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Review Boost v. Doe - Response to Motion to Compel

Review Boost v. Doe - Response to Motion to Compel

Ratings: (0)|Views: 44|Likes:
Published by Ripoff Report
SEO provider Reviewboost.com is seeking to unmask the author of an anonymous complaint posted on www.RipoffReport.com that said the customer paid $500 for poor results. Ripoff Report is fighting to protect the user's right to remain anonymous.
SEO provider Reviewboost.com is seeking to unmask the author of an anonymous complaint posted on www.RipoffReport.com that said the customer paid $500 for poor results. Ripoff Report is fighting to protect the user's right to remain anonymous.

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Ripoff Report on Mar 12, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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RESPONSE TO MOTION TO COMPEL
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David S. Gingras, #021097
Gingras Law Office, PLLC
4025 E. Chandler Blvd., #70-A26Phoenix, AZ 85048Tel.: (480)264-1400Fax: (480) 248-3196David@Gingraslaw.comAttorney for non-partyXcentric Ventures, LLC
ARIZONA SUPERIOR COURTCOUNTY OF MARICOPA
INTRAVAS, INC, a California corporation,d.b.a. REVIEW BOOST,Plaintiff,vs.JOHN DOES 1-10; JANE DOES 1-10; ABCPARTNERSHIPS I-X; DEF LIMITEDLIABILITYCOMPANIES I-X; and XYZCORPORATIONSI-X,Defendants.Case No:CV2012-013872
NON-PARTYXCENTRICVENTURES, LLC’SRESPONSE TOPLAINTIFF’S MOTION TOCOMPEL(Assignedto Hon. Arthur Anderson)
 Non-party XCENTRIC VENTURES, LLC (“Xcentric”)respectfully submits thefollowing response to PlaintiffINTRAVAS, INC.’s (“Intravas” or “Plaintiff”)Motion toCompel. As explained herein,Plaintiff hasnot met the applicable standards for obtainingthe informationit is seeking.As such,the motion should be denied.
I.INTRODUCTION
The question before the court is simple—should Xcentric be ordered to disclosethe identity of a third party who posted a complaint about Plaintiff’s business onXcentric’s website? The facts relevant to that question are as follows.Xcentric owns andoperatesa website calledthe“Ripoff Report” located atwww.ripoffreport.com.As thename suggests, the siteallows consumers to post complaints and comments about businesses or individuals who they feel have wronged themin some manner.
Michael K Jeanes, Clerk of Court*** Electronically Filed ***Kelle Dyer3/8/2013 4:32:00 PMFiling ID 5150273
 
RESPONSE TO MOTION TO COMPEL
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Although the instant motion is virtually devoid of any discussion or explanation of Plaintiff’s business, it appears that Plaintiff is in the business of, among other things,helping companies to boost their “online reputation”. Accordingtoitswebsite(www.reviewboost.com) Plaintiff’s services appear to include interviewingor surveyingaclient’s customers and collecting their feedback, presumably for the purpose of inducingor encouragingthose customers to post favorable online reviews about the client’s business, thus helping to improve the client’s “online reputation”.On October 17, 2012, a third party posted an extremely short complaintonwww.ripoffreport.comdescribing the author’s dissatisfaction with Plaintiff’s services.Inits entirety, the complaint (a complete copy of which is included withinExhibit A toPlaintiff’s motion) reads as follows:Plaintiff claims this review isdefamatory and is causing “irreparable harm” to its business.Thereview is semi-anonymous (the complaint states that it was submitted by“Jimt” from Amarillo, Texas).Because “Jimt” is presumably a pseudonym, Plaintiffhasserved Xcentric with a subpoena asking it to produceinformation that would reveal thetrue identity of “Jimt”.As noted in Plaintiff’s motion, subpoenas of this type raise substantial FirstAmendment concerns. For that reason and because Xcentric has received hundreds of similar subpoenas, it has adopted a subpoena-processing protocolwhich is explained onits website here:http://www.ripoffreport.com/ConsumersSayThankYou/FalseReport.aspx.In short, Xcentric’s protocol requests that parties seeking information about ananonymous author follow the steps described in the controlling Arizona Court of Appealscase on this issue,
 Mobilisa v. Doe
,217 Ariz. 103, 170 P.3d 712 (Ariz.App. 2007).
 
Complaint Review: reviewboost.com
Lots of promises about being able to post positive reviews toGoogle. $500 got me 1 review. Afterwards, lots of excuses thatyou did not hear when they are accepting your money. Beware!
 
RESPONSE TO MOTION TO COMPEL
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Once a subpoena has been issued, step #1 in this process requires the plaintiff togive notice to the author informing him/her of the attempt to discovery their identity. Inthis case, Plaintiffhas complied with the notice requirement,so only the second and thirdstepsare relevant.The second and third steps of the process are much more substantive than the first.In sum, the secondstep requires the plaintiff to demonstrate that it could survive ahypothetical Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the anonymous defendant.
See Mobilisa
, 217 Ariz. at 111 (holding, “We therefore adopt the second step from[
 Doe v.Cahill 
, 884 A.2d 451 (Del. 2005)]that requires the requesting party to demonstrate itwould survive a motion for summary judgment filed by Doe on all of the elements withinthe requesting party’s control—in other words, all elements not dependent upon knowingthe identity of the anonymous speaker. Requiring the requesting party to satisfy this stepfurthers the goal of compelling identification of anonymous internet speakers only as ameans to redress legitimate misuses of speech rather than as a means to retaliate against or chill legitimate uses of speech.”)If the plaintiff cannot makethis showing, then the inquiry ends and the request toreveal the author’s identity must be denied. On theother hand, if the plaintiff 
can
showthat it would survive summary judgment, then the court mustproceed to the third stepwhich is essentially an equitable “balancing test”.
See Mobilisa
, 217 Ariz. at 111–12.This flexible test focuses on various questions such as:
Does the plaintiff really need to know the anonymous speaker’s identity or are there other known witnesses with the same information?
Has the plaintiff exhausted other means of learning the author’s identity?
Are there any other equitable considerations for denying the plaintiff’srequest?As to the last point,
 Mobilisa
directs courts to consider “the type of speechinvolved, the speaker’s expectation of privacy, the potential consequence of a discoveryorder to the speaker and others similarly situated, the need for the identity of the speaker 

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