Like many, Beverly Stayart was curious about what she would find when she put her name into a search engine. In this case it was Yahoo. To her dismay, the comprehensive search results eventually contained links to websites and advertisements that she found shameful. She then sued Yahoo and the other defendants alleging trademark infringement and a host of state law claims. The district court dismissed her complaint, finding she lacked standing under the Lanham Act to sue for trademark infringement. She appeals, and because we agree that Stayart lacks standing under the Lanham Act, we affirm.Despite losing that particular lawsuit, Stayart kept at it. She sued Yahoo! and Google in federal court based entirely on Wisconsin state law claims. Those claims, however, were dismissed as well (as noted in the update to the previous post).
Still, Stayart persisted. Having lost on the merits in her federal cases against Yahoo! and Google, she filed suit against Various, Inc. (d/b/a AdultFriendFinder) in Wisconsin state court. Various had been a defendant in the the Lanham Act case that the Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of back in 2010. The state law claims had been pleaded there, too, premised on "supplemental jurisdiction," but Judge Randa declined to exercise it after the federal claim was dismissed. He also refused to let Stayart amend her complaint to allege diversity jurisdiction because "it does not seem likely that Stayart could make a good faith allegation that her damages are more than $75,000."
After being served with the state court case, Various promptly removed the case to federal court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Stayart sought remand based on the court's previous finding that there was less than $75,000 in controversy. That set up an interesting issue. Previously, Stayart had argued that more than $75,000 was in controversy and Various had argued that less tahn $75,000 was in controversy—but now their positions were reversed!
Under the circumstances, the judge (Judge JP Stadtmueller, this time) found that Various was collaterally estopped to argue that the amount in controversy was more than $75,000. So the case was remanded to state court.
Once remanded, Various moved to dismiss the case on the merits. But that motion to dismiss has been denied—giving Stayart her first substantive victory in her many years of litigation. Based on the docket, the case now appears to be mired in discovery hell. Just last week, the defendants filed a motion to compel the deposition of Ms. Stayart, who seems to have, um, left the jurisdiction. The judge granted that motion, ordering that Ms. Stayart appear for a deposition in Milwaukee and explicitly threatening to dismiss the complaint if she does not.
Now, if you've clicked through to read my previous post, you may have noticed that there are a few unusual comments recently left by Anonymous (that noted Internet provocateur), such as this reply to a comment by Mr. Gillette but probably directed at me:
You are just a techie with Aspberger's syndrome, the same defect that the shooter in the Connecticut massacre had. Techies are genetically defective monsters among whom Aspberger's syndrome is rampant. Aspberger's syndrome is widespread in Silicon Valley because so many socially and intellectually inferior rejects move there.In other comments, Anonymous provides updates on Ms. Stayart's legal campaign:
Judge Rudolph Randa of Milwaukee federal court authorized Bev Stayart to proceed with her claims against Various, d/b/a AdultFriendFinder in state court in Wisconsin. After filing suit in state court, Judge James Carlson ruled in April, 2012 that Bev Stayart had stated a cause of action for violation of the Wisconsin privacy statute and authorized Bev Stayart's case against Various to go forward. Various' motion to dismiss Bev Stayart's lawsuit was denied by Judge James Carlson. Judge Carlson ruled that none of Various' defenses were valid. The Janesville Gazette in Janesville, Wisconsin, and Walworth County Today have both reported Bev Stayart's lawsuit. You cannot suppress the truth.And:
Judge Randa authorized Stayart to go forward with her lawsuit in state court, which is exactly what she did. You apparently make up the "facts" as you go along. Your posts are riddled with lies.You can judge for yourself whether the the accusations against me in these comments are true. But while it is true (as described above) that Stayart's case is proceeding in Walworth County, Anonymous's factual account is not quite correct. It is not true that "Judge Randa authorized Stayart to go forward with her claims in state court." The judge—and it was actually Judge Stadtmueller, not Judge Randa—merely remanded the case upon a finding that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the Wisconsin state law claims because Stayart's alleged damages are so inconsequential. There was no ruling on the merits, and federal judges cannot "authorize" lawsuits in state court. That said, in the second previous federal case against Yahoo!, which was based exclusively on state law, Judge Adelman did rule that the state law claims were implausible and granted a motion dismissing them on the merits.
I will try to keep an eye on this case, and let our Reader(s)™ know how it turns out. After all, I wouldn't want to suppress such an important truth.