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Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




The Flame War That Became A Lawsuit

from the amazing dept

Salon has an article about an online flame war that got out of hand. It started out on a mailing list for people interested in aquatic plants. One member of the list wrote an email about a bad experience he had with PetsWarehouse.com. Something of a flame war erupted, and the owner of PetsWarehouse, instead of admitting that a mistake was made, decided to just sue everyone involved for over $20 million. As ridiculous and frivolous as this sounds, the group of people being sued then tried to raise a "defense fund" to pay for legal fees. So, the guy from PetsWarehouse started suing more people - anyone involved with the fund, or even anyone who linked to a page about the lawsuit. Unfortunately, because of the money involved, a number of the list members agreed to settle the case. Isn't it great that we live in a world where instead of responding to customer complaints in a reasonable manner, we sue them? This is the exact opposite of what a company like Shell is doing with their website, where they encourage people to complain so that they can respond properly. Maybe Mr. Novak from PetsWarehouse should take a look at what Shell has done. I wonder if I'll get sued for suggesting that.

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