Christoph (17845) writes "I'm the Slashdot user who was sued for defamation (and six other claims) by a corporation over negative statements on my website. I prevailed (pro-se) in 2008. The court found the other side forged evidence and lied. In 2009, I sued the other party's lawyers for malicious prosecution/abuse of process (the corporation itself is dissolved/broke). One defendant had stated in writing their client was lying, but the trial court dismissed my claim for lack of evidence. I appealed, and this Tuesday the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal, completely ignoring the defendant's written admission (and other evidence). They further found it was not an abuse of process to sue to "stop the publication of negative information and opinion"." Link to Original Source top
Successfully defended gripe website, now suing law
Christoph writes "Last year, I won a federal lawsuit against a corporation who sued me over a grip page that publicized their unauthorized use of my photos. I showed the other party's alleged source for the photos, Michael Zubitskiy, did not exist, and I held a valid, registered copyright. I was awarded (and collected) damages for copyright infringement, but I had been forced to defend my free speech rights for two years when there was no real evidence against me. The corporation is now broke, but I've sued it's former attorneys for malicious prosecution and abuse of process, alleging they used the courts to try to silence comments they knew were true. How will the Minnesota courts handle a claim that attorneys knowingly brought a baseless lawsuit to silence criticism of their client, as opposed to being zealous advocates who reasonably believed their client's implausible story? I've set up a page to follow the case (Minn. 4th District No. 27-cv-09-13489), which includes an online docket. A jury trial is scheduled for April, 2010." Link to Original Source top
Chris Gregerson writes "I work as a stock photographer/web developer. I saw a
photo of mine
used in Vilana Financial's full-page
phone book ad.
They wouldn't pay the licensing fee, and I
wrote about it online
They sued me for defamation, producing a sales agreement signed by "Michael Zubitskiy"
(who they said took the photo and sold the rights to them).
I sued them for copyright infringement, and they added
claims against me for trademark infringement, deceptive
trade practices, and tortuous interference.
There was a trial I'll remember on the 5th of November, and the judge
recently issued her
She ruled Vilana Financial forged the sales agreement, willfully infringed my photos,
and awarded me $19,462. All claims against me were denied. I represented myself
during the litigation." Link to Original Source top
I was sued for defamation over a gripe website (cgstock.com/vilana.html) against a local mortgage company, Vilana Financial. I never did business with them, my gripe is that they took a photo from my website (I'm a photographer), published it in their full-page phone book ad, and have refused to pay the licensing fee. They argue they did nothing wrong, they bought the photo from the real photographer, a man named "Michael Zubitskiy". I am the only party with the high-res file for the photo, I have the certificate of copyright registration for the photo, and there is nobody by the name "Michael Zubitskiy" in the USA (just
Open and shut case, right? No — it's now entering it's second year, and was recently moved from state to federal court. Vilana produced a
signed by Zubitskiy and notarized by one of their staff, and have suggested that Zubitskiy is an illegal Russian immigrant who is living "underground"; they paid him in cash so there is no cancelled check, and they lost the original photo they got from him. They have no contact info for him, of course.
My investigator (and theirs) found nothing when doing a background check on "Zubitskiy" — no current or past phone number, address, driver's license, or credit record. An anonymous caller informed me the sales agreement was forged, so I sent it to a handwriting expert — he said the signature of the notary public appeared to matched the signature of Zubitskiy, but this is not 100%. When I deposed the notary public, he said he doesn't remember what Zubitskiy looks like but but maintains he is real.
I gathered all the above evidence into a motion against the other party for forging evidence. The Minnesota state court judge, rather than being upset with Vilana, refused to hear my motion, saying it was "premature" and should wait until after the trial is over (note: that's not actually how motions for sanctions are supposed to work).
I've since sued Vilana for copyright infringement and reported them to the state (as they are a licensed mortgage originator, they are not supposed to be forging documents). The state will not take any action until the outcome of this case, so it's especially important I prove they forged this sales agreement (and lied). There is no precedent on what the legal standard of proof should be, and I only get one crack at it, after which it can't be re-litigated. The fraud experts I've spoken to say this case is a first and they don't know what would prove the non-existance of a person.
I will argue I only have to prove Michael Zubitskiy does not exist in the normal, ordinary sense, after which Vilana must then show he exists in some extra-ordinary way (e.g. he's invisible..."extordinary claims require extrordinary proof"). But how do you prove a person doesn't exist? Cost is an issue.
*Further legal details are on the original gripe page:
http://www.cgstock.com/vilana.html (I'm a Pro-se defendant in the defemation lawsuit against me and now also a pro-se plaintiff against the same company, Vilana Financial, over their violation of my photograph copyright)."
I am leaving the U.S., with my wife Arlene, in two weeks. It will be our first trip back to her province in the Philippines since she and I left there two years ago.
It will be my own longest stay in Badoc, her town in Ilocos Norte. It's a great, green and lush rural placid place. But there are NPA (communist guerillas), and corruption. I'll be in Bacoc for two weeks.
I should come back with some good photos and video.