Wednesday, 5 December 2007

ET Corn Gods Suit, Another PZ Situation?

Just to note beforehand Mondoskepto mentioned this a few days after the suit was filed.

It's been about a month since it was filed but I only really looked at the complaint today. Currently I have no idea how the suit is progressing but if it hasn't been already I suspect that it might be dismissed as a frivolous case like PZ Myers.

The complaint can be found here.

Basically it's the same rubbish similar to Pivar's suit.

From what I understand the plaintiff came up with something like the "Bible Code" with a whole lot of rules that allow you to "interpret" texts. He subsequently posted this on the JREF Forum and was ridiculed.

As a side note he should have been happy that he faced what he did on the JREF forum, if he posted this stuff on the Myspace forum then he would have faced far worse (there are practically no rules and no mods there).

So let's look at the complaint.

Paragraphs 16 and 17 (the first two under "Facts") are hard to even call facts, because they refer to the basis for the "language". Paragraph 24 actually calls JREF members "geeks".

I liked paragraphs 31 and 32. They basically say that a mod damaged the reputation of the plaintiff by telling people not to insult him and used the words that the posters were calling the guy. A few of the chosen comments seem to be of the position that they are playing with his threat of a lawsuit.

Now we see his charges.

1. Fraud.

Claims that they violated their membership agreement by allowing people to call this man a fraud and a liar.

2. Misrepresentation and Breach of Contract.

Basically he is claiming that the moderators didn't moderate the thread enough and allowed people to call him names.

3. Misfeasance

Claims that the forum hurt his reputation and hurt him financially.

4. Malfeasance

He is claiming that the forum knew they were breaking the law and didn't do anything to stop it.

5. Defamation

Claims that their accusations of "liar", "fraud" and that he required "mental help" without providing any proof of the accusation. Once again his claim is about damaging his reputation and financial damages.

6. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Apparently he has been hurt so badly by people on the Internet, who for all intents and purposes know nothing about him, that he loses sleep over it. He is arguing that the statements are still on the site and continue to damage his reputation.

7. Violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

He claims that they have violated his freedom of speech and the right to practise his religion.

8. Violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The forum has prevented him from practising his "religion" and he claims that they are a "religion" as well.

9. Conspiracy

Claims that they conspired to prevent him from exercising his rights to free speech and religion.

Now I think that for the claims that he has been hurt financially (counts 3,4,5) he will have trouble proving because you would have to determine how many people there were who didn't contribute to the thread (because the number of views doesn't differentiate between those contributing to the thread and those that don't), and then he would be assuming that those that looked at the thread would go to his website. I looked at the thread and went to his website to see what he was on about (I heard it was a tutorial to a game and thought it might be fun and then found out that it was quite serious without reading through the thread).

I have a funny feeling that the claims of defamation (namely count 5) probably won't stand up in court.

Count 6 is a bit odd. I don't know if he suffered what he suffered according to the count, however when the suit claims "[t]hose defamatory statements are still on the JREF site..." it paints a different impression as to what the facts state. The facts state that it went to the "abandon all hope" section. Regardless of what it says as a descriptor I would say that practically nobody goes there without a reason.

Count 7 is just a joke. I honestly hope that if there is a trial that people laugh when he claims that his right to free speech was violated. By the looks of it this suit is trying to censor free speech. I fail to see where the JREF prevented him from practising his faith. I don't know of any big conspiracy to remove his site from the Internet.

Count 8. Well all I can say there is that calling the JREF forum a "religion" is like Kent Hovind calling the Theory of Evolution a "religion". It makes even less sense when it claims that the JREF forum is "anti-religion". Now I know that the law doesn't use too much logic but
does that mean that the JREF forum hates itself?

Count 9 is probably the hardest to prove at all. I honestly doubt that there is any ongoing conspiracy to prevent him from posting there. If anything he has done that well enough himself by engaging in that suit.

Now we get to the punch line. The part where he makes the claim for money.

Compensatory and general damages, US$10 million
Punitive Damages, US$ 10 million

Not doing a Mastercard-like joke?

Yeah, I'm not answering that last one. He wants $20 million. If he wins he might as well go around claiming that he won the JREF Million Dollar Prize 20 times. It's idiotic to hear about claims like this. To a non-American like me it makes you wonder if this is common to the US. All I can say is that it is a stupid amount and I hope that the US Justice system sees the same thing.

As a side note, if the need arises I am more then willing to remove this post on request on the condition that I can repost it again at a later time.

Now playing: C.W. Stoneking - Don't Go Dancin Down The Darktown Strutter's Ball
via FoxyTunes

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