Peak Internet Dismisses Defamation Suit Against Former Customer Who Complained About Its Lousy Connection Speeds

from the streisanded-at-more-than-20-Mbps dept

Well, that didn't take long. Within 24 hours of news spreading that Colorado's Peak Internet was suing one of its former customers for defamation, the lawsuit is being dismissed. News of the lawsuit's dismissal had begun to filter back earlier in the day -- first with an update to former customer (and former defendant) Russell Petrick's website and an email to Techdirt saying the case had been dropped.

I contacted Ryan Klein of Sherman & Howard LLC (the lawyer who filed the suit on behalf of Peak Internet) and received confirmation a few hours later.

Over at Popehat, Ken White has also received confirmation, along with the additional fact that the ISP is dismissing the case with prejudice. This prevents it from reviving its defamation claims against Petrick once it thinks no one's paying attention.

This is the effect Peak Internet failed to consider when it took steps to shut down a critical former customer. Almost immediately after Ken White's post went up, Peak Internet's Facebook page administrator began deleting critical comments, before ultimately shutting down the page completely. (White also noted a "flurry" of Colorado-based hits to his website almost immediately after the post went live.) It also apparently took to Yelp to post glowing 5-star reviews in an attempt to drown out complaints about the ISP's tactics.

Adding Techdirt's coverage to the mix obviously didn't help Peak's ad hoc Bury Brigade. Carl, the tipster who sent this story to Popehat also sent it our way, along with the unchanged salutation of "Ken." This led to Ken White threatening me over email theft


... at which point, I stole his tagline, name and famous headgear.




A good time was had by all -- all who aren't Peak Internet's upper management. It turns out that the Internet generally has a pretty good bullshit detector when it comes to companies trying to silence legit criticism and will rally around those being targeted by censorious efforts. Petrick's complaints were sound and well-written and if Peak Internet didn't want to be portrayed as a company that will sell you a 20 Mbps connection but only deliver a third of that, then it needs to do more on its end to fix the problem, rather than try to stuff a poorly-thought-out lawsuit into a critic's mouth.

To be sure, ISPs can't control everything about their connection speed, but they need to do better than provide an average of 7 Mbps when someone's paying for 20 Mbps. And it needs to stop pointing people to the fine print that only guarantees a 4 Mbps connection. If that's the best Peak can do, it needs to sell lower speed connections at lower prices, not sue those who point it out.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Groaker (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 5:45pm

    Congratulations!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 6:39pm

    Now that you mention it, "Ken for A Day" should have been one of the premiums in the Techdirt/Beacon crowdfunding campaign.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Randomscrub, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 7:00pm

    I hate to break it to you, but that's not Ken's tagline. His tagline is clearly "snort my taint": http://www.popehat.com/2012/03/08/in-which-i-strongly-caution-the-tsa-to-snort-my-taint-and-probably -get-on-the-no-fly-list/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    vegetaman (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 7:10pm

    Somehow, this whole situation reminds me of a Monty Python Sketch (paraphrased).

    ISP: "But, you have a witches nose."
    Customer: "They put this on me."
    ISP: "No! No we didn't! Well... Yeah, we did do that. But she is still a witch!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Easily Amused (profile), Aug 1st, 2014 @ 9:18pm

    Re:

    Well it's sure as shit going to be MY tagline from now on...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2014 @ 11:52pm

    Oh, boy, Whatever's not going to like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 12:24am

    Release the ponies!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 4:17am

    Seems inappropriate to say he'll "gut you."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    renosablast (profile), Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 5:41am

    "Techdirt signal"

    "Techdirt signal", lol! Inquiring minds would like to know just how much firewood a Tauntaun can hold?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    sorrykb (profile), Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 8:36am

    Re: "Techdirt signal"

    Less that 12 parsecs?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Sheogorath (profile), Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 11:50am

    Within 24 hours of news spreading that Colorado's Peak Internet was suing one of its former customers for defamation, the lawsuit is being dismissed.

    Maybe because of what I pointed out in response to this article.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 2:02pm

    Tony sez: "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 2:10pm

    Well, it might have been Fred that said that, but I don't think so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Aug 2nd, 2014 @ 10:33pm

    I can see it now...

    ISP lawyers: We're suing your client for defamation, unless you want things to get real ugly, I suggest you tell him to remove all of his comments and retract his statements.

    Defense lawyer: You realize that truth is an absolute defense to defamation claims, right? All he has to do is provide evidence to back up his statements and your defamation claim will be thrown out the window. And, just a reminder, he has that evidence, and would have no problem presenting it, in court, where everyone watching the case will be able to see it.

    ISP lawyers: ... we'll get back with you later, once we've informed our client of this new development.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2014 @ 11:02am

    If all they guarantee is a 4 Mbps connection then that's what you should be paying for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), Aug 3rd, 2014 @ 9:51pm

    Re: "Techdirt signal"

    How much wood would a Tauntaun chuck if a Tauntaun could chuck wood?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Aug 4th, 2014 @ 3:57am

    Re:

    Just wait till the other Tim suggests one of the lower perks should be participating in a mankini photo session with him...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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