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Woman Wins Libel Suit By Suing Wrong Website 323

Posted by samzenpus
from the close-enough dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It appears that Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones and her lawyer were so upset by a comment on the site TheDirty.com that they missed the 'y' at the end of the name. Instead, they sued the owner of TheDirt.com, whose owner didn't respond to the lawsuit. The end result was a judge awarding $11 million, in part because of the failure to respond. Now, both the owners of TheDirty.com and TheDirt.com are complaining that they're being wrongfully written about in the press — one for not having had any content about Sarah Jones but being told it needs to pay $11 million, and the other for having the content and having the press say it lost a lawsuit, even though no lawsuit was ever actually filed against it."
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Woman Wins Libel Suit By Suing Wrong Website

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  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Thursday September 02, 2010 @09:38AM (#33448922) Journal

    Maybe TheDirt.com should sue Sarah Jones for libel for making false and damaging defamatory statements about them to the courts and to the press.

    • by metalmaster (1005171) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @09:45AM (#33449036)
      It says the reward was, in part, because the owner failed to respond(no showing a court date is bad) so its not really a case for libel.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2010 @09:54AM (#33449236)

        Well, thedirt.com may never have received the complaint if it was delivered to the address for thedirty.com

        They definitely have a lot of room to appeal this.

        • by tophermeyer (1573841) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:05AM (#33449470)

          True, it will probably be really easy to appeal.

          But they shouldn't have to. This is an area of out Justice system that sucks. Even though it's an easy win, they still have to pay a lawyer to go into court. Hopefully they will get their expenses reimbursed by the crack legal team that misspelled the word "Dirty".

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Jezza (39441)

            Can't someone (everyone) sue the lawyers who make this schoolboy error?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Nematode (197503)

              At this point, probably not.

              The better, and more efficient solution, would have been not to ignore the original mistaken lawsuit. Either call the plaintiff's attorney and get him to voluntarily dismiss out, or if that doesn't work, file a quick motion to dismiss and ask for sanctions to be imposed, on the grounds that the plaintiff and/or her lawyer signed an improper pleading, because they didn't get this simple, basic fact right and could have easily done so.

              The worst response is to ignore the suit and t

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by frinkster (149158)

              Can't someone (everyone) sue the lawyers who make this schoolboy error?

              Yes. Well, you don't normally sue, you ask the court for sanctions against the lawyers.

              This happens more frequently than you may expect, and is part of the reason why malpractice insurance is very expensive.

        • by coryking (104614) * on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:23AM (#33449840) Homepage Journal

          Except you don't get court summons delivered by email, facebook, or Twitter. You get them via certified letter, in person, or some other means that is easy to audit.

          Either the summons went to the wrong mail address (Whois for thedirty.com) or it went to the right address and right defendant. It sounds like it went to the wrong name & address.

          Once this gets overturned and they presumably go after the correct party, I susped the plaintiff will have a hard time explaining why she didn't notice the mistake. The lawyer would have at least gone to the website with her in person. If she cared that much about some nasty comment in a website, you think she would notice that the lawyer was on the wrong site, wouldn't you?

          My bet is this fuck up will cost her the real case. If you are pissed about some website, you don't exactly forget what the website looked like!

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            "Except you don't get court summons delivered by email, facebook, or Twitter. You get them via certified letter, in person, or some other means that is easy to audit."

            Not necessarily. It can come by regular mail.

            Been there, done that.

            A/C

    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      And TheDirty.com could feasabley do the same since it was not sued and has been defamed from everyone saying they were.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by iamhassi (659463)
      then she can sue her lawyer for not realizing he was suing the wrong company
    • This week for me! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:07AM (#33449502)

      Similar thing happened to me this week.

      One of my websites got an 8 page letter from a large law firm in DC (http://www.Venable.com) on behalf of Verizon. Had all kinds of BS in it. All kinds of threats, examples, quotations from the CEO and gave 7 days to respond. The only problem was that there was supposed to be an S on the end of the domain name. They interchanged example.com and examples.com all through 8 pages apparently not knowing that there was a difference. I pointed it out and they said:
      "Our researchers had reason to believe that your company was the one that had published the referred to in my letter. I take it from your response that this is not the case; my apologies for the unintentional confusion. "

      My response was, "If you are going to sign your name to something, you better review who is doing the research for you" and included the relevant WHOIS info. If they had done a simple WHOIS lookup they would have found the correct company and then could have looked up the correct business address. I cc'd a bunch of the partners because dumb-asses like that need to be reined in.

      It must happen all the time, and it is unbelievable that no one noticed the problem. The attorneys should be embarrassed and the Judge/Clerks/Court should be even more embarrassed to have awarded a default judgement against the wrong company.

      And IAAL. Stupid.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:20AM (#33449774)

        One of the great things about being a Judge is never having to be embarrassed by any mistake you make, because you don't make mistakes.

      • by nomadic (141991)
        Yeah, that was a bit dumb, and it's especially funny considering Venable is supposed to be one of the elite. I'm not sure what the judge/clerk in this case should have done, though; it's not their job to go through the website trying to find the defamatory statement (especially since even if they didn't find it, they'd assume it had just been taken down).
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by timeOday (582209)

      Maybe TheDirt.com should sue Sarah Jones for libel for making false and damaging defamatory statements about them to the courts and to the press.

      By analogy, shouldn't they be suing one Sariah Jones? Or Sarah Jonhannes?

    • by shentino (1139071)

      They lost that privilege when they implied liability through their failure to respond to the lawsuit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dan541 (1032000)

      Do forget to pursue contempt of court.I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to con the courts into awarding you judgements like that.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday September 02, 2010 @09:38AM (#33448932)
    It's not her fault. She got the lawyer to do her homework for her.
  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @09:41AM (#33448974)
    I'm gonna sue slashdork!
  • Too bad we can't register justicey.gov and repost the libel and slander...

  • The stupid...it hurts me!

  • "Justice" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This has to be the best evidence that I have seen that our "Justice" system is broken. Did the judge not even bother looking at the evidence? And what were they thinking proceeding with a verdict without the defendant having a voice in the proceedings? It sounds like both the court and the suing attorneys completely ignored their due diligence duties and I hope they hang (financially & professionally) for it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mr_mischief (456295)

      The defendant had a voice. They were summoned to court and refused to show up. They could have just sent a motion to dismiss with prejudice since they weren't the right defendant. They could have even just called her lawyer and said, "Look, we never wrote anything about your client, so we could not have slandered or libeled her. You have the wrong site." Then the lawyer could have done his diligence and filed against the proper party.

      • Re:"Justice" (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:34AM (#33450046)

        Maybe it was an error in judgment, but is it an $11 million error? That's sick.

        What's even sicker is the legal wonks sitting around scratching their goatees and blathering "Well, teh laws am teh laws." This is a horrific result.

        Then the lawyer could have done his diligence and filed against the proper party.

        How about the lawyer do his due diligence BEFORE all this happens? You people... seriously... there needs to be more crotches punched in this world. You're all sleepwalking zombies.

        • Re:"Justice" (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mr_mischief (456295) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:42AM (#33450242) Journal

          You're right. He should have filed against the proper party in the first place. He was acting on the faulty recollection, likely enough, of his client. He still should have double-checked who the proper party was.

          The company that got served would have had the plaintiff's lawyer's contact information and contact information for the court. They could have sent affidavits to both for a few dollars for the notary (if they don't employ anyone who is a notary) and a few dollars for certified postage that they had never written anything about the plaintiff and that they were not the proper party to sue. If the judge still ordered them to appear, they could have spent a few hours on local representation for someone to show up and argue for dismissal against the wrong defendant and naming of the proper defendant, then easily been reimbursed for that attorney's fees.

          You do realize that this happens often enough -- that the wrong person or company gets served -- that there are established court procedures for dealing with it?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dishevel (1105119)

            You do realize that this happens often enough -- that the wrong person or company gets served -- that there are established court procedures for dealing with it?

            All of them requiring time, money and effort on the part of those who did no wrong. Ignoring something like this IS the right thing to do. The problem is the fucked up laws do not see it that way.

        • by Abstrackt (609015)

          Then the lawyer could have done his diligence and filed against the proper party.

          How about the lawyer do his due diligence BEFORE all this happens? You people... seriously... there needs to be more crotches punched in this world. You're all sleepwalking zombies.

          Of course the lawyer should have done his due diligence before it happened, but he didn't. Anyone can sue anyone for anything and sometimes hilariously stupid mistakes get made. If you get someone else's lawsuit delivered to your door it's a pretty good idea to correct it.

          • by Abstrackt (609015)

            On the other hand, after reading the article linked in the article linked by Slashdot...

            The next day, Bertelsman ruled against Dirty World Entertainment Recordings. Kentucky attorney Eric Deters, who is representing Jones, said it was irrelevant that the incorrect corporation, website and physical address were listed on the complaint and judgment.

            “We’re still going to serve that S.O.B. personally,” Deters said of Richie. “I’m going to make that dirty, rotten, mean, vermin bastard pay. He’s a piece of dirt.”

            Her lawyer sounds like a hilariously stupid mistake.

        • by nomadic (141991)
          How about the lawyer do his due diligence BEFORE all this happens? You people... seriously... there needs to be more crotches punched in this world. You're all sleepwalking zombies.

          Yeah, yeah, we're all simpleminded sheep because we rely on the well-established court procedures for fixing the error that happened rather than following your advice and go around punching people who we disagree with. Truly your way will lead to a brighter tomorrow.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oji-sama (1151023)

        It's still broken, if you can sue a wrong party and win. You shouldn't need to worry about defending yourself (legally) from idiots.

        • You should honor the summons issued by the court. You should show up or answer it with a motion to dismiss or extend. If people just don't show up for court because they don't feel like it, then the courts don't work real well. Hence, default judgment exists.

          There's a good chance that if the judge doesn't fix this on his own after all the press that they can just send a single motion to the clerk of the court asking the judge to set aside the judgement and dismiss the case against them, even after the judgm

    • Re:"Justice" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by coryking (104614) * on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:14AM (#33449636) Homepage Journal

      If you get a court summons, you should not ignore it. Even if they sent it to the wrong guy (you), you could at least call the plaintiff and say "yeah, I got this summons, but I think you got the wrong website).

      If you just ignore the thing and hope it goes away, guess what... By not showing up in court the judge doesn't have to examine the evidence. They just assume since you didn't respond and didn't show up, you don't mind entering into a default judgement.

      It isn't a fucked up justice system... It is an idiot who ignored a court summons. Can he wiggle out of it? Yes. But now it will cost him a whole lot more time, money, and hassle than if he had just picked up the phone and said "WTF is this summons about?"

      • by Spad (470073)

        You're assuming that they sent the summons to the right idiot.

      • by AGMW (594303)

        If you get a court summons, you should not ignore it. Even if they sent it to the wrong guy (you), you could at least call the plaintiff and say "yeah, I got this summons, but I think you got the wrong website).

        Of course you could just turn up and defend the case yourself. She'd lose and presumably you'd be awarded costs + damages for defamation, etc.

        Sure hope she got this one on a no win no fee deal!

      • by horza (87255)

        So if somebody is not able or does not wish to turn up to defend themselves, then the judge doesn't have to examine the evidence before finding guilty and imposing punishment? Sorry but that IS messed up. And this case proves it. The points about frivolous lawsuits have been made in comments below.

        Phillip.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dishevel (1105119)
        You sir need to show up in court in Santa Ana, CA or send me a registered certified mailing stating that you are not in fact the corykings that owes me $450,000.00

        We know the legal system is fucked up. Just admit it.

        People who do no wrong should not be forced to jump through hoops for stupid fuckers. Ever.

  • this just in (Score:5, Informative)

    by uncanny (954868) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @09:57AM (#33449294)
    Sarah Jones beats her children and smokes crack in front of them while doing it. sue that
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Eh, the only thing saving your ass there, is that she likely won't see it. Otherwise, you're definitely liable for slander.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Shikaku (1129753)

        Libel.

        • Neither, probably.

          Unless you actually -believe- what he said/wrote, of course.
          But given the forum being Slashdot while the subject is most likely entirely unknown to the poster, you have no reason to; the poster has no good standing in these matters.

          The girl would have to seriously argue that, for example, a Google search for her name wold now come up with that sentence associated with it, she was in fact damaged by the statement (e.g. finding out a potential employer - a daycare center, perhaps - decided a

    • by headkase (533448)
      So does whoever modded you "informative" get to get sued too? Serious question!
  • Is that not a bit much, so much that most people/websites would just have to declare bankruptcy.
    How is that a fair judgment, simple because they did not respond to completely unfounded and false claims about themselves.
    and even if they did sue the right people, that is way to high.

    If you ask me it is the judge that should be fined, are they not supposed to have some minimum amount of evidence about the truth of a matter before they pass judgment.

    • by thijsh (910751)
      We all agree with you, sadly our lawyers do not... They often get a percentage after all.
      And somehow I have the idea that lawyers and judges went to the same school to study law...
    • by nomadic (141991)
      How is that a fair judgment, simple because they did not respond to completely unfounded and false claims about themselves.

      Any person or company should know, you don't just ignore someone who's suing you.

      f you ask me it is the judge that should be fined, are they not supposed to have some minimum amount of evidence about the truth of a matter before they pass judgment.

      Why do you think the judge should be allowed to just ignore the law that says, if a party refuses to defend itself in a lawsuit, th
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by XnavxeMiyyep (782119)

        Why do you think the judge should be allowed to just ignore the law that says, if a party refuses to defend itself in a lawsuit, they get a judgment against them? Do you think judges should just do what they want even if the law says differently?

        If that is a part of the law, it should be changed so the judge has to at least check to see if there's some minimal evidence against the defendant. I mean, if 100 people filed 100 made-up lawsuits against someone, shouldn't the judge(s) at least check to make sure if there's at least some basic evidence before forcing an innocent party to respond or be considered guilty by default if they don't respond to all of them?

        • by coryking (104614) *

          If 100 people filed 100 cases, yes either the judge or some government prosecutor would probably look into it. Why? Either homeboy is racking up cases because he is doing something fishy, or somebody is committing a crime by basically filling bogus lawsuits. In short, that kind of stuff is suspicious.

          In this case, nothing is suspicious. Case filed, summons delivered, no-show defendant... Next! No justice system on earth has the time to check the evidence. Plus it probably wouldn't be legal anyway. How

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          The trick is to file 100 lawsuits in 100 different courts, this makes it so that even appearing is impossible due to conflicting schedules and the cost of hiring 100 attorneys to show up and or fight for against default judgment if you missed one. Oh.... Sony did it first.

        • I agree, where is the innocent until proven guilty.
          it seems the court system is based around a system of "you are guilty until you prove that you are not".

        • by nomadic (141991)
          shouldn't the judge(s) at least check to make sure if there's at least some basic evidence before forcing an innocent party to respond or be considered guilty by default if they don't respond to all of them?

          The judge isn't even in the picture at that point; in a lawsuit someone files a complaint, serves it, then someone files an answer or some other kind of response. Neither of those things require the judge's attention, because nothing is being asked of them yet. And yes, if it was completely and utte
      • Granted I do not know any of the laws that govern courts.
        But if a suit against you is so ridiculous, such that any normal person could spend 1 minute of his time to figure out that is it false, then you should not have to even bother defending yourself.

        • by nomadic (141991)
          If a suit is that ridiculous, the judge probably won't grant judgment. Here, however, that wasn't the case. How is the judge supposed to immediately realize that where you have two gossip websites, the one the plaintiff said published the defamatory statements isn't the right one?
          • Well I would think paying attention to the name of the defendant would be a normal thing to do.

            and I would guess all the evidence given very obviously showed the it came from TheDirty.com and not TheDirt.com

    • Failure to appear for a civil action typically is taken as an admission of fault. The owners of the site that got summoned to court should have made it clear they weren't the right site, then they probably wouldn't have even made it to the court date as the defendant on record.

      • Which makes sense when their is actually a question of the guilt of the party.

        But when it should be obvious to everyone that the the absent party is innocent, I think this is an obviously flawed way to go about doing it.

  • Judge's career (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pmontra (738736) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:01AM (#33449372) Homepage
    Is this going to harm or benefit the career of the judge? And suing the wrong company shouldn't invalidate the judgment?
    • Re:Judge's career (Score:4, Informative)

      by mr_mischief (456295) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:30AM (#33449970) Journal

      IANAL, but what will probably happen is this: the $11 million will be set aside regarding this particular defendant, but since they never responded to the suit they'll pay the court costs and some few hundred dollars fine. Then the lawyer for the plaintiff will pay a small fine for filing an improper suit and will file a motion to replace the defendant with the proper defendant. Then the proper defendant will actually show up to court, and a civil trial will actually get under way. That is, if the court doesn't dismiss the case with prejudice for the lawyer being this sloppy in the first place.

      In Illinois and Missouri, it is necessary to argue by motion or oral argument at the court that improper defendants be dismissed and proper parties be named. A civil court isn't a criminal court. If you've been summoned to court as a defendant and don't show up, many judges will automatically give the plaintiff default judgement against the defendant. I imagine most other US states have similar rules of the court. In Illinois, a default judgement can be set aside if a successful motion is filed within 30 days of the judgement.

      AAMOF, if you fail to appear for a criminal proceeding as a defendant, you may get a bench warrant for your immediate arrest and even be charged (and maybe later found guilty) of an additional crime (FTA for criminal hearings and trials being an actual crime). I've seen judges just let people slide or just pay a small fine if they appear after a first FTA if the initial crime was a minor matter.

      e-zine article on FTA [ezinearticles.com]
      Illinois Pro Bono page on civil actions [illinoisprobono.org]

      I keep referring to Illinois because that's where I live and so it's the jurisdiction that most interests me and is most relevant to me. Your jurisdiction may be different. The jurisdiction for the lawsuit in question is definitely different.

      Consult a lawyer if you really need legal advice, but the company that got incorrectly served should be able to get out of the big judgment easily enough.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nomadic (141991)
      Is this going to harm or benefit the career of the judge?

      The weird thing about all the slashdot legal-system-hate is it always comes down to angry posters demanding not necessarily change, but that the actors who follow the system be punished.

      What exactly should the judge have done? He or she is told a certain website published a defamatory statement. How is the judge to know that it's the wrong shady gossip site?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:01AM (#33449380)

    Proof again that America no longer has a Justice system.
    What it does have instead, is merely a "Legal" system.

  • The law IS an ass.

    This sounds like a perfect opportunity for some lawyer to sue another lawyer.

    Bring this up again when the use the DMCA for something useful.

  • Default judgements (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fnkmaster (89084) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:05AM (#33449454)

    These default judgments for absurd amounts of money just show how broken our legal system is. If somebody doesn't show up to a court house for a lawsuit in the millions of dollars, it's probably because they weren't properly notified.

    In fact, looking at thedirt.com, there's a posting about it on top of the page. The person seems as baffled and confused as the rest of us. The site looks like a random Wordpress blog tracking celebrity gossip, almost certainly a one-person operation with no budget or staff. The address on file for the domain is that of DomainsByProxy, and notice was probably never delivered to the actual site owner.

    Did the judge ever consider that possibility before issuing an $11M default judgment against an individual? By simple inspection, one can see that Thedirt.com is very obviously not the product of a global mega-media-corporation with billions of dollars to sue for.

    Why would you ruin someone's life without forcing proper process-serving and making sure the person or a lawyer for them show up? The civil system in the US needs to be torn apart and started again from scratch, or merged into the criminal system like in (some?) European countries.

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "These default judgments for absurd amounts of money just show how broken our legal system is. If somebody doesn't show up to a court house for a lawsuit in the millions of dollars, it's probably because they weren't properly notified."

      Or maybe it's because the lawsuit was BS and they don't have any money?

      I can sue anyone in the country right now and they will be forced to either come to my local courthouse (even if they live in another state) or pay to send a lawyer to court. I know that sounds ridi
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by glrotate (300695)

        I can sue anyone in the country right now and they will be forced to either come to my local courthouse (even if they live in another state) or pay to send a lawyer to court.

        Incorrect. If the forum state does not have personal jurisdiction over the Defendant, the Defendant does not need to appear.

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:56AM (#33451810)

      These default judgments for absurd amounts of money just show how broken our legal system is. If somebody doesn't show up to a court house for a lawsuit in the millions of dollars, it's probably because they weren't properly notified.

      Improper notification is an allowable defense to get the judgment overturned. Normally before a judge renders a summary judgment, they ask whether the defendant was notified. Now if the plaintiff lies then they are in more trouble than an overturned verdict. Assuming that TheDirt.com was not properly notified, then a judge will hear the case again.

  • flaw (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shentino (1139071) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:39AM (#33450156)

    The whole thing about automatically losing any lawsuit you don't answer leaves open a big fat hole for you to get DDoS'ed by the legal system. Get enough summonses thrown at you and a few are bound to slip through the cracks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ultraexactzz (546422)
      There are legal processes for protecting against shenanigans like that - lawsuits intended solely to mire the defendant in paper would fall under vexatious litigation, I believe.

      Turn it around - someone with a ligitimate complaint would be unable to proceed with it if the defendant stuck his fingers in his ears and went "LA LA LA I can't HEAR YOU"... Default judgments mean that you can't just run away from a suit, you have to face it and deal with it.

      See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vexatious_li [wikipedia.org]
  • I bet nothing comes of this. There are no deep pockets anywhere.
  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:45AM (#33450310)

    Imagine Skynet's embarassment when the Terminator took out Sarah Jones.

  • by RJFerret (1279530) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:58AM (#33450642) Homepage

    Shortly after moving to where I live now, I received a letter claiming thousands in hospital bills. The problem, I'd never been hospitalized, nor even seen the hospital listed.

    In my case, I called the idiotic attorney's office.

    The stupid paralegal (IE, "intern") had obviously just done a name search and picked me as the closest geographically. Then she had the audacity to request I fax her my social security card! LOL As if I'd let such a slipshod operation have my info.

    So I'm not surprised at all, there's no way the woman would know the attorney pursued the wrong website. There's no way the court would know either, they can only deal with what information is brought to them.

    There's a reason I personally handle my legal matters when I can.

  • WHOIS information (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geek2k5 (882748) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:11AM (#33450892)

    If the court delivered the papers to the address in the WHOIS information, there might be a very good reason for 'TheDirt' to have NOT received them. The WHOIS address is a generic one that applies to thousands of people who don't want their home or business address accessible from WHOIS. It would be fairly easy for a summons to get lost in the mail if there is a lot of mail going through that address.

    You could also run into a problem of the summons NOT being delivered in time, especially if the owner of the domain is on vacation or had moved and failed to update their behind the scenes WHOIS information.

    What we need is more information about the delivery of the summons.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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