FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrew Gordon, Esq. (847) 580-1279 firstname.lastname@example.org
DOTAuthority.com and Affiliates Move to File Counterclaim Against the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) for Defamation and Tortious Interference
March 21, 2017 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Corporate Plaintiffs DOTAuthority.com, Inc., DOTfilings.com, Inc., Excelsior Enterprises International, Inc., and JPL Enterprises International, Inc. and Individual Plaintiffs James P. Lamb, and Uliana Bogash (collectively, the “Plaintiffs”) announced today that they have moved the court for leave to file a counterclaim against the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) alleging defamation and tortious interference (CIVIL ACTION NUMBER: 0:16-cv-62186-WJZ) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
According to court documents filed on Monday, March 20, 2017, the Plaintiffs have moved to file an action for declaratory and injunctive relief against the FTC to correct press releases, blog posts, scam alert listings, and public comments by the FTC and/or its designated representatives, that are alleged to have severally injured the reputation and revenue of the Individual and Corporate Plaintiffs. The Counterclaim also asserts a cause of action for the FTC’s tortious interference with Corporate Plaintiffs’ business relationships.
This suit arises from the FTC’s original September 2016 allegations that DOTAuthority.com and its affiliates were engaging in deceptive online advertising practices in violation of Section 5(a), of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTC Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 45(a) and Section 4 of the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (“ROSCA”), 15 U.S.C. § 8403. DOTAuthority.com is a fifteen year old motor carrier registration business that helps interstate commercial carriers remain compliant with the slew of complex and rapidly-changing State and Federal regulations. Despite pre-existing disclaimers on DOTAuthority.com’s marketing materials, websites, and shopping carts that stated the company is a third party and “not the Department of Transportation,” the FTC has alleged that DOTAuthority.com engaged in deceptive businesses practices by misleading consumers into believing DOTAuthority.com was affiliated with a governmental entity.
On September 15, 2016, the FTC obtained an ex parte temporary restraining order without DOTAuthority.com’s knowledge, freezing the personal and business assets of DOTAuthority.com and its owner James Lamb, and imposing a court-appointed receiver to wrest control of the business away from Lamb during the pendency of the proceedings. DOTAuthority.com and Lamb were thus placed in the position of having to defend themselves without access to any funds for legal fees or business records – records and funds that were necessary to mount a legal defense at the subsequent hearing.
Two weeks later, on September 29, 2016, the Federal court took witness testimony from Lamb and heard arguments from DOTAuthority.com’s counsel, all of which highlighted the facts that: (i) the FTC’s ex parte request for an asset freeze and receivership was improvident; (ii) the FTC acted inappropriately by implying that exigent circumstances existed when, in fact, no emergency ever existed; and (iii) DOTAuthority.com was an established, bona fide business that was both legitimate and helpful to hundreds of thousands of customers nationwide who relied on DOTAuthority.com for their interstate common carrier registrations and annual permits.
DOTAuthority.com prevailed at the hearing, and the asset freeze and receivership were immediately lifted by the Federal Judge. A greatly modified preliminary injunction still issued; however, the restrictions of the injunction were entirely acceptable to DOTAuthority.com and, in fact, were previously offered to the FTC by DOTAuthority.com prior to the evidentiary hearing.
In specific, DOTAuthority.com’s March 20, 2017 Counterclaim against the FTC alleges that the FTC engaged in a “twisted campaign to damage the [Plaintiffs’] business and personal reputations . . . .” See Counterclaim at 3. The Counterclaim further asserts that several of the FTC publications at issue falsely characterized Plaintiffs as “scammers” and “crooks,” and inappropriately opine on Plaintiffs’ culpability in the absence of a final judgment.
According to one of the members of DOTAuthority.com’s legal team, Attorney Andrew Gordon:
“The FTC’s publications at issue in the Counterclaim collectively mischaracterize the substance of the September 29, 2016 Preliminary Injunction Order, causing proximate and irreparable injury to the Defendants’ reputations and revenues.”
The FTC is represented by attorneys Karen S. Hobbs, Danielle Estrada, Connell McNulty and Collot Guerard.
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