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  1. #1
    NotAFraud is offline Junior Member
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    Class Action Defamation Suit

    Texas Lampwork Artist on Defamation Rampage against ALL of her competitors. Claiming Fraud via blogsite [url=http://www.handmadeartisanfraud.blogspot.com/]Online Fraud investigation[/url]. She is out of control and been suspended from a number of her online accounts for malicious and defamatory behavior. She is also calling Local, State and Federal agencies on all of the competitors on her list. A whole community of lampwork artists are doing what they can to fight, but blogger.com will not take action and stop her maniacal rantings. Terms of service state that they will not mediate accusations of defamation, and will not take action without a court order.
    What do I need to do to get a court order to have her blog closed?
    There are many victims of this libel who are interested in the answer to this question.What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Are you in Texas? If not, what state do you live in?
  3. #3
    NotAFraud is offline Junior Member
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    I live in North Carolina, but a few of the artists being libeled are in Texas. They are as much able to take action as I am.
  4. #4
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    I reviewed the blogspot and I have another question.

    Are the artisans this "Artisan Fraud Watch" blogger is posting about working without state sales tax permits? In other words, is what the blog saying about these targeted artisans true and supportable by public record?
  5. #5
    NotAFraud is offline Junior Member
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    Cool

    I think this blogger is very careful about what she is posting in the fact that, she is really contacting all of the agencies she needs to in order to make sure she is not making any false claims, with the exception of the label "Fraud"(and maybe "tax evader"). Not all of the artists are accused of not having a state tax ID. Some are Accused of not having a state tax Id in "Their name", even though it is related to their business. I don't believe her understanding of the term "FRAUD" is accurate. ________ even if all of the claims she was making in her blog were true (which completely, they are not), would what she is claiming constitute "FRAUD". (sorry for the bold and quotes so much, It's a habit I picked up from checking her blog so often). The guise of her blog is that she is a concerned citizen, looking out for the government, but if that were the case, why only target businesses that are competitors? Is there something about THAT conotation that could make her claims unlawful? There IS a motive for revenge, which can be proven, but most of her targets are not responsible for creating this rage. There is ample evidence that a number of artists have gathered, that show malicious intent. I guess that would take it beyond defamation, but to what, I don't know. The claims of "FRAUD" that she is tagging people with in my belief are what constitutes defamation. If I am wrong please help.
    me out.
  6. #6
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    There are several types of fraud. The legal definition is (1) a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment, (2) a misrepresentation made recklessly without belief in its truth to induce another person to act, (3) a tort arising from a knowing misrepresentation, concealment of a material fact, or a reckless misrepresentation made to induce another to act to his or her detriment, (4) unconscionable dealing.

    Civil tax fraud is an intentional evasion of taxes (for example, not paying state sales tax). Criminal tax fraud is a willful evasion of taxes (for example, not reporting taxable income on a tax return).

    Unless the blogger knows for a fact that sales tax is not being paid or income is not being reported by the artisans, her use of the word "fraud" to describe an artisan without a sales tax permit could be defamatory. She is implying tax evasion based only on her knowledge of permits applied for and obtained.

    Fraud also involves misrepresenting or concealing a fact that will induce someone to act to their detriment. The fact that someone does or does not have a sales tax permit is not exactly an inducement to purchase a product. This fact is not material to the purchase, and purchasing a product from a seller who does not have a tax permit is not detrimental to the purchaser.

    So, you and your artisan friends could potentially have a defamation action worth pursuing, if what the blogger is saying is false. If an artisan can be shown to have not paid taxes, however, or if the blogger can in any way prove what she has posted, those artisans may want to rethink bringing an action against the blogger.

    One or more of you could go to court with evidence of the defamatory content on the blog and request that the judge issue an order to Google to have the material removed and/or access to the blog disabled. In addition, you could have the court subpoena Google for the identity of the blogger (if it is not already known), so that you can proceed with a defamation action against this identified person.

    Often courts will not issue orders or subpoenas unless or until a lawsuit is filed (an anonymous poster would be "John Doe" for the purposes of the suit), so you may want to consult with an attorney prior to going to court. The attorney can review the blog postings and the information from each of the defamed artisans and give all of you a better idea of what can be expected from a suit (jurisdiction-wise, defense-wise, win-wise, expense-wise).

    Defamation actions are expensive, especially when more than one state is involved. Internet actions can be especially difficult. Serving Google, alone, will be an undertaking that can get costly unless one of the artisans and the attorney who is hired reside in Santa Clara County, California (home of Google and the place where court orders and subpoenas should be served).

    Good luck.
  7. #7
    Alex23 is offline Member
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    OK, that blog is a little bit repetitive. Someone really cares about her taxes! Maybe she'll go after the drug dealers, next.
  8. #8
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    The website does seem to be a colossal waste of time - and a magnet for defamation lawsuits.

    The repeated "When someone sells online without a registered [name of state] sales tax permit, we are sure that this seller is a FRAUD and a TAX EVADER" and "...we are suspicious whether or not she is collecting sales tax from residents or not, and if she is filing ALL her online/offline business seller's income to IRS" certainly imply guilt and are defamatory statements if they cannot be proved true.

    If the creator of the site stuck to just saying that certain sellers do not have permits (if this was true), she/he would have a defense.

    The website owner would be smarter to just contact the taxing authorities privately, if her only concern is to report potential fraud. Her crusade seems a bit bizarre and could very well be designed, as NotaFraud suggests, to eliminate competition.
  9. #9
    NotAFraud is offline Junior Member
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    Cool

    With advice from local attorney and attorney in TX, quincy, you were right. After ten minutes of discussion with the TX attorney, he gave a ballpark cost for a class action defamation case. $20,000. The multiple state thing makes it very complicated. There is no doubt about who this disgruntled person is and it can be proven with data collected from the many number of online forums that this person has accounts with, but most people are being very cautious about calling them out because they want in on a suit against her (oops did I say HER. well that narrows the field by half). Let me narrow it even more ___ [url=http://consumerist.com/5323799/etsy-fraudster-goes-after-beadmakers-who-got-her-banned]Crazy: Etsy Fraudster Goes After Beadmakers Who Got Her Banned[/url]

    We (by WE meaning, the honest hardworking lampwork artisan community, who many by the way are hobbiests, and depending on local state laws are allowed a certain amount of sales without being required to register a tax ID.) believe that this person is a narcissist (Is that defamatory?) who doesn't care whether or not the government gets their taxes. She (oops I did it again) doesn't even care that everyone abide by the rules. Her only concern is that these artists' names, when googled, bring shame upon them like it does her (I mean Theirs). She has left a sloppy trail of evidence (saved on hard drives all over the country, by people just screaming to share it.)

    $20,000 is a lot of dough, but it would be worth it to eventually see it paid by the defendant.

    I can't thank you enough for your advice and comments. We're all still working on solutions (No one came forward and said "20 G's? is that all? Let me write you a check."), so we're doing what we can. I'll update again with more when there are discoveries.
  10. #10
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    At the rate the blogger seems to be going in creating "scofflaws" out of artisans, you may have 20,000 plaintiffs for a defamation action before too long (which would make the $20,000 easier to handle ).

    You could potentially have the attorney draft a cease-and-desist letter to the blogger, demanding that she take down the website and cease making additional defamatory statements, or legal action will be pursued against her. The cease and desist would be a lot less than $20,000 and it could be effective in at least getting the website deleted.

    Do keep me updated on what happens. Good luck.


    p.s. - Calling the blogger a "narcissist" would be opinion and not defamation. I DO advise that you and your artisan friends watch what you say about the blogger, however, to avoid potentially defaming her as she has defamed you.
    Last edited by quincy; 07-31-2009 at 09:03 PM.

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