It was, of course, inevitable.
Levinson Axelrod, the target of the “Levinson Axelrod Sucks” Web site sued the site’s author, ex-associate Edward Heyburn, alleging violations of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, trademark, unfair competition and breach of the duty of loyalty.
Levinson filed the complaint in New Jersey state court, but Heyburn immediately removed it to federal court; the firm is seeking a temporary injunction. The New Jersey Law Journal has full coverage of the suit.
Heyburn expected this to happen; he told us earlier this month that he knew the firm would come after him, but was not inclined to take the site down. “[Lawyers] sit by and encourage others to press the boundaries of free speech but are reluctant to do so ourselves. I chose my words carefully,” he said.
The site is now called “Levinson Axelrod Really Sucks,” though the URL is still levinsonaxelrod.net. According to the NJLJ, Heyburn sent the firm’s lawyer a letter calling the suit a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) and demanding the firm withdraw it.
The controversy has definitely put the web site in the (relative) spotlight; after having 1,700 unique visitors in all of October, Heyburn told the NJLJ, he had 11,000 visitors by November 6. The site currently reports 103,000 page views since October 29.
We would say this is going to get ugly, but it’s really pretty ugly already.
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