We are being sued for refusing to takedown a website.

In May, 2014 we were contacted by Andy Lehrer who requested that we takedown the website causepimps.ca because he claimed the page http://causepimps.ca/andy-lehrer/top.html contained defamatory material (queue Streisand-effect in 3-2-1…go!)

We reviewed the website to see if there were any material violations of our Terms of Service and concluded that this seemed to be some kind of opinion, editorial, whistleblower or perhaps a post-modern collage of experimental prose. As far as we’re concerned, people are free to put any stream of consciousness they want online, and everybody else is free to refute (or ignore) it.

We communicated to Mr. Lehrer that we would require a court order to take the website down and turned the complaint over to our lawyers for future reference.

Today we were served with a lawsuit naming us as a co-defendant in an action against the website owner and seeking damages of $25,000.

The website owner, we noticed, has the following disclaimer on his home page:

Notice

The contents of these web pages are the work of the web site’s owner. They are no responsibility of the web hoster. If you have a problem with anything in here, you deal with the web owner at [email redacted]

We will obviously defend against this. It would set a bad precedent for the entire industry if web hosts were on the hook every time somebody feels aggrieved by something written about them.

Further Reading

7 thoughts on “We are being sued for refusing to takedown a website.”

  1. Zeke Twohinky says:

    Free advice: making a public comment on a live civil action, particularly when it includes your opinion upon the intelligence of a party to that action, is usually not a great idea.

    There are many reasons for that advice, but one of them is that you may find yourself facing an amended statement of claim that now includes your newly published words as additional grounds in the cause. It is not inconceivable that you could end up spending more money and effort dealing with the consequence of your comments than the original claim.

    Quoting the website in question may also be less than ideal, because it might tend demonstrate an awareness of content that could diminish your ability to avail yourself of the common-carrier defence.

    If you really cannot restrain yourselves, it may be possible to work out some of your frustrations by publishing the originating process without comment, once that document has been properly filed with the court and is a matter of public record, so that the reader may form his own conclusions about the matter.

    The ideal, however, would be silence until the matter has been resolved.

    In any event, you may at this point want to familiarize yourself with the Sub Judice rule in Canadian law.

  2. John Byrne says:

    Hi, if you haven't already heard of Ken White at Popehat, I'd highly recommend you look up his blog and drop him a line. He writes a lot about cases like yours and frequently helps people who are being bullied by censorious thugs by finding great free speech lawyers etc. I bet he would be interested to hear from you! Good luck with your case, and thanks for not giving in!

  3. Kevin Pacheco says:

    "Takedown" is not a verb. Please learn how to write in English.

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