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r JS 4JCJSDW

REV. 4/5014

JUDGE RAM n n

CIVIL COVER SHEET

The JS-44 civilcover sheet and the information contained herein neither replace nor supplement the filing and service of

pleadings orother papers as required by law, except as provided bylocal rules ofcourt. This form, approved by the
Judicial Conference of the UnitedStates in September 1974, is required for use of the Clerkof Court for the purpose of
initiating the civil docket sheet.

PLAINTIFFS

DEFENDANTS

REAL NEWS PROJECT, INC. d/b/a WHOWHATWHY.COM, a not-for-profit


corporation,

SANFORD DICKERT, RAWLINGS ATLANTIC INCORPORATED and JOHN


DOES 1-10.

ATTORNEYS (FIRM NAME^ ADDRESS, AND TELEPHONE NUMBER

ATTORN

OWNW,. v

15

EATON & VAN WINKLE LLP


3 PARK AVENIUE, 16th FLOOR

NEW YORK, NY 10016

cJ vj

CAUSE OFACTION (CITE THE U.S. CIVIL STATUTE UNDER WHICH YOU ARE FILING AND WRITE ABRIEF STATEMENT OF CAUSE)
(DO NOT CITEJURISDICTIONAL STATUTES UNLESS DIVERSITY)

Has this action, case, or proceeding, or one essentially the same been previously filed in SDNY at any time? NrQ'esEuudge Previously Assigned
If yes, was this case Vol. fj Invol.

Dismissed. No

IS THIS AN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION CASE?

No LJ

Yes fj If yes, give date.

YeS \_\

JAW 1 f\ ^"J ""

NATURE OF SUIT

(PLACE AN[x] INONEBOX ONLY)

ACTIONS UNDER STATUTES

TORTS

PERSONAL INJURY

CONTRAC1r

I
[
I
[

1110
1120
1130
]140

[ ]150

[ 1151
[ 1152

INSURANCE
MARINE

MILLER ACT
NEGOTIABLE
INSTRUMENT
RECOVERY OF
OVERPAYMENT &
ENFORCEMENT
OF JUDGMENT
MEDICARE ACT
RECOVERY OF
DEFAULTED
STUDENT LOANS

[ ] 310 AIRPLANE
[ ] 315 AIRPLANE PRODUCT
LIABILITY

[ ] 320 ASSAULT, LIBEL &


SLANDER

[ ] 330 FEDERAL
EMPLOYERS'
LIABILITY

[ ] 340 MARINE
[ ]345 MARINE PRODUCT
LIABILITY

[ ] 350 MOTOR VEHICLE


[ ] 355 MOTOR VEHICLE

(EXCL VETERANS)
I 1153

[]160

[J190
[ J195

RECOVERY OF
OVERPAYMENT
OF VETERANS
BENEFITS
STOCKHOLDERS
SUITS
OTHER
CONTRACT
CONTRACT
PRODUCT
LIABILITY

[ ] 196 FRANCHISE

INJURY

[ 1362 PERSONAL INJURY MED MALPRACTICE

[ ]220
[ ]230

[ ]240
[ 1245
[ ]290

FORFEITURE/PENALTY

INJURY/PRODUCT LIABILITY

SEIZURE 0F PROPERTY

[ ] 365 PERSONAL INJURY


PRODUCT LIABILITY

[ ] 368 ASBESTOS PERSONAL

21 USC 881

LAND

CONDEMNATION
FORECLOSURE
RENT LEASE &
EJECTMENT
TORTS TO LAND
TORT PRODUCT
LIABILITY
ALL OTHER
REAL PROPERTY

ACCOMMODATIONS
DISABILITIES EMPLOYMENT

[ ] 423 WITHDRAWAL
28 USC 157

[ ]820 COPYRIGHTS
[ ] 830 PATENT
fc] 840 TRADEMARK

[ ]370 OTHER FRAUD


[ ] 371 TRUTH IN LENDING

SOCIAL SECURITY

REAPPORTIONMENT

[
[
[
[
[

]410
]430
]450
]460
) 470

ANTITRUST
BANKS & BANKING
COMMERCE
DEPORTATION
RACKETEER INFLU
ENCED & CORRUPT
ORGANIZATION ACT

(RICO)

[ ]480 CONSUMER CREDIT


[ ]490 CABLE/SATELLITETV
[ ]850 SECURITIES/
COMMODITIES/

[ ]380 OTHER PERSONAL

LABOR

PROPERTY DAMAGE

[ ]385 PROPERTY DAMAGE

[ ]710 FAIR LABOR


STANDARDS ACT

VACATE SENTENCE
28 USC 2255

[ ]740 RAILWAY LABOR ACT


[ ] 751 FAMILY MEDICAL
LEAVE ACT (FMLA)

[ ] 530 HABEAS CORPUS


[ ] 535 DEATH PENALTY

[ ]790 OTHER LABOR

[ 1540 MANDAMUS & OTHER

[ ]791 EMPL RET INC

LITIGATION

SECURITY ACT
IMMIGRATION

PRISONER CIVIL RIGHTS

[ ] 462 NATURALIZATION
[ ] 550 CIVIL RIGHTS
[ ] 555 PRISON CONDITION

[
[
(
[
[

)861
] 862
]863
]864
]865

HIA(1395ff)
BLACK LUNG (923)
DIWC/DIWW (405(g))
SSID TITLE XVI
RSI (405(g))

APPLICATION

[ I 465 OTHER IMMIGRATION

1 560 CIVIL DETAINEE


CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT

EXCHANGE

]890 OTHER STATUTORY


ACTIONS
1 891 AGRICULTURAL ACTS

RELATIONS

(Non-Prisoner)

[ ]445 AMERICANS WITH

( J400STATE

28 USC 158

PROPERTY RIGHTS

PERSONAL PROPERTY

[ ]463 ALIEN DETAINEE


[ ] 510 MOTIONS TO

[ ]441 VOTING
[ J442 EMPLOYMENT
[ ]443 HOUSING/

[ ]422 APPEAL

INJURY PRODUCT
LIABILITY

PRISONER PETITIONS

CIVIL RIGHTS

OTHER STATUTES

1690 OTHER

[ ]720 LABOR/MGMT

ACTIONS UNDER STATUTES

BANKRUPTCY

f 1 375 FALSE CLAIMS

PHARMACEUTICAL PERSONAL , , 625 DRUG RELATED

PRODUCT LIABILITY

[ ]440 OTHER CIVILRIGHTS

[ ]210

PERSONAL INJURY

[ ] 367 HEALTHCARE/

PRODUCT LIABILITY

[ ]360 OTHER PERSONAL

REAL PROPERTY

&Case No.

FEDERAL TAX SUITS

[ 1870 TAXES (U.S. Plaintiff or

]893 ENVIRONMENTAL

Defendant)

[ ]871 IRS-THIRD PARTY

MATTERS

] 895 FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION ACT

26 USC 7609

] 896 ARBITRATION
] 899 ADMINISTRATIVE
PROCEDURE ACT/REVIEW OR
APPEAL OF AGENCY DECISION

[ ] 950 CONSTITUTIONALITY OF
STATE STATUTES

ACTIONS

[ ] 446 AMERICANS WITH


DISABILITIES -OTHER

[ ]448 EDUCATION

Checkif demanded in complaint:

CHECK IF THIS IS ACLASS ACTION

n0 YOUCLAJM THIS CASE IS RELATED TO ACIVIL CASE NOW PENDING IN S.D.N.Y.?

UNDER FRCP. 23

IF SO, STATE:

DEMAND $50,000.000

OTHER INJUNCTION JUDGE

DOCKET NUMBER

Check YES onlyifdemandedincomplaint

JURY DEMAND: EYES LNO

NOTE: You must also submit at the time of filing the Statement of Relatedness form (Form IH-32).

(PLACEAN x INONE BOX ONLY)

S 1 Original

ORIGIN

O 2 Removed from

Proceeding

State Court

D 3 Remanded Q 4 Reinstated or
from

a. all parties represented

D 5 Transferred from 6 Multidistrict

Reopened

(Specify District)

7 Appeal to District

Litigation

Judge from
Magistrate Judge
Judgment

q^^

I | b. At leastone
party is pro se.

(PLACE AN x INONE BOX ONLY)

1 U.S. PLAINTIFF

BASIS OF JURISDICTION

Q 2 U.S. DEFENDANT 3 FEDERAL QUESTION

IFDIVERSITY, INDICATE

[x]4 DIVERSITY

CITIZENSHIP BELOW.

(U.S. NOT A PARTY)

CITIZENSHIP OF PRINCIPAL PARTIES (FOR DIVERSITY CASES ONLY)


(Place an [X] in one box for Plaintiff and one box for Defendant)

CITIZEN OF THIS STATE

Jf^F

DEF

f[>0i Jfc1
\_y J-^

CITIZEN OF ANOTHER STATE [ ]2\ [x] 2\


\

PTF DEF

CITIZEN OR SUBJECT OF A
FOREIGN COUNTRY

[ ]3 [ ]3

INCORPORATED and PRINCIPAL PLACE

PTF

DEF

[ ]5

[ ]5

[]6

[16

OF BUSINESS IN ANOTHER STATE

INCORPORATED or PRINCIPAL PLACE [ ]4[]4


OF BUSINESS IN THIS STATE

FOREIGN NATION

PLAINTIFF(S) ADDRESS(ES) AND COUNTY(IES)

Real News Project


d/b/a WhoWhatWhy.com
P.O. Box 1103

New York, N.Y. 102706-1103

DEFENDANT(S) ADDRESS(ES) AND COUNTY(IES)


Sanford Dickert

2688 N.McMullen Booth Road # 1311

Clearwater, FL 33761-4050

Rawlings Atlantic, Inc., 4613 N. University Drive 440, Coral Springs, FL 33067
DEFENDANT(S) ADDRESS UNKNOWN
REPRESENTATION IS HEREBY MADE THAT, AT THIS TIME, I HAVE BEEN UNABLE, WITH REASONABLE DILIGENCE, TO ASCERTAIN
RESILIENCE ADDRESSES OF THE FOLLOWING DEFENDANTS:

Check one:

THIS ACTION SHOULD BE ASSIGNED TO:

WHITE PLAINS

\*\ MANHATTAN

(DO NOTcheck either box ifthis a PRISONER PETITION/PRISONER CIVIL RIGHTS


COMPLAINT.)

DATE \l WJjfJk

SIGNATURE OF ATTORNEY OF RECORD


^^QP" ""

RECEIPT #

ADMITTED TO PRACTICE IN THIS DISTRICT


MYES (DATE ADMITTED Mo.April
Yr. 1997 )
Attorney Bar Code # AR3530

Magistrate Judge is to be designated by the Clerk of the Court.


is so Designated.

Magistrate Judge

Ruby J. Krajick, Clerk of Court by.

Deputy Clerk, DATED.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT (NEW YORK SOUTHERN)

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

b*xf

Real News Project, Inc. d/b/a WhoWhatWhy.com

*_Civjt^ W qj ( -v.{)

Plaintiff,

COMPLAINT

(Jury Trial Demanded)

-againstSanford Dickert, Rawlings Atlantic Incorporated

JUDGE RAMOS

And John Does 1-10.


Defendants.

C';

-x

-J

Plaintiff Real News Project, Inc., d/b/a WhoWhatWhy.com, by its attorneys EATON &
VAN WINKLE LLP, for its Complaint against Defendants, Sanford Dickert and Rawlings

Atlantic Incorporated, alleges as follows:


PARTIES

1. Plaintiff Real News Project, Inc. d/b/a WhoWhatWhy.com is a not-for-profit corporation,


incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, with its mailing address at P.O.
Box 1103 New York, N.Y. 102706-1103. The purpose of Real News Project, Inc. is to

engage in investigative reporting and news gathering and publish its findings online in
order to inform and educate the public about the activities of key actors in American
society, including the government, for-profit-corporations and other powerful people and
entities. WhoWhatWhy is the operating unit of Real News Project, Inc., its web domain
is www.WhoWhatWhy.com

{00038814.DOC;!}

2. Defendant Sanford Dickert is and was at all times mentioned herein a natural person
residing in the State of Florida at 2688 N. McMullen Booth Road #1311 Clearwater, FL
33761-4050 and London, England.

3. Defendant Rawlings Atlantic Incorporated is a Florida corporation with its principal


business address at 4613 N. University Drive 440, Coral Springs, FL 33067.
4. John Does 1-10 are other individuals or entities who have participated in the
misappropriation of Plaintiffs property, trademark and web domain.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE

5. The Plaintiff is a New York not-for-profit corporation with its principal office in the State
of New York. The Defendants are, respectively, a natural person with a domicile in the
State of Florida. The amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interest and
costs. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332.

6. This Court also has jurisdiction of the subject matter of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
1331, 28 U.S.C. 1367(a) and 28 U.S.C. 1337(a) because Plaintiffs have claims

against Defendants under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C.


1125(d), as well as additional claims against Defendants under federal law for Trademark

Infringement (Section 43[a] of the Lanham Act [15 U.S.C. 1125[d] ]) and Trademark
Dilution (Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006 [H.R. 683]).
FACTS

PRELIMINARY STATEMENTURGENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF IS NEEDED TO


PREVENT CONTINUED DEFAMATION

7. A cyber thief with no contract and no equity has maliciously and pretextually shut down
an invaluable news source. He has, for all intents and purposes, burned down the

equivalent of a public television station, or The New York Times, eliminating all its
{00038814.DOC;!}

content and effectively locking out its contributors, viewers and relationships with other
news media. The urgency of recovering the website immediately is clear.
8. Plaintiff Real News Project, Inc. d/b/a WhoWhatWhy.com (alternatively referred to

hereafter as "RNP," "WhoWhatWhy," or "WhoWhatWhy.com") is a not-for-profit


corporation, formed under the laws of the State of New York on January 27, 2006. The
stated purpose of RNP is to engage in investigative reporting and news gathering and
publish its findings online in order to inform and educate the public about the activities of

key actors in American society, including the government, for-profit-corporations and


other powerful people and entities. That purpose is carried out through RNP's website,

WhoWhatWhy.com which publishes news articles, many of which are subsequently re


printed or used as a basis of news stories by other online, print and broadcast media.
9. WhoWhatWhy.com seeks to uncover and report information about current events that is

unavailable from the mainstream media yet is crucial to a well informed citizenry in a
democracy. As a not-for-profit company, WhoWhatWhy relies heavily on donations
from donors composed of its reader-base. Accordingly, increased dissemination of its
website and articles is likely to increase WhoWhatWhy's exposure and, likewise, add to
its donor base.

10. WhoWhatWhy.com was recently poised for a drastic increase in exposure, and a likely
corresponding increase in its donor base, as a result of its investigative reporting on the
Boston Marathon Bombing trial. WhoWhatWhy.com has been a leading source of

information regarding the Boston Marathon Bombing trial. It has broken major stories,
and its coverage has been picked up by the mainstream media, including the Boston
Globe.

{00038814.DOC;!}

11. In the midst of this tremendous opportunity for WhoWhatWhy.com, Sanford Dickert, a
former volunteer for the website, who provided technical web-related services, has

misappropriated its domain name and hijacked the website. Mr. Dickert's seizure of the
website is pure extortion/conversion. He is demanding payment of funds that are not due,
and were never due as Mr. Dickert acted on a pro bono basis based on his understanding

and acknowledgment of RNP's status as a not-for-profit corporation with very limited


funds. Even if he had a legitimate dispute as to whether he is owed money ~ and he does

notMr. Dickert's theft of Plaintiffs intellectual property is a criminal act.


12. As a result of Mr. Dickert's extortion, the website is no longer accessible to the public,
opportunities for growth have been lost and existing donors have withdrawn and/or
considering withdrawing their donations and commitments due to the unavailability of
content from the WhoWhatWhy.com.

13. WhoWhatWhy.com has been irreparably harmed. Such irreparable harm will continue,

and could be fatal to WhoWhatWhy.com, unless immediate injunctive relief is granted.


HISTORY OF RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RNP AND MR. DICKERT

14. Sanford Dickert began performing website development work for Real New Project, Inc.,
a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit company (d/b/a WhoWhatWhy) in 2011. Before agreeing to

perform website development work for RNP, Mr. Dickert acknowledged and agreed that

he was a volunteer but hoped that, in the event of a major increase in funding, he might
receive compensation for his work at some time in the future. RNP's founder, Russ
Baker, agreed that this was a desirable scenario, but made it clear that he could make no

promises of payment until and unless the financial situation of the organization changed

dramatically. Accordingly, Mr. Baker advised Mr. Dickert that if guaranteed payment

{0OO38814.DOC;!}

was a precondition, then WhoWhatWhy would not engage his services. As a result, Mr.
Dickert agreed to perform website development work for WhoWhatWhy on a volunteer
basis.

15. In May, 2011, Mr. Dickert, still stating that he understood that WhoWhatWhy might not
be able to make payment imminently, or even ever, unless financial circumstances

changed dramatically, submitted a pro forma invoice for $25,000, with payment to be
made to Defendant Rawlings Atlantic Incorporated, a company controlled by Mr.
Dickert. The invoice included a stipulation that WhoWhatWhy would only be expected
to pay at such time as it was capitalized at over $500,000. The invoice was also a

unilateral affair: there was no prior agreement, independent assessment, or justification


for the amount spent. Mr. Dickert's own words in the cover letter to this invoice
reflected that actual payment terms were still a preliminary benchmark. As he said: "I

do not expect this to be paid until after you have some major liquidity event whether that be a major influx of funding or you get acquired or what have you. It is
for my measuring stick."

16. Several years passed in which Mr. Dickert continued to sporadically, and unevenly,
provide tech services to WhoWhatWhy, typically during periods when he indicated that

he had free time, no looming deadlines, or no paying clients at the moment. During
these three years, the work was pro bono. There was no agreement to pay nor did Mr.
Dickert ever submit even a 'measuring stick' invoice to cover future consideration for
this work.

17. By 2013, WhoWhatWhy founder, Russ Baker, was becoming concerned that the quality
of Mr. Dickert's work and his availability were becoming erratic. Mr. Dickert was

{00038814.DOC;1}

sometimes difficult, and he usually helped WhoWhatWhy only when it fit into his
schedule or, in some cases, when there was a dire emergency. He also did not seem to

know how to do a lot the things he was attempting, and it seemed that he was using his
experience at WhoWhatWhy to sharpen his skill set by attempting to do things that may
have been outside of his range of expertise.

18. For a time, WhoWhatWhy was comfortable with Mr. Dickert's shortcomings, as he was
working on a volunteer basis and not much more could be expected of him. However,

because Mr. Baker was growing concerned that Mr. Dickert's undependability could
impact the stability of WhoWhatWhy, Mr. Baker began looking for a Chief Technology
Officer. Because of a lack of funding, any candidate for this position had to act on a
volunteer basis.

19. Mr. Baker's search for an appropriate Chief Technology Officer who would act as a
volunteer led him to Ron Brannon, a former CTO of Morgan Stanley. Mr. Baker asked

Mr. Dickert to work cooperatively with Mr. Brannon. However, Mr. Dickert quickly
dismissed Mr. Brannon as a "suit" who was not a real technology person. Mr. Baker
asked the two of them to work closely together, but as a result of Mr. Dickert's
patronizing attitude toward Mr. Brannon the situation did not work out and Mr. Brannon,
who was acting as a volunteer, reduced his role.
MR. DICKERT'S "REORGANIZATION" OF WHOWHATWHY'S WEB DOMAIN

20. By early 2014, on the advice of Ron Brannon, and after numerous problems with
WhoWhatWhy's hosting company, landl.com, WhoWhatWhy decided to move its

hosting to servers at GoDaddy. The purpose of the transfer was solely to improve service

{00038814.DOC;!}

levels such as uptime and website speed. Mr. Dickert volunteered to handle the
transition, although Mr. Brannon had also been willing to do so.
21. In a March 7,2014 e-mail to Mr. Baker concerning transfer of the hosting services, Mr.
Dickert stated "I can move it to GoDaddy, if necessary-I already have a GoDaddy
account set up-just need a credit card." On his instructions, WhoWhatWhy paid
GoDaddy directly for the first year of hosting services. It was WhoWhatWhy's natural
expectation that by paying for these services, the hosting account would be owned by
WhoWhatWhy.

22. After WhoWhatWhy paid for the required hosting services, Mr. Dickert retained his role
as the primary account administrator, which effectively gave him total control of the

account. As part of this role, essentially all e-mails from GoDaddy regarding the account
including URL transfer notices were sent only to Mr. Dickert's e-mail address. However,
e-mails that WhoWhatWhy did have accees to showed Russ Baker's name on the
account.

23. On or about April 25, 2014, in the midst of ongoing work to transfer the site to GoDaddy,
Mr. Dickert claimed to have discovered that landl did not have the ability to "fine tune"
the Domain Name Server ("DNS") associated with WhoWhatWhy's internet domain,

requested an immediate transfer of the registrar of record from landl to GoDaddy.


Changing the Registrar to GoDaddy would allow Mr. Dickert to take advantage of
GoDaddy's more sophisticated DNS control capabilities but leave the ownership of the
URL with WhoWhatWhy. WhoWhatWhy staff approved the transfer to GoDaddy,

believing they were simply changing the Registrar for technical purposes, per Mr.
Dickert's instructions. Indeed, a GoDaddy email to WhoWhatWhy with the instructions

{00038814.DOC;!}

on how to expedite the transfer states "GoDaddy received a request on April 26, 2014 for
us to become the new registrar of record". At no time was there a discussion regarding
change of ownership. WhoWhatWhy was simply trusting Mr. Dickert, who was their

website technical expert, in following his recommendations on what was required to


change website hosting companies. The transfer of the URL, to GoDaddy as registrar,
occurred as planned on May 4, 2014.
24. By making himself "account administrator," in his capacity as website technical adviser
to WhoWhatWhy, Mr. Dickert gave himself the ability to misappropriate
WhoWhatWhy's web domain. Although at the time, it was unimaginable to
WhoWhatWhy that Mr. Dickert would do so, in order to hijack WhoWhatWhy.com with

extortionate demands for payments which were not and never to this day due to Mr.
Dickert.

MR. DICKERT'S RENEWED DEMANDS FOR PAYMENT AND


MISAPPROPRIATION OF WHOWHATWHY.COM

25.0n May 30, 2014, Mr. Dickert submitted a draft contract to Mr. Baker to cover both

past and future services. The charge listed in the contract for all past services was

$30,000. While the terms were not fully consistent with prior submissions by Mr.
Dickert, it made clear that the intent remained essentially the same: payment would not

occur until some unknown point in the future when WhoWhatWhy was strongly
capitalized. No terms or conditions relating to the use ofWhoWhatWhy.com as
collateral were mentioned.

26.In June, 2014, WhoWhatWhy brought in a new executive, Steve Havas, whose

responsibilities included reviewing and overseeing tech operations. Mr. Havas quickly

identified that Mr. Dickert was communicating an expectation regarding compensation


{00038814.DOC;!}

for past work that had not been agreed upon. Specifically, although the work from 2011

through 2013 was pro bono, some of Mr. Dickert's communications suggested that he
contended that he had a firm commitment for payment in the future - although he
acknowledged that no such payment would become due in the absence of "a major
liquidity event." In addition, Mr. Havas also concluded that Mr. Dickert's estimate of the
future labor required to manage the website, as listed in the draft contract, was

significantly higher than what WhoWhatWhy should pay.

27. In addition, Mr. Dickert had recommended immediate technical changes to the
WhoWhatWhy website that Mr. Havas believed were expensive and unnecessary. These
disagreements as to how to proceed with technical aspects of the website and how to best
resolve the disagreement over compensation for past work ultimately led to a mutual

agreement to cease the ongoing relationship between Mr. Dickert and WhoWhatWhy.
28. In addition, Mr. Dickert had recommended immediate technical changes to the
WhoWhatWhy website that Mr. Havas believed were expensive and unnecessary. The verbal

and written communication about both this issue and how to best resolve the disagreement over

compensation for past work ultimately led to a mutual agreement to cease the ongoing
relationship.
29. Regarding compensation, Mr. Baker and Mr. Havas asked that there be some discussion of
appropriate compensation amounts prior to any formalized agreement. Mr. Dickert demurred and
further stated, in a phone call with Mr. Havas on July 16, 2014, that he intended to retain control

of the GoDaddy account and URL until a contract was signed for the amount he maintained was

owed. This was the first time that Mr. Dickert had informed anyone representing
WhoWhatWhy.com of his intent to misappropriate WhoWhatWhy's own property to gain

{00038814.DOC;!}

leverage in negotiations to obtain payment for the volunteer work that Mr. Dickert had done over
the years.

30.On July 16, 2014, WhoWhatWhy, anxious to resolve these issues and move forward with its
core activities, agreed to capitulate to Mr. Dickert's extortion and pay him the requested sum of
$35,000, on the condition that Mr. Dickert first returned control of the GoDaddy account and the
WhoWhatWhy domain.
31. Mr. Dickert did not respond until July 21, 2014, when he submitted a draft "resolution
agreement" to replace the invoices and adding in multiple new terms not discussed in the
invoices. The most important of these was a clause stating that he would not return control of
WhoWhatWhy.com to WhoWhatWhy until after his receipt of payment for $35,000.
32. Remarkably, and also on July 21, 2014, the registrant for the WhoWhatWhy.com URL was
changed to Mr. Dickert's own corporate entity, Rawlings Atlantic, and the registrar of record
was changed from GoDaddy to another entity, Joker.com. Mr. Dickert was able to initiate this

transfer without either the consent or knowledge of WhoWhatWhy, by using his authority as the

account administrator. As the account administrator, all email notices from GoDaddy, including
notices associated with this domain transfer, went only to his email address. WhoWhatWhy
remained in the dark. No notice of the intent to change the registrant was ever received by
WhoWhatWhy, and it never granted permission for the change.
33.After WhoWhatWhy refused to capitulate to further extortionate demands from Mr. Dickert,
negotiations reached an impasse. On Sunday January 11, 2015, the site went down from noon on
Sunday to approximately noon on Monday January 12, 2015, when it was restored. When

WhoWhatWhy's technical administrator, James Huang contacted Mr. Dickert about the outage,
he claimed to know nothing about it.

{00038814.DOC;!}

10

34.However, the site went down again on the evening of Monday, January 12, 2015. This time,
the "hacker" was unambiguously Mr. Dickert. Since Monday night, January 12, 2015, he has
blocked all access to the site for WhoWhatWhy, and for the public, and defaced it with a shifting

series of defamatory statements about Mr. Baker and WhoWhatWhy, and demands for payment.
These demands for payment and accusations of non-payment make it clear that Mr. Dickert has
wrongfully seized control of www. WhoWhatWhy.com .
35. The damage to WhoWhatWhy, a nonprofit news organization, has been incalculable and
severe. The website has lost virtually all of its traffic and is unable to reach its audience and the

substantial numbers of new readers that have been coming to the site recently.

36. Mr. Dickert has timed his act of Cyber-Theft at the very moment when WhoWhatWhy.com
was surging. The WhoWhatWhy news team are the leaders in coverage and investigation of the

Boston Marathon Bombing, and are in the midst of highly admired trial reportage. In fact,
Boston Magazine's current issue features a long profile of Mr. Baker and of WhoWhatWhy.
Boston.com, the website of the Boston Globe, recently wrote about WhoWhatWhy.
WhoWhatWhy's traffic had been taking off until the website was hijacked by Mr. Dickert.
Although Saturdays usually have light traffic, the Saturday before the website was shut us down

was, upon information and belief, the heaviest traffic the website ever had for a Saturday, and
was one of its best days overall.

37. The false and defamatory statements which Mr. Dickert has now posted BALANCE

OVERDUE on the website have caused further damage. Statements that Mr. Baker does not pay
his bills are blatantly false. Meanwhile, WhoWhatWhy.com is receiving emails from readers
who find Mr. Baker's personal email address onlineasking if it is true that WHOWHATWHY
doesnot treat people fairly.

{00038814.DOC;!}

11

38.

All of this is highly destructive for WhoWhatWhy. Although it has activated another site

it owns, www.whowhatwhy.org , it will take months for to educate people that it exists. The new
site is getting virtually no traffic. Search engine results almost exclusively point to WWW.com,
more than 100 sites link into the .com, and there are hundreds of articles "out there" with the
.com url.

39. In short, the only people who will know how to reach WhoWhatWhy are the relatively small

number who subscribe to its newslettersand who read them carefully. Traffic at the .org is a
fraction of what it was at the .com. This has cause donors to withdraw and/or are considering
withdrawal of their commitments to the enterprise.
40. Mr. Dickert continues to manipulate the website. Earlier today, January 16, 2015, he
changed the website to give access to the face of the website to visitors if they "click-off the
defamatory message falsely stating that there are past due payments. Once the website is
"accessed" it contains only the face page of outdated content. The content is not only outdated,
it is actually unavailable, as there is no active url and the articles cannot be accessed. This most

recent change to the website by Mr. Dickert, causes further harm to WhoWhatWhy as it creates

the false impression that the website is outdated and non-functional due to pending payment
problems.
41. The situation is extremely urgent. WhoWhatWhy needs its domain back, and it needs control

of its site back. Not only is WhoWhatWhy.com losing web traffic, it is losing valuable donors
and the opportunity to increase its exposure and influence through the impact of its

groundbreaking coverage of the Boston Marathon Bombing trial. If immediate injunctive relief
is not granted, WhoWhatWhy.com may be entirely destroyed.

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COUNT ONE FOR PERMANENT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

DEFAMATION/CONVERSION

42. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-41 as if fully set
forth herein.

43. Injunctive relief enjoining and restraining Defendant, Dickert, from interfering with

Plaintiffs control and ownership of the website www.WhoWhat Why,com is necessary to


prevent Defendant's wrongful interference with the charitable purpose of Plaintiff, a NotFor-Profit corporation registered in New York.

44. The wrongful interference with the activities of a Not-For-Profit corporation cannot be
compensated by mere money damages. Accordingly, a permanent injunction is
warranted and necessary.
COUNT TWO FOR VIOLATION OF THE ANTICYBERSQUATTING CONSUMER
PROTECTION ACT. 15 U.S.C. 1125(d)

45. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-44 as if fully set forth
herein.

46. Defendants have engaged in violations of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15
U.S.C. 1125(d) through their misappropriation and theft of Plaintiffs website and web domain
name and their misuse and misappropriation of Plaintiffs trademarks.
COUNT THREE FOR INTERFERENCE WITH CONTRACT AND INTERFERENCE WITH
PROSPECTIVE BUSINESS RELATIONS

47. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-46 as if fully set forth
herein.

48. Defendants' malicious and criminal activities have interfered with and prevented Plaintiff from
conducting its business.

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49. Defendants have caused donors of Plaintiff, a non-profit corporation, to terminate and/or

consider termination of their obligations and commitments to contribute money to Plaintiff by


destroying Plaintiffs business and removing its website.

50. Defendants have prevented and interfered with Plaintiffs acquisition of new donors by taking
down Plaintiffs website at a time when Plaintiffs business activities would otherwise be

thriving as a result of its groundbreaking coverage of the Boston Marathon Bomber Trial.

COUNT FOUR FOR DEFAMATION/LIBEL

51. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-50 as if fully set
forth herein.

52. Defendants have engaged in the false and malicious publication of defamatory statements
concerning Plaintiff and its founder, Russ Baker.

53. These false and malicious statements were made with malice and published on Plaintiffs
website after Defendants misappropriated Plaintiffs domain name and blocked its access
to its own website.

54. Defendants' malice is comprised of ill will, scienter and deliberate falsification
concerning Plaintiffs business dealings.

55. Defendants' statements were designed to require and induce others to refrain from

dealing with Plaintiff and to otherwise deprive Plaintiff of prospective economic


advantage.

56. Defendants' statements have had their desired effect, and have, in fact, induced others to

refrain from dealing with Plaintiff and have otherwise deprived Plaintiff of prospective
economic advantage.

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COUNT FIVE FOR TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT

57. Plaintiff repeats and realleges the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-56 as if fully set
forth herein.

58. Plaintiff has a legally valid and protectable trademark, WHOWHATWHY.


59. Plaintiff owns the trademark.

60. Defendants' use and misuse of the trademark by misappropriating Plaintiffs website,
blocking content on Plaintiffs website and publishing defamatory statements on
Plaintiffs website constitutes trademark infringement/destruction of its trademark in

violation of 15 U.S.C. 1125(a) and Defendants' misappropriation of Plaintiff s


trademark has resulted in a likelihood of confusion as to the source and ownership of the
trademark.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally, as


follows:

A.Injunctive relief, restraining Defendants from interfering with Plaintiffs trademark,


web domain, website and property and compelling Defendants to transfer and return control of

the subject GoDaddy account and the WhoWhatWhy domain to Plaintiff;


B. Compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial but which is in no event
less than $5,000,000;

C. Punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial but which is in no event less


than $50,000,000;

D. Plaintiffs costs and disbursements incurred litigatingthis action, including reasonable

legal fees, together with such other and further relief as the Court may deemjust and proper.

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JURY DEMAND

Pursuant to Rule 38 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Plaintiff demands a trial by
jury in this action of all issues so triable.

Dated: New York, New York


January 16, 2015

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EATON &VAN WINKLE LLP

BY:

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MaXim HN^aldbaum (MW4615)

Michael A. Lacher. (ML8229)


Adam J. Rader (AR3530)
3 Park Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, New York 10016

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(212) 779-9910
Attorneys for Plaintiff

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