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CPA Googles For His Name, Sues Google For Libel

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the sue-you-sue-anyone dept.

The Courts 619

fbform writes "Mark Maughan, an accountant, searched Google for his name on March 25 2003 and found some 'alarming, false, misleading and injurious' information about himself and his firm. Therefore, he is now suing Google, Yahoo (which used Google as its search engine at the time), AOL (for using Google to enhance its search results) and Time Warner (because they're the same company as AOL) for libel. Specifically, his lawyer John Girardi believes that Google's PageRank algorithm takes known good information and twists its context when displaying search results."

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619 comments

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In related news... (5, Funny)

gregwbrooks (512319) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624349)

Googling for "litigious schmuck" now turns up a new entry...

Re:In related news... (3, Interesting)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624369)

Although, GW and Michael Moore are still planning their miserable failure [google.com] lawsuits!

Re:In related news... (4, Interesting)

Alsee (515537) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624450)

I think you meant litigious schmuck [google.com]

-

Re:In related news... (4, Informative)

jhunsake (81920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624558)

Actually this search does turn up that he was in trouble before with the state: Mark+Maughan+cpa [google.com] .

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624478)

Unfortunately googlism.com hasnt heard anything about him yet.

Isn't page rank dead? (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624356)

I thought Google had scrapped it because it was being jigged by bloggers et al.

TWW

Re:Isn't page rank dead? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624371)

Yeah, Google ditched the technology that helped get them famous. Right. [google.com]

This begs the question... (4, Funny)

Spytap (143526) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624357)

...how much of it was true? ;)

Re:This begs the question... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624396)

No it doesn't [danhendricks.com] .

Re:This begs the question... (0, Offtopic)

dameron (307970) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624480)

Moreso it begs the question of why you posted anonymously? The usage of this phrase has changed. Deal with it. We can't all live in the 20th century...

Re:This begs the question... (3, Troll)

gooberguy (453295) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624551)

Actually nothing your guys are talking about "begs the question." Begging the question [nizkor.org] is a logical fallacy. You are both raising the question, not begging it.

Congratulations! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624531)

You are the prize winner of being the first schmuck to post the "begs-the-question" pedanticry to slashdot!

Yes, while countless millions go on with their lives being perfectly able to make the distinction between "circular argument" and "leading question", you are there in the forefront making sure that an insignificant badly worded phrase coined centuries ago shall continue to wreak confusion for years to come! Well done! Carry on!

You know, your anal retentive obsession about "begs the question" really begs the question, do you really understand basic English? This is the question that I am begging.

And gosh, did you know that I B.A'd in Logic? Fat lot of good that did me with guys like you around telling me how to speak.

What does this mean? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624562)

You know, your anal retentive obsession about "begs the question" really begs the question, do you really understand basic English? This is the question that I am begging.
Fuck off.

Anger.... Rising... (3, Insightful)

MikeXpop (614167) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624358)

I think it should be manditory for people to know how things work before they can sue someone. I realize why this guy's suing (it wasn't HIS lisence revoked) but seriously. He should be given the job to check over the 3 billion pages google has for libel.

Good idea... (3, Funny)

eniu!uine (317250) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624457)

"I think it should be manditory for people to know how things work before they can sue someone."

Does this mean no one will be able to sue me if I write destructive code in perl?

Re:Good idea... (1)

MikeXpop (614167) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624517)

Not at all. This guy is suing *google*. If he truly knew how pagerank worked, he wouldn't sue google, but he could sue the people linking to his site with offending text.

So to answer you're question, don't write destructive code. I'll sue you.

Re:Anger.... Rising... (4, Insightful)

Surazal (729) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624548)

I kinda agree... between this guy, SCO, Microsoft, and everyone else these days, it seems like childish behavior in the courtroom is the order of the day.

Of course, sometimes I wonder if it's always been like this. The internet I think is bringing things into the sunlight that are normally hidden in darkness....

Maybe this publicity is having a positive effect. Few of the grown-ups I know approve of childish behavior, so stories on people like this ought to show the public their true faces: adults acting like spoiled rotten kids.

Re:Anger.... Rising... (3, Insightful)

Rick the Red (307103) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624559)

You're close. It should be manditory for the plantif to pay court costs and the defendant's legal costs if the plantif loses. Period. That's all the tort reform we need. It would halt frivolous lawsuits overnight. But that would put a lot of lawyers out of work, and since most legislators are lawyers it will never become law.

I'm suing Google (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624359)

I can't find my name anywhere, everyone knows I'm the greatest guy on earth.

No, you're not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624399)

According to Google, Aaron is the greatest guy on Earth [google.com] . He apparently proposed to Holly Boecker '99's sister Mandi, and they were on TLC's "Perfect Proposal."

Re:I'm suing Google (0)

TheIzzy (615852) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624493)

Well, I googled for "Anonymous Coward" and came up with 161,000 results. So therefore I must conclude that you are not even geeky enough to know how to use google. I am the true geekiest guy on earth, not some lamo imposter.

Oh the horror, oh the tragedy!!!! (5, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624361)

Google's PageRank algorithm takes known good information and twists its context

Yeah it isn't like lawyers to do that is it?

Let him sue Slashdot next (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624362)

Hey everybody, I heard that Mark Maughan once killed a man in Reno just to watch him die!

He also has poor math skills and failed basic algebra twice.

Re:Let him sue Slashdot next (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624439)

Mark Maughan can't have an orgasm unless he kills a dog.

Re:Let him sue Slashdot next (4, Informative)

cybermancer (99420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624545)

Yeah, I was thinking of that Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] reference too.

Re:Let him sue Slashdot next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624496)

I heard he has S&M sessions .... with Darl McBride!

And he beat his mother, wife, and children.

And he took candy from a baby.

Feel free to add on.

Re:Let him sue Slashdot next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624513)

I had sex with his wife...

I'm planning to sue the phone company (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624364)

I called several of my business' competitors, and asked them for their opinion on my company, and they said they were better! This is outrageous!

Next thing he'll sue them for .... (4, Funny)

billstewart (78916) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624365)

... is censorship, because if they delete him from Google nobody can find him.

He knows he's not going to win. (5, Insightful)

Trespass (225077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624367)

He just wants some free publicity. Seriously, this will be good for his business.

Tort reform, anyone?

Re:He knows he's not going to win. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624471)

How would it be good for business? If I were looking for a CPA and I read what this guy is doing, I'd think one of two things:

1) He's a vicious, litigating bastard who's in the same category of crooks as Darl McBride. He simply wishes to use the legal system to either promote himself or make a quick buck. Either one of those is pathetic.

-or-

2) He's a moron who doesn't understand the nature of the Internet, free speech, and the fact that the former promotes the latter. People can say what they want about you, and if you don't like it, tough shit.

Either way, would you trust this guy to do your taxes? He'd either screw you over on purpose, or screw you over because he's a moron.

Re:He knows he's not going to win. (1)

fbform (723771) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624524)

He just wants some free publicity. Seriously, this will be good for his business.

Um, why exactly? Wouldn't one think "Oh yeah, that's the guy who blamed Google's search results!" and stay away from his firm?

I can see a genuine possibility for certain search queries to give misleading results, mainly a result of using ellipsis marks in the wrong place. Like searching for "$NAME $ANIMAL" without quotes might conceivably give something like "$NAME was severely reprimanded...for molesting $ANIMALs"

But searching for a name ("$FIRST $LAST" with or without the quotes) should not give something radically different from what was intended on the webpage. This incident therefore seems to be as bad as SCO picking on IBM.

Re:He knows he's not going to win. (1)

mcocke (710952) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624560)

I dunno about that - I wouldn't hire a computer illiterate boob as an accountant.

You forgot Slashdot... (2, Funny)

holzp (87423) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624373)

if his lawyer browses this at -1.

how about suing the site with the actual content? (2, Insightful)

abstrakts (610619) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624375)

hey

Re:how about suing the site with the actual conten (1)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624547)

I think the issue is the way google shorts the results in those little snippets. So,if you read the results only instead of actually clicking the link... you'll see things that don't sound flattering. But those are just random snippets from pages found in the search results.

The actual website may not even have unfavorable texst on it.

At least that's how it sounds to me...

In other news (3, Funny)

gbrayut (715117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624376)

Man sues white pages for listing his name and phone number. WTF!

Re:In other news (0)

akeyes (720106) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624470)

...and address!

Re:In other news (0)

moxruby (152805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624490)

Man sues white pages for listing his name and phone number. WTF!

I realise your joking, but if I asked them not to list it (silent number) number and they listed it anyway, I would consider suing.

Obviously google is a different ball game, but Scientology using the DMCA to de-list xenu.net has set a dangerous precedent.
Perhaps in future search engines will have teams of workers responding to complaints and de-listing libelous pages?

Re:In other news (4, Interesting)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624504)

Don't laugh. I did.
I requested, was charged for and I paid for an unlisted number. The phone company published my number anyway and I filed suit on them in small claims court. The phone company did not show up in court and I won a default judgement against them for $1,000.

They never paid me. And when I called them and demanded satisfaction, they began screwing me on my phone bills. My $29 a month phone bill suddenly exploded into $600 a month bills for bogus charges, bogus equipment, bogus repairs, bogus services and bogus installations. The more I complained the worse it got, when I refused to pay the bills they cut my phone off then charged me hundreds of dollars to reconnect it and HUGE deposits.

Fucking thieves SBC is.... I cut the wires at the pole and the house and rolled up the wire and kept it. I now use only a cell phone.

I will NEVER have a land line again.
BTW, I had previously had an unlisted number for over 15 years.

When I searched... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624377)

When I searched google for his name I got info on a car.
Is he talking about the car?

Great... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624378)

Yet another moronic jackass trying to get rich by suing a company(ies)who are trying to get rich.

Has Google Changed the Results? (2, Informative)

luigi22_ (733738) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624382)

I just googled the guy's name and got nothing that said that he had been "disciplined for gross negligence, for failing to timely submit a client's claim for refund of overpayment of taxes, and for practicing as a CPA without a permit".

Maybe they changed things in an effort to stop the lawsuit, which, btw, is one worthy of SCO-like fame.

Re:Has Google Changed the Results? (1)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624535)

Searching for "Mark Maughan brown" (brown is the name of his partner) yeilds th fourth result as: http://www.dca.ca.gov/cba/discipline/bi-bz.htm.

It's a site dealing with allegations, punishments ect ect.

next up for SCO... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624385)

Suing Slashdot for the negative press on Darl McBride...

humm what about intent (5, Informative)

Cyberglich (525256) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624388)

Last i checked Libel required some form of intent since google's results are computer generrated by the web spiders where the intent do the spiders have it out for him?

Re:humm what about intent (2, Insightful)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624445)

Libel requires intent only if the figure in question is a public figure.

I'm going to state the obvious... (5, Insightful)

rritterson (588983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624391)

If this guy gets any money.... actually, if this guy gets any money, it will only continue the current legal trends.

However, I was going to say that if this guy gets any money our legal system will have gone kaput. This is like suing a library for providing books which contain recommendations against your products. It's also like suing me for giving you a book with the same information.

What a great example of shooting the messenger... how pathetically ridiculous.

Oh, and is this guy actually suing the parties responsible for the creation of the socalled 'defamatory content'? Probably not, seeing as how they are broke due to doing business with a poor accountant.

Re:I'm going to state the obvious... (4, Insightful)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624440)

Not exactly.

It's more like suing a library for saying "oh, That guy? There's a book about him on teir 5, row six that says he murdered a little girl", then when you get to teir 5 row six, the book about him says that he once got a speeding ticket and didn't pay, but the book next to it says that some other guy murdered a little girl.

If the library refused to stop giving out that nugget of information when you asked them too, would you not be pissed?

Actually, all of us here should be smart enough to understand the situation without ridiculous metaphors. Google's page summary is giving out misleading information about him, and they refuse to do anything about it. I don't think the onus should be on Google to prevent this, but I don't see why they can't act on complaints they do get.

Attention Mark Maughan (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624484)

Mark Maughan...found some 'alarming, false, misleading and injurious' information about himself and his firm.

Mark, pay attention. I'm going to give you some more. You're a pathetic worm, a useless parasite. You're absurd, irrational action only further destroys a legal system weakened by other parasites in dire need of control.

That control is coming soon; the host you feed upon has exceeded its tolerance for your type. Don't expect producers to feed you and your ilk much longer...

Hey, Mark. Here's a lance. (4, Funny)

SamTheButcher (574069) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624400)

Have fun tilting at that windmill, bub.

Re:Hey, Mark. Here's a lance. (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624429)

I wish I could mod ya up, but ya got a friend for the obscure reference :)

Re:Hey, Mark. Here's a lance. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624495)

Not obscure in the least.

In case his lawyer still has free time ... (1)

dont_think_twice (731805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624403)

Mark Maughan is a baby.

There, now he has someone else to sue.

Whoopie (4, Informative)

Tyrdium (670229) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624405)

Looks like he didn't read Google's terms of service [google.com] ...
Google disclaims any and all responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, reliability, or operability or availability of information or material displayed in the GOOGLE SERVICES results. Google disclaims any responsibility for the deletion, failure to store, misdelivery, or untimely delivery of any information or material. Google disclaims any responsibility for any harm resulting from downloading or accessing any information or material on the Internet through the GOOGLE SERVICES.
IANAL, but this seems to be saying that they are not liable for anything Google serves up. Given that, by doing this search and suing them for its results, he's violating its terms of service, I don't think he can do much... It's like the clause in a Microsoft EULA that says they aren't responsible for any damages related to or caused by their product.

Re:Whoopie (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624491)

SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH YOUR IANAL. If you are not a lawyer then DO NOT GIVE LAWYER ADVICE OR ANALYSIS. Now go fuck your sock and cry, you rotten piece of shit.

Re:Whoopie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624549)

Could the same be said to you douchebag? Disclaimer is a disclaimer regardless if your a human being or a lawyer, so quite being jealous of the mold under dog shit getting more action than you and get back to your h0mo pr0n.

Re:Whoopie (1)

ender's_shadow (302302) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624546)

Umm, you skipped the step where a third party gets bound by a K. and just because he used the page to see what others see when they search him doesn't mean he necessarily agreed to their TOS. If they were indeed committing a tort, and required him to give up his rights to find out that out, there's no way in hell that'll stand up in court. A simple reference to fraud/deception should be sufficient to kill your argument in court.

Bad logic (3, Informative)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624553)

That's plain bad logic.

If I offer you child porn with a disclaimer, no matter what's in the disclaimer, traffiking in the child porn would still be illegal.

There are many instances where you cannot be forced to abandon your rights by signing a contract saying that you do. And this Google search happens whether or not the 'complaintent' searched or not. He's concerned about other people doing this.

I've no idea who's right here, but your logic fails badly.

Re:Whoopie (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624554)

"We disclaim any and all responsibility and/or liability for any injury caused by dropping a 10 ton weight on your head. We disclaim any responsibility for the concussion, smashing, and your squashing as a result of your own body s lack of structural integrity. We disclaim any responsibility for loss of income that may result of you no long existing as a living human being. We disclaim any responsibity for any harm resulting from standing under a 10 ton weight. We thank you for choosing 10-ton weight inc and look forward to your business in future lives."

This being said... let's say I actually were to drop a 10-ton weight on someone's head. If I had a disclaimer on the weight, does that mean I'm not held accountable for anything that is a direct result of droping it?

Hmm... (1)

wronskyMan (676763) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624408)

The first page of google for "Mark Maughan" brings up a British car ad, some HERF hax0r website discussion messages, some baseball stats and 2 LDS pages. Either:
1. This guy was on a fishing expedition to find people to sue
2. Or according to Googles malicious misrepresentation, he's dangerous for google - an expert Mormon pitcher who has HERF guns and tcpdump installed in his Mini :-)

Re:Hmm... (-1)

ckathens (631781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624441)

Plug this search into google and you'll see what he's so mad about: "mark maughan brown CPA" .

Basically he was disciplined by the California Board of Accountancy, and that is the first two hits to show up. I don't see anything wrong with this; he did something wrong and now he's complaining because his dirty laundry gets aired before his firm's webpage....

Re:Hmm... (1)

PedanticSpellingTrol (746300) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624454)

dont' forget the article linked to by /.
mmm... speedy pool updates

did you? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624411)

How many people searched for their names in google after reading this article?

Google maybe.. Yahoo?! AOL?! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624412)

I can see why he might think he has a legitimate claim against google (or is he just talking about how google will give results that highlight search terms, separated with "...."?) but how could Yahoo or AOL be responsible?

Is is Yahoo/AOL's responsibility to make sure that the informaiton they access (NOT the information they themselves portray) is correct?

And Time Warner? I wonder if he has sued other companies in the past with 'icey sidewalk' type claims.

Okay... Um... (1)

Brainboy (310252) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624414)

This comment isn't insightful, interesting, or funny but...

This guy is a friggin idiot. And a whiny bitch.

mod parent up... (1)

gbrayut (715117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624511)

+5 THE TRUTH

Mark Maughan and... (1)

Xeth (614132) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624415)

..Darl McBride. Separated at birth?

Re:Mark Maughan and... (-1)

relrelrel (737051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624555)

Dark McBride: I'll see you in court for that!
Mark Maughan: I'll see you in court for that!

First Result (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624416)

Clicky [polo-gt.co.uk]

Hey... hey... I AM NOT AN AUTOMOBILE! Lawyer, here boy!

Litigious Bastards (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624419)

Wait until SCO get's a hold of this! Perhaps they'll be suing Google afterall.

An interesting side-effect ... (4, Interesting)

danwiz (538108) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624422)

An interesting side-effect is that because of the publicity, the search engine will rank his 'alarming, false, misleading and injurious' information even higher!

Wonder if this will add strength to his case?

Try adding "CPA" to the search (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624427)

Seems like google represent the page quite correctly to me.

Where is it? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624433)

I thought SuSE 9.1 was out? It doesn't seem to be.

I'm seeking to upgrade my SuSE 9.0 host to 9.1, so that I might enjoy KDE 3.2.1 and the 2.6 kernel. But at ftp.suse.com, ftp.suse.de, and ftp.novell.com, only 9.0 is available!

WTF? SuSE is great - KDE is clearly the direction Linux must go if it ever hopes to win the desktop, and SuSE seems to be the only major Linux distro that realizes this, as well as the only one that hasn't abandoned us desktop users - but where is 9.1?

Someone help.

Can this CPA add 2 and 2? (4, Insightful)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624446)

Funny thing. I click on the "Read More" link for this story, and the huge ad that appears directly under it is for...Google!!! Is that irony, or does /. use some algorithm for displaying related ads inside stories, for users who would be more likely to click on those ads?

Anyway, here's what I was going to post... Can this CPA add up 2 and 2? If there is libelous information on the Internet, and he wishes to pursue litigation, then he should go after the persons responsible for the information. Google is only an index, making the information on the Internet easily available for access. Without Google (and perhaps without similar search engines), it would be all but impossible to find anything useful on the Internet.

In fact, I think the aforementioned CPA should THANK Google for making it possible for him to FIND the offending information, so that he can take action against whomever he should take action. Without Google, the alleged libel might have been posted all over the Internet and our friend the CPA would never have been any the wiser.

I further think there is no basis in law for suing an index for pointing to information. On the contrary, I think this was tested in court quite a few times (in all those trials against linking to pages within a site) and it was decided that you can link to whatever the heck you want to link to.

Therefore, I think this CPA is making a stupid decision, and I believe the case will get dismissed. I hope Google countersues for legal fees. And wins.

Oh yeah, and did I mention I'm a Supreme Court Justice? Yeah, the Supreme Court of Bullshit.

Bush... (0)

akeyes (720106) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624449)

Now is Bush going to go after Google because of the "Miserable Failure" and "I'm Feeling Lucky"?

The offending link (4, Informative)

cybermancer (99420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624455)

I imagine this is the offending link to the California Diciplinary Actions List [ca.gov] . All the information he claims Google distorted is displayed in black on white on the page owned by ca.gov. Don't know how anyone else could be liable for that.

So in other words he is suing Google, et al. for pointing to publicly available records that are not flattering. The odd side effect is now that everyone will see this link and know all the sorted details about he and his law firm. Before he made this fuss no one would have cared. Maybe he will sue me too for posting this link. Hmm. . . .

Re:The offending link (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624483)

It is interesting on the page it says:
For purposes of settlement, Respondent admits the truth and accuracy of the allegations and charges in the Accusation.
I guess he decided that truth and accuracy weren't his style anymore.

Re:The offending link (2, Informative)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624557)

Maybe he's suing because of the summary of the page:
Disciplinary Actions List - Bi-Bz ... Effective July 1, 1993. BROWN & MAUGHAN, AN ACCOUNTANCY CORPORATION (COR 2529). MAUGHAN, MARK G. (CPA 38184) Fountain Valley/Rolling Hills Estates, CA. ...

Maybe this is what he didn't like... (5, Informative)

Jeff Reed (209535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624462)

This [ca.gov] page seems to list some disciplinary action taken against his law firm. I quote from the "Cause for Discipline" column (all emphasis mine):

For purposes of settlement, Respondent admits the truth and accuracy of the allegations and charges in the Accusation. Respondent and his accountancy corporation engaged in the practice of public accounting with expired licenses.

Respondent additionally failed to pay an administrative fine imposed by the Board for failing to supply the Board with copies of a financial report representing the highest level of service rendered, in accordance with Section 89.1 of the California Code of Regulations. Respondent's failure to pay the administrative fine caused the Board to withhold renewal of his CPA license.


Sounds like someone knew they'd have no luck taking on the state and decided to try and get some quick cash out a Google. Nice try.

Re:Maybe this is what he didn't like... (0)

Jeff Reed (209535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624487)

Curses. Beaten by a minute. There goes my chance for karma whoring.

Loser pays (2, Insightful)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624467)

The mental midget known as Mark Maughan, who has only been a member of his local CPA association for about a year, is just out to get some easy cash by trying to make it more expensive for Google to fight him in court. CPAs normally make ass-loads of money, so I guess he must be really crappy at his job if he needs the money this badly.

one, two (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624472)

HAHAHAHAAHAHHAHAHA

*catches breathe*

HAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Poor Mr. Maughan (3, Funny)

Baldorg (758327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624474)

People will now find out the horrible things he does to animals during his free time...

While (2, Informative)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624482)

While I think this is a bogus lawsuit, I have a fairly good guess as to what he is refering to.

In google search results, the brief clip of information below the link is often snippets of 3 or 4 different sentences (to show you that all of your requested words did in fact show up."

I'm going to hazard a guess that Mr. Maughan's result looked something like "Mark... Maughan... And Associates have... not paid their taxes... practice without a license... eat babies."

If that's what this is about... hes god a point...

Great Google-ly Moogley! (1)

Mobster (306973) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624485)

I wouldn't put it past people to post links on their websites to the "libelis" (sp??) material just to get it ranked higher.

His assinine story is already the next to last item on the first page if you google him now.

yeah but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624488)

I can easily take someone's picture, name it "baby-eating-joe.jpg" and exploiting Google get this up quite high on Google's rank, is this Google's fault? Or mine?

Anyway, I bet the guy's American. It's sometimes true what they say about us, but it's only because we have impotent govts, give us all a bad name.

The google result in question (1)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624501)

Googling for "Mark Maughan accountant" gives the following as the 2nd result, I'm going to assume this is the search result in question since noone seems to have linked to it.

Disciplinary Actions List - Bi-Bz ... Respondent was also alleged to have continued to practice as a certified public
accountant after his permit to practice public ... MAUGHAN, MARK G. (CPA 38184) ...
www.dca.ca.gov/cba/discipline/bi-bz.htm - 47k - Cached - Similar pages

I suppose it does look misleading, but anyone familiar with google should know better than to not actually read the pages in the results.

while he's at it (1)

challahc (745267) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624502)

he might as well sue the company that made his computer and his internet service provider, and his parents

Can I sue NASA? (1)

JayPee (4090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624503)

I did a quick search for my name and discovered THIS! [nasa.gov] Can I now sue the bejesus out of NASA?

Loser Pays... (4, Interesting)

ndykman (659315) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624506)

I think it may be time for the US to seriously consider implementing a "Loser Pays" system in civil court. Basically, if you, as a lawyer, pursue what is found to be suit with insufficient legal merit, then you are liable for all the costs of the case, including the other sides fees, plus any penalty the court finds suitable.

If you as a lawyer don't believe that a case has merit, but the client wants to pursue the case, the lawyer can draw up a contract noting that the client has been advised that consuel believes the case does not have merit, and that they, the client, will bear the liability for all costs and penalties in the case.

The first thing that happens in a civil suit is that it is analyzed for merit, and if it found lacking, liability and fines are assessed.

Basically, it takes the profit motive for pursuing crappy cases out of the system. Why shouldn't lawyers pursue any case? Money is money.

And this still allows for anybody to pursue a case, but they have to assume the costs if the lawyer doesn't find any merit to the case.

unprofessionnal reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624509)

Keep in mind that the article comes from Tuvalu, a country of 11,500.

sued Google, AOL, Time Warner and Yahoo!

Exclamation marks should never appear in a neutral article.

Friday for libel.

How is this a complete sentence?

Knee Jerk Reactions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624510)

I don't know if this guy is entirely wrong. Suppose there's some suit that alleges gross negligence, and Maughan is representing that person. I could see a situation in which you search for

"Mark Maughan" negligence

and come up with something like

"Mark Maughan .... was indicted on charges of gross negligence"

You get the point - the auto-summarization picks up the keywords you're looking for, but might summarize it into a sentence that reads like he's a criminal or a pedophile, when he might only be representing a criminal or pedophile.

Kill the messenger. (2, Funny)

sittingbull (526322) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624512)

Oh ya, kill the messenger (Google) after he dies of a heart attack to bring you the best information possible; that always works.

But what about googling Bush? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624515)

miserable failure, click feeling lucky.

Should we sue for allowing an electoral college to override popular vote and put a simple minded bafoon in the white house?

Whining bitch.

Why not ? (1)

lazy_arabica (750133) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624526)

Why doesn't he sue his computer manufacturer ?

To summarize... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8624527)

The government says [ca.gov] :

"This list contains names of licensees for which accusations have been filed and are pending possible disciplinary action; summaries of all decisions within the past seven years for those found to be in violation of the California Accountancy Act and/or the rules and regulations of the California Board of Accountancy; and summaries of decisions older than seven years but occurring since July 1, 1993, for licenses revoked, surrendered or placed on long-term probation (beyond three years)."

Brown and Maughan just "happens" to be listed. Have they been sued? Doesn't look like it.

Google [google.com] on the other hand is libelous for linking to an official government agency.

God bless our legal system... we'll listen to any case put before the court, regardless of how horrendously stupid it might be.

Question... (0)

Walker2323 (670050) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624533)

Does this guy work for SCO?

Here's what he's actually referring to (5, Informative)

Cyph (240321) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624539)

When you search google for his company name [google.com] , the first hit it comes up with shows the following for the description:


Disciplinary Actions List - Bi-Bz ... Surrender of license accepted. Effective July 1, 1993. BROWN & MAUGHAN,
AN ACCOUNTANCY CORPORATION (COR 2529). MAUGHAN, MARK G. (CPA 38184) ...


The reason he is suing is because "Surrender of license accepted." is shown in the description, while it actually is carried over from a section on the page which doesn't refer to his company. Though if you view the page you'll see that the company is actually on probation for 3 years. The site linked to is actually http://www.dca.ca.gov. Now, apparently, this guy thinks that if Google sampled some of the results on the page, and accidentally showed that, Google is somehow responsible for libel.

Personally, I think he's insane, but I can see his position on this because it does look misleading. I just hope he doesn't win anything.

Meanwhile... (4, Funny)

Thedalek (473015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8624544)

Googling for my name [google.com] reveals that, in addition to being an avid gamer, I apparantly played Greedo in Star Wars.

Think I'll sue Lucas for not paying me.
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