained the subpoena from the California court, but Richard J. Lucibella, one the contributors to the site, challenged the subpoena. In August 2008, as part of a shake-up of company management, the company withdrew its lawsuit.

Links and Court Documents:


Motion to quash subpoena:

Coverage of settlement:

Cohen v. Ford, No. 00-CV-5966 (C.D. Cal. dismissed Feb. 21, 2001)
Status: Dropped
In 1998, Gary Kremen sued Stephen Michael Cohen, alleging that he had fraudulently obtained the domain name owned by Kremen by forging a letter to Network Solutions in 1995, asking for transfer of ownership of the URL. (That suit eventually ended with a $65 million award to Kremen, and restoration of control of the domain, although the judgment has not been collected.) While that case was pending, in 2000 Cohen sued Luke Ford over coverage of the lawsuit on his porn-industry blog. But the case was dropped by the plaintiff in 2001.

Brabus Ventures v. Zablotskyy, No. VG08390958 (Cal. Super. Ct., Alameda Co. filed June 4, 2008).

Status: Dismissed

Following a series of postings on the “Go Beyond MLS” blog ( in which former real estate agent Vlad Zablotskyy criticized the website, operated by Brabus Ventures Corp, Brabus filed a complaint in state court alleging defamation. The complaint claimed that Zablotskyy defamed Brabus by asserting that they had indirectly and falsely accused him of charges of child molestation on the Yahoo! answers website through an attempt to identify them with the IP address used by the poster. Brabus voluntarily dismissed the action on October 23, 2008.

Links and Court Documents:

Summons and complaint:

Apple Computer, Inc. v. Doe, No. 1-04-CV-032178, 20005 WL 578641, 33 Media L. Rep. 1449 (Cal. Super. Mar. 11, 2005) (granting discovery motion), rev’d sub. nom. O'Grady, et al. v. Super. Ct. of Santa Clara County , 139 Cal.App.4th 1423, 44 Cal.Rptr.3d 72, 34 Media L. Rep. 208 (Cal. App. 6th Dist. May 26, 2006).
Status: Discovery motion denied; lawsuit against alleged leakers withdrawn

In Dec. 2004, Apple Computer, Inc., filed suit against numerous unknown entities in connection with the leak of confidential information prior to the release of an Apple product codenamed "Asteroid." The information, which Apple claims are trade secrets, was posted on a number of websites, including AppleInsider ( and PowerPage ( Apple sued the unknown people who leaked the information. In an attempt to determine who these people were, Apple subpoenaed Nfox, the e-mail service provider for PowerPage, seeking e-mail messages that could identify the source(s) of the leaked information. The trial court ruled that Apple is entitled to subpoena an e-mail provider to try and identify the source(s), but declined to determine whether the bloggers qualified as journalists under the California shield law. But the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that bloggers and webmasters have the same protections against divulging confidential sources as traditional media. In July 2006, Apple announced that it would not appeal the ruling; in January 2007, Apple withdrew the case.

Links and Court Documents:
Docket available at:
Case information and updates:
Cal. App. decision at

Garrido v. Krasnansky, No. 466-12-06 (Vt. Fam. Ct., Washington County).
Status: Preliminary injunction issued against blog, then dissolved on reconsideration

In a divorce case, Judge Thomas Devine of Washington County Family Court issued an injunction requiring William Krasnansky to remove “any and all Internet postings,” including his blog (, which features what Krasnansky says is a fictionalized account of his wife, their marriage and divorce. Krasnansky refused to remove the material from the site, calling it “an act of civil disobedience.” Upon reconsideration, the judge vacated his prior order.

Links and Court Documents:
Sorenson's Ranch School et al v. My Space, Civil No. 06-00632 (D. Utah dismissed Dec. 12, 2006).
Status: Voluntarily dismissed by plaintiff

Sorenson's Ranch School and its owners, Burnell and Carrol Sorenson, filed suit against MySpace over a page devoted to the school on the site, created by an unknown party, which alleged that the Sorensons engage in child abuse, their staff is not qualified, and they engage in false advertising. . The page appears to have been removed, and the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the action in December 2006.
Galveston Independent School Dist. v. Tetley (threatened lawsuit)
Status: Threated suit; Not filed

In late October 2007, the Galveston Independent School District had its attorney send a letter to the operator of the Galveston Alliance for Neighborhood Schools blog site (, threatening to sue over comments accusing school board members of various improprieties. The threat gained national attention after the Drudge Report website linked to articles about the dispute. The following week, the school board announced that it would not sue, saying that the threat had shifted the district’s focus away from its educational mission.

Links and Court Documents: