Bad Idea: Threatening Public Citizen's Paul Levy For Asking You About Your Bogus Defamation Lawsuit
from the just-saying dept
Paul Levy (disclaimer: has represented us in the past) over at Public Citizen has a blog post up concerning yet another questionable lawsuit from a company, in this case, ToyoMotors, against some people who wrote negative reviews on Yelp. These kinds of questionable lawsuits are all too common. As Levy notes, the main target of the lawsuit, Jennifer Choi, made statements that didn’t appear all that different from complaints from other consumer about ToyoMotors, and some of the statements that ToyoMotors claims are defamatory clearly would fall into protected statements of hyperbole. But all of that is kind of meaningless because of the major flaw in the lawsuit: the comments were made in 2009. The lawsuit was filed in 2013. The statute of limitations on defamation in Arizona is one year from publication. Do the math.
Even more ridiculous, is that when Paul Levy called up ToyoMotors’ lawyer, Robert Lewis, Lewis responded to Levy in a manner I would suggest is unwise.
I tried to ask ToyoMotors’ counsel, Robert Lewis, about the apparent flaws in his complaint, but when I got him on the telephone he started exclaiming loudly about how he might sue me for defamation (assuming that I might make false statements) or extortion (if my statements were accurate), and threatening to file a bar complaint against me (apparently, for unauthorized practice of law in Arizona). When I followed up with specific emailed questions, he was unwilling to explain why he has any sound basis for proceeding against Choi.
In general, this is probably not the best way to respond to a lawyer calling you up to ask some basic questions about a lawsuit you’ve filed. More specifically, it seems exceptionally preposterous to do that to Paul Levy, recently described in a glowing profile as “the web bully’s worst enemy.” Either way, Levy is looking for some lawyers in Arizona who might be interested in helping to defend Choi against ToyoMotors’ questionable lawsuit.