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Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 1 of 11 FILED

2009 May-14 PM 04:02


U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
SOUTHERN DMSION

CONFEDERATE MOTORS, MC., )


)
Plaintiff, )
) Civil Action No.
VS 1
)
WES SILER; GRANT RAY; JALOPNKCOM; )
and GAWKER MEDIA LLC, )
)
)
DEFENDANTS. )

vlcRnmD COMPLAINT

parties

1. Plaintiff, Confederate Motors, Inc. (hereinafter 'CMI"), is a corporation

organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, having its

principal ofice and place of business in the State of Alabama.

2. The Defendant, GAWKER MEDIA, LLC, is a corporation organized and

existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, having its principal place of

business in the State of New York. Defendant, WES SILER, is an individual

and resident of the State of New York. Defendant, Grant Ray, is an individual

and resident of the State of New York. Defendant, Jalopnik.com, is a wholly

owned subsidiary of Defendant, Gawker Media LLC.

Jurisdiction

3. This Honorable Court has jurisdiction of this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. $

1332 because the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000,

exclusive of interest and costs, and is between citizens of different states.


Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 2 of 11

4. The acts or omissions made the basis of this civil action were specifically

directed at the Plaintiff in Jefferson County, Alabama.

5. Venue and jurisdiction are proper and la*l in this Honorable Court based on

the intentional actions of the Defendants which targeted the forum state and,

therefore, created sufficient foresee ability of a civil action in Alabama.

Calder et a1 v. Jones 465 US. 783, 790 (1984). Furthermore, damages

occurred in Alabama, the Alabama Plaintiff maintains its primary offices in

Alabama, the defendant focused its activities against the plaintiffs business

located in Alabama, and the products and persons being defamed are in

Alabama

-
Facts

6. The Plaintiff, CMI is engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling

high performance motorcycles.

7. On or about April 9", 2009 the Defendant, Wes Siler, posted an article on the

website known as Jalopnik.com., Jalopnik.com is an entity and a Defendant in

the case at bar along with its owner Gawker Media LLC. The article titled

"Confederate Motorcycles: MotoTerminators Come to Life," a copy of which

is attached hereto as Exhibit "Ustates that the Plaintiffs products are

unreliable and specifically attacks the Plaintiff Corporation qs an Alabama

business unfit to do business in the State of New York.

8. These intentionally misleading statements are the basis of the libel claim

against Defendants, Siler, Ray, Gawker and Jalopnik.com. Two months prior

to the posting of the article, Defendant Ray, who is an employee of Defendant,


Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 3 of 11

Gawker Media, LLC, sent an e-mail to the Plaintiff Corporation which stated

revenge would be sought for Plaintiffs unwillingness to allow the Defendant

the use of a motorcycle for a trade show. (Attached as Exhibit '73")

9. Defendant Ray is a former employee of the Plaintiff who left after Hurricane

Katrina The result of the threat was the article published on the heels of the

New York Auto Show where the Plaintiffs products were displayed. There is

a concerted effort by all Defendants to disparage the Plaintiff. On April 14",

2009 the Defendants received a written demand to remove the offending

article within ten days. As of May 1I", 2009 the article is still being

published on the website. (See e-mails attached as Exhibit "C")

10. The offending language in the article states "In fact, it's surprising to see them

at the New York Auto Show today since last we heard the Alabama-based

company was being sued so heavily in state courts by disgruntled owners that

they were unable to do business here." The misleading implication is that

CMI has been repeatedly sued in many state courts by disgruntled owners.

The undisputed facts are that neither CMI nor its predecessor in interest

Confederate Motor Company, Inc. (hereinafter 'CMC') has ever been sued in

the State Court of New York by an owner. The only proceeding ever filed

against the Plaintiff in the State of New York is an arbitration action for

failure to repair in a timely fashion (ninety days) which was the result of

Hurricane Katrina and CMI's resulting loss of inventory. Furthermore, the

only civil actions filed against CMI or CMC are the ordinary suits normally

associated with transacting business. The Plaintiff was required to file a


Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 4 of 11

"Jumbo 8-K" with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission

contemporaneously with its recent reverse merger with a publicly traded

corporation. The filing of an "8-K" requires the disclosure of all material

lawsuits under penalty of federal law. The Plaintiff had no lawsuits to

disclose. The Defendants were aware, or should have been aware of this fact

before they published this article which has been viewed by at least twenty

five thousand people.

11. The Plaintiff has received numerous inquiries ftom shareholders regarding

this article and the result is a loss of shareholder confidence. This is

particularly damaging to the Plaintiff because the company was listed as a

publicly traded corporation in February, 2009. The quotation set forth above

not only proves that the intentional actions of the defendants were directed to

the fonun state but also shows the misleading nature of the article itself.

Publishing false statements about an entity's ability to perform its stated

business purpose amounts to libel per se and intentional interference with

business relations.

12. Defendant, Ray, by and through his business partner, Defendant, Wes Siler,

has begun to make good on his threat to damage the Plaintiff through a

negative publicity campaign (See Exhibit "Bn).

COUNT 1 - LIBEL PER SE

(Defendants Siler, Jalopnkeom and Gawker Media)


Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 5 of 11

13. Plaintiff realleges all prior averments as if fully set forth herein.

14. Defendants intentionally published or caused to be published false,

defamatory and intentionally misleading statements to the detriment of the

Plaintiff.

15. Said statements directly impugned the Plaintiffs fitness to conduct its trade or

enterprise.

16. The defamatory statements were communicated to the motorcycle industry

and the general public via the Internet site known to the Plaintiff as

"Jalopnik.com."

17. The Plaintiff has been specially harmed as a result of the false and misleading

statements which the Defendants knew or should have known were false.

18. The Defendants, Siler, Jalopnik.com, Gawker Media LLC are guilty of LIBEL

PER SE.

Wherefore, plaintiff hereby demands an award of compensatory and punitive

damages to be determined by a struckjury and any other relief as the Court deems

proper.

COUNT 2 - TORTIOUS -NCE WITH BUSINESS RELATIONS

(All Defendants)

19. Plaintiff realleges all prior averments as if fully set forth herein.
Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 6 of 11

20. A business relation and agreement existed between the plaintiff and its

customers and potential customers with the full knowledge of the defendant.

21. The Defendants intentionally interfered without justification with said relation

to the detriment of the Plaintiff.

22. The Defendants, Siler, Ray, Jalopnik.com and Gawker Media LLC are guilty

of tortious interference with business relations.

Wherefore, plaintiff hereby demands an award of compensatory and punitive

damages to be determined by a struck jury and any other relief as the Court deems

proper.

COUNT 3 - GROSS NEGLIGENCE

(Defendants Si,Jalopnik.com and Gawker Media)

23. Plaintiff realleges all prior averments as if fully set forth herein.

24. The Defendants willfilly failed to confirm the validity of unsubstantiated

comments made the basis of the offending article.

25. Plaintiff lost revenues associated with sales of the motorcycles which were not

sold as a result of the Defendants' misrepresentations.

26. The Defendants, Siler, Jalopnik.com and Gawker Media are guilty of gross

negligence.
Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 7 of 11

Wherefore, plaintiff hereby demands an award of compensatory and punitive

damages to be determined by a sh-uckjury and any other relief as the Court deems

proper.

COUNT 4 - LIBEL PER QUOD

(All Defendants)

27. Plaintiff realleges all prior averments as if fully set forth herein.

28. The Defendants have published a malicious article which tends to harm the

reputation of the Plaintiff.

29. The Plaintiff is not a public figure or public official.

30. The Defendants acted with malice andlor reckless disregard for the veracity of

the offending statements made.

3 1. The Defendants, Siler, Ray, Jalopnik.com and Gawker Media are guilty of

libel per quod.

32. The Plaintiff was proximately damaged by loss of customers, sales and

investor confidence.

Wherefore, plaintiff hereby demands an award of compensatory and punitive

damages to be determined by a struck jury and any other relief as the Court deems

proper.

COUNT 5 - PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

(AllDefendants)
Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 8 of 11

33. Plaintiff realleges all prior averments as if fully set forth herein.

34. Plaintiff has suffered injury and damage and there is a substantial likelihood

that it will continue to suffer substantial injury and damage by the conduct of

the Defendants during the pendency of the lawsuit if Defendants are not

restrained kom publishing the libelous comments.

35. Plaintiff has suffered, and will continue during the pendency of this lawsuit to

suffer, lost revenues and sales to which it is entitled if this Honorable Court

does not immediately restrain defendants fiom further libelous statements.

36. The public interest will only be served by the issuance of a preliminary

injunction. Without the injunction, defendants will continue to injure the

ongoing business and goodwill of CMI.

37. Immediate injunctive relief is therefore appropriate.

Wherefore, plaintiff hereby requests a preliminary injunction and any other relief as

the Court deems proper.

m e r for Relief

WHEREFORE, having pled its causes of action against defendants, plaintiff,

Confederate Motors, Inc. respcclrully requests:

A. An award of actual damages fiom defendants in an amount to be proven at trial;

B. An award of actual damages caused by the defendants' tortuous interference with

CMI's business;
Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 9 of 11

C. An award of punitive damages for the defendants' libelous statements;

D. An award of punitive damages for the willful, wanton and wrongful conduct;

E. A preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining defendants, Siler, Ray,

Jalopnik.com and Gawker Media LLC from continuing to publish false and

disparaging statements which impugned the plaintiffs fitness to transact its

business purpose;

F. An award of such further relief as the Court deems proper.

G. The Plaintiff hereby reserves the right to amend this complaint as discovery in

this matter continues.

&&=
Respectfully submitted,

G. C ance Turner
W e r d Counsel,
Confederate Motors, Inc.
Bar NO. ASB-4942-T75T

OF COUNSEL:
G. Chance Turner (TUR-055)
2 North 20" Street, Suite 1150
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 986-3729
(205) 986-3725 (fax)

PLAINTIFI -BY REQUESTS TRIAL BY STRUCKJURY.


Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 10 of 11

Please serve the Defendants as follows:


Bv Certified Mail:

WES SlLER
338 Beny Street
Apt. 7SW
Brooklyn, NY 11211-5176

GRANT RAY
252 Kingland Avenue 2R
Brooklyn, NY 11222-4323

GAWKER MEDIA LLC


76 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10012

JALQPN1K.COM
76 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10012
Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 11 of 11

VERIFICATION

STATE OF ALABAMA 1
COUNTY OF JEFFERSON )

Matthew Chambers, being duly sworn on his oath, states that he is CEO of Confederate
Motors, Inc., has authoriv from Confederate Motors, Inc. to sign md verify the Verified
Complaint, has read the foregoing Verified Complaint and that the statements contained
therein are true and accurate based on personal knowledge unless otherwise stated.
/---

Subscribed and sworn to before me this @day 2009.

My Commission Expires:
CI- .
Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1-1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 1 of 2 FILED
2009 May-14 PM 04:02
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA

EXHIBIT "A"
Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1-1 Filed 05/14/09 Page 2 of 2

Among ail the shiny concept can at the New York Auto Show, there's also three bikes. Confederate's
Wraith, Fighter and Hellcat are scaly p i e m of rolling robotic art.

And we mean rolling literally, because, according to anecdotal evidence from multiple owners and former
employees, Confederate's motorcycles have pmven so unreliable that you'll probably have to push them. I n

fad, t's surprising to see them at the New York Auto Show today since last we heard the Alabama-based

company was being sued so heavily in state courts by disg~ntledowners that they were unable to do
business here.

Seen here is the new version of the once aesthetically pure Confederate Wraith, the old stalwart of the

company's stable, the Hellcat, and the only-sold-through-Neiman-Marcus Confederate Fighter.


Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1-2 Filed 05/14/09 Page 1 of 2 FILED
2009 May-14 PM 04:02
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA

EXHIBIT "BB"
Grnail - FW: Form
CaseThrough Function
2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1-2 Filed 05/14/09 Page 2 of 2Page 1 o f 1

- 1-
Chance Turner <turnerlaw@gmail.com>

FW: Form Through Function


1 message

Matt Chambers <matt@confederate.com> Mon, Apr 13,2009 at 9:12 AM


To: tumerlaw@gmail.com

From: Gmnt Ray [mailto:grant@hellforleathermaqazine.com]


Sent: Tue 1/13/2009 11:51 AM
To: Matt Chambers
Subject: Form Thmugh Function

Here's a list of some of the brands being represented at the party


that have RSVP'd so far. Some are big. Some are small and very
influential. If you continue this paranoid delusion of me sabotaging a
brand I HELPED BUILD and refuse HFL the showing of a Wraith, it WlLL
be the worst marketing mistake you will EVER make.

BMW, New York Times, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki. The Piaggio Group,


Suzuki, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, the AMA, Flavorpill, Freeman's
Sporting Club, Eva Gentry, Jet Blue, Gawker, Next New Networks,
Alpinestars, Dianese, Esquire. Ducati. Milk Studios, The Standard
Hotel. NASCAR, Cool Hunting, TheHappyCorp, DireM:Art, Christies,
Grey, M N . Models, actors, directors, art directors, designers, etc.
Case 2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document 1-3 Filed 05/14/09 Page 1 of 5 FILED
2009 May-14 PM 04:02
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA

EXHIBIT "C"
Gmail - Confederate
Case Motorcycles:MotoTermhators Come
2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document i f e 05/14/09 Page 2 of 5Page 1 o f 5
to L Filed
1-3

Chance Turner <turnerlaw@gmail.com>

Confederate Motorcycles:MotoTerminators Come to Life


10 messages
~ ~ ~-

Chance Turner <turnerlaw@gmail.com> Mon, Apr 13,2009 at 4 0 0 PM


To: legal@gawker.com
Cc: jamesrosenfield@dwt.com, ray@jalopnik.com
Bcc: matt@wnfederate.com, Joseph-work <joseph@confederate.com,
Dear Sir or Madam:

The article published on April 9th, 2009 via Jalopnik.com titled Confedemte Motorcycles:MotoTeninator.
Come to Life contains libelous and defamatory comments regarding my client, Confederate Motors, Inc.
(hereinafter "CMI"). You are instructed to immediately remove the offending article and publish a retraction
which shall unequivocally state that neither CMI nor any of its predecessors in interest have ever been sued
in the State of New York, and anyone seeking information about CMI or its products should consult the United
States Securities and Exchange Commission or w . C o n f e d m , c o m . Furthermore, the article contains
false statements regarding the craftsmanship and performance of CMI products. I shall seek full restitution
from the article's author, Wes Siler, and any other party or parties complicit in this smear campaign. Please
send written confirmation of the rescission of the libelous article, including the date and exact time of
permanent removal. My office information is set forth below.

G. Chance Turner
General Counsel
Confederate Motrs, lnc.
2 North 20th Street
Suite 1150
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 986-3729 (telephone)
(205) 986-3725 (facsimile)
tur~rl_w@gmail.corn
-- - -- -- - - --
Mail Delivery Subsystem <mailer-daemon@googlemail.com> Mon, Apr 13,2009 at 4:00 PM
To: turnerlaw@gma~lcom

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

Delively to the following recipient failed permanently:

jamesros_enfield@dwtcorn

Technical details of Dermanent failure:


Google tried to deliier your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting
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Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 16:00:30 -0500
Message-ID: ~6la3b7690904131_4OOm34Oa357~bac81 54688bb18@mail.gm.a~.ilcom>
Gmail - Confederate
Case Motorcyc1es:MotoTerminators
2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document Come to L iFiled
1-3 fe 05/14/09 Page 3 of 5Page 3 o f 5

[Quoted text hddeil]

Gaby Darbyshire <gaby@gawker.com> Tue, Apr 14,2009 at 9:29 AM


To: Chance Turner <turnerlaw@gmail.com>
Cc: Wert Ray <ray@jalopnik.com>. Wes Siler <wes@jalopnik.com>
Mr Turner,

I trust you are referring to this article?

Jalopnik is a publication that writes about autos and the auto industry. We have every right to write both
glowing reviews and critical reviews of autos. Nothing we have stated in this article is a false statement of
fact about the craftsmanship or performance of the bikes. All we have stated is that there is some generally
well-known question about the reliability of the machines. Our opinion -that it is surprising to see them at the
Auto show - is simply that: mere opinion.

We have not stated that CMI has been sued in New York. We said that it has been sued in "state courts", not
specifically in New York State. If you are telling me categorically that CMI has never been sued in any state
court at any time, we are very happy to append an update to the post accordingly. But that would seem not to
be the truth, given the long list of lawsuits that we know of in LA, which have just been transferred to AL:

James Eric Reed vs. Confederate Motorcycles Inc., monies due.


Ford Motor Credit Co. vs. Confederate Motorcycles Inc., executow process
Crane Technologies Group vs Confederate ~otorcycleslnc , open account
GE Capltal Colonial Pacliic Leaslng vs Confederate Motorcycles Inc., damages
Citicapital Commercial Leasing Corp. vs. Confederate Motorcycles Inc., possessory action.
Citicapital Commercial Leasing Corp. vs. Confederate Motorcycles Inc., possessory action

We can certainly clarify the post with links to these lawsuits and make sure the readers are 100% clear that
there are, however, no suits pending in New York State. Please let me know if you would like us to do that.

Regards,

Gaby Darbyshire
[Quoted text hddeni
+++
Gaby Darbyshire I COO I (t) 646 214 8113 1(9 917 591 7090
Gawker Media LLC :: Gawker Technology LLC :: Gawker Entertainment LLC
This message may contain attorney client privileged andlor confidential information intended only
'
for the addressee. If
you receive it in error, please delete it from your system and notify the sender. Thank you.

..
. ... .

Chance Turner <turnerlaw@gmail.com> Tue, Apr 14,2009 at 4:00 PM


To: Gaby Darbyshire <gaby@gawker.com>
Cc: matt@confederate.com,Joseph-work <joseph@confederate.com>, Kelly Marshall
... 5/7/2009
https://mail.google.com/maill?ui=2&ik=52674Oel 1c&vie~t&search=inbox&th=l20a147
Gmail - Confederate
CaseMotorcyc1es:MotoTerminatorsCome
2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document to L i Filed
1-3 fe 05/14/09 Page 4 of 5Page 4 of 5

Gaby Darbyshire:

Ido not conduct litigation over the Internet however, Iwill say your understanding of the law is woefully
inadequate. You and your affiliates have no right to publish deliberatety misleading statements and false
claims concerning a corporation's ability to transact business. You, and your agents, have committed libel per
se, and I will pursue a civil action to recover damages for interferencewith business relationships, libel,
defamation and any other relief to which my client is entitled. Ihereby reiterate my demand that
you retract the offending article within ten days.

Also, your misguided assertion concerning Confederate Motorcycles 1nc.has nothing to do with my client,
Confederate Motors, Inc. ('CMI') or its predecessor, Confederate Motorcycle Company, Inc.(hereinaRer
'CMC). CMI has no affiliationwith the defunct corporation, Confederate Motorcycles Inc. Any attempt to link
to two entities shall be included in my lawsuit In my opinion, your ability to research "journalistic" sources is
equalled only by your ability to research legal proceedings.

G. Chance Turner
General Counsel
Confederate Motors, Inc.
2 North 20th Street
Suite 1150
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 986-3729 (telephone)
(205) 986-3725 (facsimile)
tumerlaw@gmail.com

[Quoted text hidden]

From: Chance Turner [rnaihxturnerlayu@gmail.com]


Sent: Tue 4/14/2009 4:00 PM
To: Gaby Darbyshire
Cc: Matt Chamben, Joseph M i i I ; Kelly Marshall
Subject:Re: Confedera& Motorcydes:MotoTennlnators Come b Life
[Quoted text hidden]

Gaby Darbyshire ylaby@gawker.com~ Tue, Apr 21,2009 at 4:35 PM


To: Chance Turner <turnerlaw@grnail.com>
Cc: Wert Ray <ray@jalopnikcom>, Wes Siler wes@jalopnikcom>
Gmail - Confederate
CaseMotorcyc1es:MotoTerminato~s to Life
Come1-3
2:09-cv-00949-JEO Document Filed 05/14/09 Page 5 of 5Page 5 o f 5

Icannot be bullied into removing legitimate criticism of motorcycle products that were and are marketed
under the Confederate product brand name, regardless of the convoluted name changes and closures and
reincorporations and bankruptcies of all of the related companies. If you are telling me that your client has
nothing to do with actual Confederate Motorcycles, the products, then I am at a loss to know why you
contacted us in the first place, but I'd advise you to sort out the confusion in the marketplace ifthere is
another company that sells Confederate branded motorcycles.

We never mention Confederate Motorcycles, Inc. in the article. We don't name any company name
specifically. We are simply talking about the products themselves, the Confederate Motorcycles.

But if you want to go there. a?d you don't like the cases I listed in my last email, then fine, let's dispense with
those and instead talk about the Barlow case, which i s on point in New York It's against "Confederate Motor
-
Co. Inc". The company is now called "Confederate Motors, Inc." i.e. your client - after the reverse merger of
the two, but the suit pertains to a product that was sold under the same brand by both companies.

So, if you are simply saying that we should revise the article to more accurately name the producer of the
Confederate motorcycles Confederate Motors, Inc. -your client - we can cedainly do that It won't change the
substance of our story but I am happy to help with that Please confirm that that is what you want.

If not, well, Idon't really want to go down this path and turn this whole thing into a bigger story, and I am
pretty sure your client is not best Sewed by doing so. But you must do as you see fit in your client's interests

Regards,

Gaby
[Quotedtext hiddenl

.--.. ..-- ~
.,,. ..,,.
Chance Turner cturnerlaw@gmail.com> Tue, Apr 21,2009 at 4:43 PM
To: matt@confederate.com,Joseph-work <joseph@confederate.com>

[Quoted text hidden1

From: Chance Turner [mailto:t~~rnerlaw@gmaii,com]


Sent: Tue 4/21/2009 4:43 PM
To: Matt Chamben; Joseph M i i e l l
Subject. Fwd: Confederate Motorcycles:MotoTenninators Come to Life

[Quoted text hidden]