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

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  1. identicon
    W. Hossfeld III, 1 Jul 2014 @ 10:43am


    "The statute of limitations for defamation claims in Arizona, as in most states, is one year... Arizona, like most states, has adopted the single publication rule," under which tort claims about publications cannot be brought over repeated publications of the same words by a single defendant; instead only one suit can be brought, and the time to sue begins at the original time of publication. The complaint also alleges defamation claims over several additional negative reviews, posted by Tom Bradford, Julie Skingly, and others, making complaints similar to Chois; one such complaint was posted in 2010, but most were in 2013, hence within the limitations period.

    Without having all of the information in this case, we officially cannot judge whether or not the alias reviews were posted by Jennifer Choi or not. Perhaps plaintiff counsel has proof connecting the dots, I do not know. After careful review I was unable to find all of the aliases listed, possibly because the sites or the user has removed them. However with the ones I did find, I would say the nearly verbatim story coupled with similar grammatical errors are very suspicious at the very least. I also found it interested that the alias review listed on Yelp was not placed in the removed file as is customary, but was completely deleted, I have never seen this before, suspicious again.

    With this article Mr. Levy is painted as the Great White Night with a "glowing profile" and with the title of "the Web Bully's Worst Enemy." It appears as though he is in fact actually helping plaintiff counsel by completely nullifying the alleged deficiency and REPUBLISHING Jennifer Choi's story in this article!

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