A judge has ruled in favour of Andy Lehrer in his suit against Tim Rourke regarding the pages about him on causepimps.ca and has been awarded full damages ($25,000) plus costs. Rourke was a no-show in court and his defence was struck.
After some initial confusion as to whether there was actually anything for easyDNS to do (Rourke had already removed the pages that inspired the lawsuit), we have received adequate clarification and in keeping with our Terms of Service and our Settlement with Mr. Lerhrer we have proceeded with a takedown against the causepimps.ca website.
We’d like to clarify something that came up in the course of all of this, with respect to the context of our use of the word “baseless” in this post. We never intended to convey that we felt Lehrer’s claim against Rourke was baseless – our position was always that it would be inappropriate for us to decide the matter or to take any summary action without a legal due process, that was all. What we did feel was that adding us to the suit as a co-defendant was baseless and all things considered, turned out to be counter-productive for the plaintiff. (There is also this article by a US law firm who compared the nuances of US vs Canadian defamation laws which seems to agree with us.)
If litigants want to pursue specific customers they will always be better served to leave the ISPs and the vendors out of it, that way they can truly sit where they belong – as impartial observers on the sidelines awaiting a legal decision one way or the other.
By involving vendors and ISPs, litigants are now fighting a war on two fronts; the vendor may have more at stake, may have deeper pockets, may have better legal representation, may bring unintended public visibility or may just be plain crazier and more stubborn than the litigants’ original target.
Despite incurring the expense of dealing with this lawsuit instead of summarily throwing our customer under a bus on a (then unproven) allegation, we have no regrets.
- We are being sued for refusing to takedown a website
- Update on Andy Lehrer vs easyDNS lawsuit
- Trial date set on the matter of Andy Lehrer vs easyDNS
- Andy Lehrer files ammended claim adding 3 new allegations against easyDNS
- easyDNS to be dropped from Andy Lehrer lawsuit
- via Techdirt: EasyDNS Sued For Refusing To Take Down Website Without Court Order; Then Hit Again For Writing About The Lawsuit
- A difference between United States and Canadian defamation law by Kelly Warner Law
Dave Andrew says
Glad it's settled.
Freddy Lundekvam says
Glad this got sorted.
As a side note, then i'm fully on Mr Lehere's side that it was completely unnecessary by EasyDNS to publicly announce the website containing the information in question in the lawsuit. You actively assisted, redirected traffic and highlighted the information by publicly posting it mid-suit knowing it was taken offensive and was considered a problem.
That is something a web host shouldn't do. Like you said yourself, you dont want your web host to make these kind of decisions. But in my head, then you already made a decision when you actively promoted the website in question.
And don't worry, we know that all these posts your making is your equivalent of similar businesses spending money on Super Bowl and TV Ads, and if you could afford it, then you would advertise at Super Bowl to.
Mark Jeftovic says
Your objection to our blogging about this isn't a side note, it's the entire reason you're here and posting. You are wrong.
We maintain that adding us as a co-defendant to the lawsuit was against legal norm and precedent. Freedom of expression allows us to comment on our own experiences and state the facts on our blog.
easyDNS customers need to know that we will stand up for them and not throw them under the bus.
Our legal system is founded on allegations being proved by the parties in court. Penalties should not be imposed until allegations are actually found to be true. Due process needs to run its course (an interesting sidenote, a real actual sidenote, is that the judgment in Mr. Lehrer's favor was by *default* since Rourke never showed up in court and his defence was tossed).
When he first came to us, we told Mr. Lehrer the exact same thing we say to law enforcement agencies, foreign courts and even CSIS: talk to us after you run your case past a judge. And guess what? They do it.
It is also important to note that *we didn't blog any of this* when we first told Mr. Lehrer that we'll wait and see how this plays out in court.
We didn't say anything until *after* he went ahead and sued us. At that point we were totally within our rights to tell our customers about what was happening and to post publicly available court filings – this is free speech in action.
You don't get to sue us, mangle the legal process at our expense and then expect us to adhere to *your* subjective norms of conduct.
Our involvement in this was a clusterfsck that should never have happened (it would have been comedic if it wasn't so expensive).
So the author of the website didn't even show up to his own trial to defend himself against charges that his site is defamatory? That's not actually a point in your favour Mark.
Mark Jeftovic says
Congratulations, that comment just won the Straw Man Argument of the Thread Award.
It doesn't matter whether the guy was MIA or if he showed up wearing a clown suit and pissed on the judge’s shoes; it all furthers the point that it really was none of our business, no matter how hard you guys try to jam some warped reasoning behind suing us over it.
Unless the guy was running a botnet and we did nothing to stop it, there is absolutely no way you can throw any culpability for his actions at us and make it stick.
In fact that’s the crux of our argument, C.D.