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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: jennifer choi, paul levy, robert lewis
Companies: toyomotors, yelp


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    madasahatter (profile), 16 May 2014 @ 9:08am

    Bar threat

    As I understand the case, Mr. Levy is doing some initial leg work on behalf of the defendant. This is something anyone can do though it helps to be an attorney. As long as a local lawyer handles the official duties of a lawyer threats against Mr. Levy are idiotic. Also, Mr. Levy may be able to apply for a one-off permission to act on behalf of the dependant in this case; you would need to check the rules in Arizona.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.