Topic: Legal

Legal side of Reputation Management

1H 2017 Quick Links, Part 9 (Justice System, Social Media, Miscellaneous) 0

Justice System

* Paleteria La Michoacana, Inc. v. Productos Lacteos Tocumbo S.A., No. 11-1623 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2017): “The Court notes that a growing number of legal scholars are turning to blogs and other online media to publish their work and to consider important legal questions….the Court will treat the reference to the blog post the same way it would treat a citation to a law review article”

* The Recorder: Small Sums, Big Guns: This Billionaire Would Rather Skirmish Than Settle

* Vice: Cops Are Abandoning Their Favorite Interrogation Technique Because It Doesn’t Work

* Rebecca Wexler: When a Computer Program Keeps You in Jail

* This Factor Is Drawing Increasing Scrutiny in Class Action Settlements

* For Some Big Firms, It’s Still All About That IPO Equity

* Cracked: 6 Things I Learned When The Cops Raided My House By Mistake

* The Ringer: After the Final Rose With TV’s Bachelawyers

* “Miami lawyer’s pants erupt in flames during arson trial in court.”  New twist to “liar liar pants on fire” parable?

* Cracked: 6 WTF Excuses Companies Actually Used While Getting Sued

* Cracked: 5 Realities About The World’s Scariest Police Department

* NY Times: She Was Convicted of Killing Her Mother. Prosecutors Withheld the Evidence That Would Have Freed Her.

Social Media

* Washington Post: It takes more than social media to make a social movement

* The Verge: Teen who asked Wendy’s for nuggets breaks all-time retweet record

* Hollywood Reporter: Oscars: How an Accountant’s Tweet Turned into the Biggest Mistake in Academy History

* Variety: New Photos Show PWC Accountant Tweeting, Mixing Envelopes Backstage at Oscars. Distracted tweeting kills lives, careers, dreams and Oscars

* Time: Meet the Woman Behind Merriam-Webster’s Viral Twitter Account

* Wired: An Oral History of the #Hashtag

* Polinsky v. Bolton, 2017 WL 2224391 (Minn Ct. App. May 22, 2017): “The district court found that the use of the “@mentions” was deliberate contact with Polinsky that was unwanted and had a substantial adverse effect on her security. We agree with this reasoning and conclude that Bolton’s Twitter “@mentions” of Polinsky satisfy the statutory definition of harassment.”

* Oddee  8 Amazing People Who Learned Their Skills From YouTube

* Cracked: 6 Dark Secrets YouTube Doesn’t Want You To Know

* The Atlantic: Innocence Is Irrelevant: This is the age of the plea bargain—and millions of Americans are suffering the consequences.


* Wired: Inside Cuba’s D.I.Y. Internet Revolution

* Sierra Club: When You Thought Trade Deals Could Not Get Any Worse — Enter Wall Street.

* NY Times: Once a Model City, Hong Kong Is in Trouble

* Washington Post: Denmark is naming an ambassador who will just deal with increasingly powerful tech companies

* Business Insider: An Ivy League professor who spent 4 months working in a South Bronx check-cashing store says we’re getting it all wrong. “Not all check cashers are the same, but the perception of the industry as seedy doesn’t jibe with Servon’s experience. And contrary to the views of the financial elite, customers’ use of check cashers typically didn’t seem naive or poorly thought out, but rather the smartest decision they could make given their circumstances, according to Servon. “It showed me that those decisions are often rational, logical decisions, even if they’re expensive,” Servon said.”

* Search Engine Land: RIP Dmoz: The Open Directory Project is closing

* Washington Post: “smartphones aren’t @ the tippy top of Maslow’s hierarchy. They’re much closer to the bottom than many people think”

* Orly Lobel: Companies Compete but Won’t Let Their Workers Do the Same

* Wired: India’s Silicon Valley Is Dying of Thirst. Your City May Be Next

* Buzzfeed: How a federal agent got away with terrorizing his Brazilian ex-girlfriend — even as she repeatedly begged the US government to stop him

* CJR: What toppled Bill O’Reilly? A reporter’s hunch, a cold call, and a Pilates class.

* Reuters: Singapore ‘vending machine’ dispenses Ferraris, Lamborghinis

* Search Engine Land: Another study shows how featured snippets steal significant traffic from the top organic result

* The Atlantic: How Online Shopping Makes Suckers of Us All

* The Guardian: Surge pricing comes to the supermarket

* New York Attorney General Unveils Latest Ticket Bot Enforcement Actions against Ticket Vendors and Software Developer

Source: Eric Goldman Legal

When Free Speech Clash with Rules of Conduct 0

Imagine you’re at a sporting game with your children. It’s a great way to spend time with the family. You have good seats and your team is even winning. It’s looking to be a great day. Then, the guy in front of you takes off his shirt to reveal his highly offensive tattoos. Not just […]

The post When Free Speech Clash with Rules of Conduct appeared first on Defamation Removal Law.

Source: Aaron Minc

1H 2017 Quick Links, Part 8 (Trump, Immigration) 0

[Note: I very rarely blog about general politics, and I promise that won’t change. However, times are not normal. We have elected a president who lies for sport. takes more hypocritical positions in a week than most of us will take in a lifetime, has countless conflicts-of-interest we don’t fully understand, and is protected by enablers in Congress. So here’s a sampling of some of the shenanigans from the past half-year.]

* Politico: ‘He Has This Deep Fear That He Is Not a Legitimate President.’ A seemingly well-grounded fear IMO.

* NY Times: White House Pushes ‘Alternative Facts.’ Here Are the Real Ones.

* NY Times: 10 Times Trump Spread Fake News

* Politico: How Trump Left Hollywood in the Cold

* THR, ESQ: Donald Trump Escapes FEC Punishment Over Paid Actors at Presidential Announcement

* Slate: Donald Trump’s First Twitter Background as President Was a Photo From the Inauguration of Barack Obama

* Daily Beast: Trump’s WhiteHouse.Gov Disappears Civil Rights, Climate Change, LGBT Rights

* Vox: Trump’s real war isn’t with the media. It’s with facts.

* Fail Blog: The Funniest Protest Signs at the Trump Inauguration

* NY Times: Tech Opposition to Trump Propelled by Employees, Not Executives

* Baltimore Sun: Ordinary Americans carried out inhumane acts for Trump

* Washington Post: Melania Trump ‘has no intention’ of profiting from public position, representatives say

* Metro: Everyone’s mocking Trump mercilessly for his SEE YOU IN COURT tweet

* USA Today: White House posts wrong versions of Trump’s orders on its website

* ProPublica: Deleted Tweets From Donald J. Trump

* WSJ: Trump Administration Considers Change in Calculating U.S. Trade Deficit

* The Hill: Trump clarifies remarks on Sweden: I got it from Fox News story

* Washington Post: I didn’t think I’d ever leave the CIA. But because of Trump, I quit.

* Quartz: Trump’s disregard for the judicial system has accidentally made law school cool again. #TrumpBump!

* The Atlantic: I Was a Muslim in Trump’s White House

* NY Times: Trump Ruled the Tabloid Media. Washington Is a Different Story

* Reuters: Kuwait could pay up to $60,000 for party at Trump Hotel in Washington

* Huffington Post: The First 100 Lies: The Trump Team’s Flurry Of Falsehoods

* Bustle: 21 Sweden Incident Memes That Hilariously Shed Light On A Non-Existent Event

* Fail Blog: Twitter Roasts Kellyanne Conway For Making Up a Terrorist Attack “The Bowling Green Massacre” to Defend Muslim Ban As If We Don’t Have Google

* The Guardian: Muslims inside FBI describe culture of suspicion and fear: ‘It is cancer’

* The Intercept: Homeland Security Sees Anger at Trump as a Driver of “Domestic Terrorist Violence”

* Fortune: Trump’s Victory Has People Signing up For News Like It’s Going Out of Style. #TrumpBump!

* Cracked: Mar-a-Lago: When A Millionaire Bankrupts An Entire Town

* CNN: Trump tweets and the TV news stories behind them

* Wired: Trump Can’t Quit His Wiretap Claims. That Won’t End Well

* Oddee: 10 Regretful Trump Supporters

* Politico: How Trump gets his fake news

* Washington Post: Under Trump, inconvenient data is being sidelined

* Washington Post: Trump’s old tweets are becoming a minefield of hypocrisy

* Slate: Trump Isn’t the Only Politician Blocking Constituents on Twitter

*  Forbes: “How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into His Business”

* Vanity Fair: The Inside Story of the Kushner-Bannon Civil War

* CNN: Surrounded by lawyers, Trump back in familiar stance

* Washington Post: Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault

* The NY Times has “catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office”

* Cracked: 7 Secret (And Stupid) Rules For Working For President Trump

* NBC News: Tracking President Trump’s Visits to Trump Properties

* Just Security: Timeline: Trump’s Acts of Appeasement/Accommodation to Russia

* NY Times: A veteran political reporter takes stock of how Washington has — and hasn’t — changed in the time of Trump.

* The Week: 43 stunned reactions to Donald Trump Jr.’s damning emails


* Slate: “Horror stories about the lawlessness of Customs and Border Protection agents in the aftermath of Trump’s immigration ban.” We need to reform the DHS/CBP from the bottom up, and those who disobeyed the court order need to be held accountable for their crimes.

* Wired: Trump’s Ban Isn’t Just Inhumane—It’ll Make America Dumber

* NY Times: He’s a Local Pillar in a Trump Town. Now He Could Be Deported.

* Huffington Post: This Is What Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Is Doing To School Kids

* The Guardian: Border Patrol may loosen lie-detector use in hiring to meet Trump’s jobs order (“about two-thirds of job applicants fail CBP’s polygraph”)

* Wired: Tech Had to Lash Out Against Trump’s Ban. It’s Personal

* Quartz: The only way to get into America is through this 60,000 strong, pro-Trump armed force

* Scientific American: Immigrants Do Not Increase Crime, Research Shows

* Slate: I tried to represent an undocumented man rounded up by ICE. I couldn’t even find him.

* Above the Law: The Day The Lawyer Jokes Died

* The Atlantic: “Passengers on a domestic flight deplaning in New York were asked to present ID by Customs and Border Protection agents—a likely unenforceable demand that nevertheless diminishes freedom.”

* BBC: “A Nigerian software engineer claims he was handed a written test by a US border officer at New York’s JFK airport to prove his tech credentials.”

* Wired: A Laptop Ban Leaves Everyone Scared and No One Safer. “nowhere in the world is airport security such an awkward blend of rigorous and seemingly arbitrary as in the United States.”

* Cracked: 5 Facts That Will Change How You Think Of Terrorism

* Wired: Trump’s Policies Are Sending Precious Startup Jobs to Canada

* Slate: Emails Reveal Customs and Border Protection’s Lawlessness During Trump’s First Travel Ban

Source: Eric Goldman Legal

‘Blatant Sales Pitch’ on LinkedIn Likely Violates Non-solicitation Clause–Mobile Mini v. Vevea 0

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 9.36.39 AMThis is a noncompete dispute. Defendant Vevea worked for Mobile Mini. She signed an agreement with Mobile Mini restricting her post-employment activities. Specifically, she agreed:

  • not to work in the Portable Storage Business at a location within fifty miles of Mobile Mini’s Lino Lakes office for six months;
  • not to make any Portable Storage Business sales to [Mobile Mini] customers for nine months;
  • not to directly or indirectly solicit [Mobile Mini] customers . . . or make referrals for profit related to [Mobile Mini] customers . . . for twelve months;
  • not to poach current or former Mobile Mini employees with whom [she] interacted . . . for twelve months.

Following her departure, she started working for LSI, a logistics company. LSI and another company “Citi-Cargo” are owned by the same parent. Vevea posted the following to LinkedIn:

I’m excited to have joined the Citi-Cargo sales team! We lease and sell clean, safe, and solid storage containers and offices. . . We offer same day delivery to the Metro, and have consistent rental rates with true monthly billing. Give me a call today for a quote.

The post included photos of Citi-Cargo containers. She made a second post that stated:

Call me today for a storage container quote from the cleanest, newest, safest, and best container fleet in the State of Minnesota. Let’s connect! [phone number]

Mobile Mini sought a preliminary injunction. The court says there is a “relatively strong” likelihood that Mobile Mini will succeed on its claim that Vevea violated the non-solicitation provision. It says Vevea made two “blatant sales pitches” on LinkedIn on behalf of Citi-Cargo. Vevea argued her posts were “mere status updates” but the court disagrees, noting that the purpose of the posts was to “entice members of Vevea’s network to call her for the purpose of making sales”. The court says that the available information indicates that Vevea’s network includes at least one Mobile Mini customer.

The court also says that Vevea’s position on the duration of the noncompete (which differed from Mobile Mini’s position by several months) indicates there is a threat of continuing violations.

The court grants the request for injunctive relief in part. Mobile Mini sought to “restart” the noncompete and nonsolicitation clock. The court rejects this request. However, the court orders Vevea to remove the LinkedIn posts in question and cease any such future posts within the limitations period. The court says this restrictions extends to other social media sites where Vevea may have friends who are Mobile Mini customers. The court does permit Vevea to post “status updates”. The court also enjoins Vevea from violating other parts of her noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreement.


Kudos to Vevea for cracking the LinkedIn code! Many professionals continue to wonder about the purpose of that site, but the defendant in this case has no such questions.

We’ve blogged one LinkedIn non-solicitation case before. There, a company agreed to a non-solicitation clause and the court said that a general job posting did not violate this clause. (See “Job Posting to LinkedIn Group Doesn’t Violate Non-Solicitation Clause — Enhanced Network Solutions v. Hypersonic Technologies.”) This is the first case I’ve come across tackling this issue from an employee standpoint. The court draws a link between sales pitches and status updates. Perhaps the posts in question were over the line enough that this distinction works in this case, but I suspect future cases may be tougher.

The court does end up taking a pretty expansive view of what constitutes a sales pitch made to a customer in violation of a non-solicitation clause. Presumably, the defendant could have posted an advertisement that encouraged individuals to call her without running afoul of the restriction. Perhaps she could have distributed leaflets. But a post on LinkedIn crosses the line, due the the existence of a single customer (who may not have even seen the post in question).

Case citation: Mobile Mini v. Vevea, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116235 (D. Minn. July 25, 2017)

Related posts:

Job Posting to LinkedIn Group Doesn’t Violate Non-Solicitation Clause — Enhanced Network Solutions v. Hypersonic Technologies

Source: Eric Goldman Legal

Section 230 Helps VRBO Defeat Claim Over Fraudulent Listing–Hiam v. Homeaway 0

[It’s impossible to blog on Section 230 rulings right now without acknowledging that Section 230 is facing its most serious threat to date. I doubt the bills would change the result in this ruling, but the bills would so radically reshape the Internet ecosystem that it’s not clear how a company like VRBO would operate in the future. After all, sex traffickers have used short-term rentals as prostitution dens. In light of that, how would Airbnb and VRBO change their behavior to reduce their potential liability for sex trafficking pursuant to the proposed bills? Heck if I know, and I doubt Congress knows either.]

This case involves a property called the “Jewels of Belize Estate.” The complaint says a VRBO (operated by Homeaway) listing advertised it as a Belize luxury resort for 14 people, including a chef and transportation in Belize, for over $45k a week. In response, two potential customers wired large sums of money (a week’s rental) as rental deposits. The rentals never materialized. The customers sued VRBO for the allegedly fraudulent listing. VRBO invoked Section 230 and other defenses.

The plaintiffs claimed VRBO qualified as a “seller of travel services,” which would subject it to heightened regulation. The court disagrees: “HomeAway merely provides a venue for others to sell or provide lodging, but does not provide the actual facility where people can ‘lodge.’” See the uncited SF Housing Rights Committee v. Homeaway ruling. Further, if VRBO did constitute a seller of travel services, Section 230 would apply: “To hold HomeAway liable for misleading or inaccurate material (e.g., images from another property listing appearing on a different HomeAway website being duplicated on the Jewels of Belize rental account) in the third party created Jewels of Belize listing contravenes Section 230 of the CDA.”

To get around Section 230, the plaintiffs invoked VRBO’s “Basic Rental Guarantee,” which provides reimbursement for certain types of fraud (but doesn’t cover direct wire transfers like those at issue here). VRBO denied the reimbursement claim, concluding that the listing came from an authorized property owner and the property actually existed (but apparently had serious problems). The court says VRBO did what it promised to do in the “guarantee.” The fact VRBO used the term “guarantee” (a term I wouldn’t have chosen personally) didn’t convert the reimbursement promise into something more.

As another workaround to Section 230, the plaintiffs argued a “concert of action” theory (basically, that VRBO was in cahoots with the property lister). The court says VRBO’s “concert of action” was publishing the third party listing, even if VRBO “expressly adopted” the listing, so Section 230 applies. This reminded me of the Fields v. Twitter case, plus the old Doe v. MySpace case.

This case adds to the canon of cases where Section 230 has helped platforms and marketplaces avoid liability for fraudulent activity, such as the GiveForward v. Hodges case, which held that a crowdsourcing platform wasn’t liable for a fraudulent listing. Despite Section 230’s immunity, platforms routinely take on additional efforts to increase their customers’ trust, including VRBO’s “guarantee” (though it remains unclear to me how much that guarantee is worth). I’d be surprised if this case didn’t spur VRBO to think even more carefully about what it does to protect its customers from big-ticket losses like this one.

Case citation: Hiam v. Homeaway, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117850 (D. Mass. July 27, 2017). The complaint.

Source: Eric Goldman Legal