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Author Topic: Turning the Tables on the Accuser: MyWebGrocer vs. Adlife Marketing  (Read 2931 times)

Matthew Chan

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In the past, ELI has covered the occasional turn-the-tables lawsuit where a supposed infringer feels so strongly in their own position, they file suit against the accuser! The case of MyWebGrocer vs. Adlife Marketing whereby MyWebGrocer seeks a declaratory ruling is an example of this turn-the-table lawsuit.  The accuser feels the wrath of the accused.

https://ia801509.us.archive.org/19/items/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347.docket.html

The complaint describes the interactions between the two companies whereby Adlife Marketing demanded payment, threatened to sue MyWebGrocer, and inform it's clients of purported copyright infringements. Apparently, MyWebGrocer did not like these threats. Instead of waiting around for a potential lawsuit and constantly being on the receiving end of threats, MyWebGrocer turned the tables by filing suit against Adlife Marketing.  (Oopsie, that wasn't supposed to happen or part of the plan...)

http://www.archive.org/download/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347.1.0.pdf

This lawsuit was initially covered by Robert Krausankas on Copyright-Trolls.com and he brought to my attention that the parties were being now being compelled into an ENE session (early neutral evaluation "mediation") in Vermont. The idea is to preserve the scarce time resources of the court by forcing the two parties to have a mediated conversation over the disputed matters to see if they can settle the matter without the court having to rule on the matter.

However, it appears Joel Albrizio, CEO of Adlife Marketing mildly objected and filed a motion for a telephonic or video conference as an alternative to a live appearance at the ENE session in Vermont. His core complaint being that it would be 4.5 hours one way to attend the mediation in additional to hotel accommodation. (I presume the 4.5 hours means the drive time from Rhode Island to Vermont.)

https://ia801509.us.archive.org/19/items/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347.19.1.pdf

The judge denied that motion and entered an order to force Albrizio to physically attend the ENE session in Vermonth to maximize the effectiveness of the session. IN fact, the judge seems to be very complimentary of the mediator and his experience. The order states that "both sides sit down together in the same room with principals present in good faith effort to resolved their differences, is a fixed requirement in virtually all cases.... A telephone call or a skype appearance is no substitutue."

https://ia801509.us.archive.org/19/items/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347.20.0.pdf

The court record shows May 12, 2017 at 10am as the time/date for the first ENE meeting. However, the court allows for the rescheduling of this meeting if there is an issue by either party. Depositions are due November 30, 2017. Expert witness reports are due by November 30, 2017. All discovery is to be completed by that date, also.

It appears that Adlife Marketing is going to have a very long year in 2017 as this case drags on. There appears to be a lot of discovery deadlines each side have agreed to.

https://ia801509.us.archive.org/19/items/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347.17.0.pdf

Joel Albrizio has a record of threatening people in "over-the-line" ways which has resulted in some fierce blowback in various fronts. Most closely related to ELI is the bullshit threats and actions Joel has taken against Robert and his apparently online smear campaign against Robert and his family on what we believe is Joel's Voices of Jupiter Florida website. 

It is my understanding that MyWebGrocer might be aware of Joel's shenanigans on Voices of Jupiter Florida. It certainly doesn't paint Joel or Adlife Marketing in a very credible or reputable light.

ON a different note, this case bears watching as it paints in painful detail what a savvy copyright infringement "defendant" can do towards an aggressive accuser.  This is why copyright extortionists should not reckless threats against another. When a threshold is crossed, it can get very ugly, indeed.

It is my guess that Joel, in his aggressive pursuit against MyWebGrocer, never foresaw that his actions could boomerang so viciously against Adlife Marketing.

But there are more and more people who are not standing around getting accused endlessly.  Some people bite back and file inconvenient countersuits.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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I can vouch first hand that MYWebGrocer is fully aware of the blog voices of jupiter florida.com, they are also fully aware of other events that took place including that Joel has hired on Higbee and Associates to send out their dirty demand letters.. MWG is also aware of the entire ISTOCK photo situation that was uncovered by a letter recipient.

Filing a declaratory lawsuit is a good idea to fight back threats if one has the funds and the where with all to follow through, which many don't.. Another tactic if you recieved a letter from Adlife and or Higbee , would be to enter a motion to intervene in the MyWebGrocer case. Anyone that received a letter certainly has a vested interest in the outcome of this case, and are thereby offered the opportunity and have the right to file this motion, which can be done for a relatively low cost, or even by oneself, with no fees..It just has to be done properly in order to be accepted into the court record. This counter-attack would likely stop Higbee in his tracks, while this case grinds its' way to a solution.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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I sincerely hope Joel Albrizio, shows his true colors when he appears for this mediation, hoping some of this will become public knowledge at some point..
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

Matthew Chan

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Well, since I have some first-hand knowledge of how to file pleadings pro se, private parties have a lot more discretion to file documents on their own behalf even if it is not their own case. HOWEVER, there has to be RELEVANCE and CONTEXT to what you file in the case, not some random pleading from out of left field.

Honestly, the average non-lawyer gets the most "freedom" in filing a signed affidavit with the Motion to Intervene or Declaration.

There is a good chance that a Motion to Intervene could get punted out procedurally.  But I don't care what most lawyers say.  Very few people can ignore a "pink elephant" once it has been seen. What that means is that no matter what anyone tells you to do to ignore, disregard, or "unsee" a "pink elephant", it cannot be unseen.

And regarding doing it the "right way", it comes mostly down to the Microsoft Word template where you have to get the caption correct.  Listing the court name in the heading, the parties, the case number, and making sure the pages are correctly margined and double-spaced.

In the past, I have been able to legitimately get things in front of a judge and communicate with them to see and read what I think is important by making such filings.

IN fact, DieTrollDie has made a number of Declarations incorporating affidavit style content ANONYMOUSLY in cases he was not a party in but felt the court and judge needed to be informed. He calls them launching "torpedoes" in a case.  https://dietrolldie.com/dtd-torpedos-declarations/

The opposing lawyer can object all they want to what is sent but the judge cannot "unsee" what has been filed.

And based on DTD's feedback, it seems the court welcomed some of the information it received. DTD's "torpedoes" are pretty good for a non-lawyer.

I can vouch first hand that MYWebGrocer is fully aware of the blog voices of jupiter florida.com, they are also fully aware of other events that took place including that Joel has hired on Higbee and Associates to send out their dirty demand letters.. MWG is also aware of the entire ISTOCK photo situation that was uncovered by a letter recipient.

Filing a declaratory lawsuit is a good idea to fight back threats if one has the funds and the where with all to follow through, which many don't.. Another tactic if you recieved a letter from Adlife and or Higbee , would be to enter a motion to intervene in the MyWebGrocer case. Anyone that received a letter certainly has a vested interest in the outcome of this case, and are thereby offered the opportunity and have the right to file this motion, which can be done for a relatively low cost, or even by oneself, with no fees..It just has to be done properly in order to be accepted into the court record. This counter-attack would likely stop Higbee in his tracks, while this case grinds its' way to a solution.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 11:26:01 PM by Matthew Chan »
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Greg Troy (KeepFighting)

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I agree, whether a motion to intervene is accepted or not it will be seen and cannot be unseen.  I believe a judge will also take notice if "other" parties who have been threatened, treated unjustly and attacked file these documents. 

I hope the judge is made aware of the history and track record of Mr. Albrizio and AdLife Marketing going after iStock customers after the images were pulled, knowing the letter recipients could no longer access copies of their receipts without contacting customer service.

I hope the judge is made aware that he is now pulled his images from creative outlet as well.

 I hope the judge is made aware of the threats Mr. Albrizio made against Robert.

I hope the judge is made aware of the Voices of Jupiter Florida (VOJF) blog, if they look at it they will see the tactics used by Mr. Albrizio in attempts to make good on his threats to "destroy someone and ruin their life"as well as innocent and uninvolved family members. And should Mr. Albrizio all of a sudden start feeling self-conscious about his actions and remove VOJF I'm sure there are several people who have full screen captures of every article and threats made. ;)

I hope the judge is made aware of Higbee's involvement.

I am going to be following this case very closely.



Every situation is unique, any advice or opinions I offer are given for your consideration only. You must decide what is best for you and your particular situation. I am not a lawyer and do not offer legal advice.

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Matthew Chan

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Latest development on the Webgrocer vs. Adlife case. 

Attorney Gregory Howard of Donovan O'Connor & Dodig LLP (Bennington, VT) filed a motion to withdraw on behalf of himself, Kenyon D. Colli and Jack Pirozzolo of Sidley Austin (Boston, MA) in the WebGrocer case. The whole legal team is leaving.

The motion states that "Adlife no longer wishes to be represented by the above counsel. Adlife intends for substitute counsel to file an appearance with this court in short order".

The lawyers seems to have gone out of their way to step aside quickly and allow Adlife's new legal team to make their entrance.

On its face, the appearance is that Adlife Marketing (CEO Joel Albrizio) is firing his legal team. But part of me wonders if the legal team wanted to get out of the case and simply a bullet in the motion's narrative with this face-saving motion.

Either way, the motion was written elegantly and appears to be a professional exit by the outgoing lawyers.

It will be interesting to see who and what law firm(s) replaces these three lawyers.

Recently, Mathew Higbee & Associates (based in California) took on Adlife's copyright collection business. Will they make an entrance as "pro hac vice" (out of state) lawyers and take the lead?  Or will it be someone else?  And what Vermont lawyer is willing to step up to be local counsel?

Should be very interesting.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Matthew Chan

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In the interest of fairness, I have gone back to the review the docket more carefully.

https://ia801509.us.archive.org/19/items/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347/gov.uscourts.vtd.27347.docket.html

Although MyWebGrocer initially went on the offense, Adlife Marketing is punching back by filing their own counter-claim against MyWebGrocer.  Essentially, if Adlife Marketing ever had the intention of filing a lawsuit against MyWebGrocer, they saved themselves the $400 filing fee.

MyWebGrocer appears to be claiming that they got their licenses through a combination of the acquisition of Nexpansion in 2003 as well as their own recent purchases from an image agency. There were five images in this dispute but it seems by the counter-claim it has narrowed down somewhat to three images where Adlife is saying they can find no license agreement of the three images for either MyWebGrocer or Nexpansion.

Adlife states that it isn't even possible for MyWebGrocer to license a "pork rib" photo because it was never made available to anyone to license and resell.

This case is going to get messy because most companies (even if they source all images properly on the up and up) are not likely to have every shred of email receipt and document to prove they properly paid for it. This is further complicated by the fact that Adlife made their images available then terminated the relationship.

As Robert of Copyright-Trolls.com previously reported, even people who legitimately bought their images from iStock (part of Getty Images) have to fight pretty hard and rely on iStock's goodwill help to retrieve records of their previous Adlife image purchases.

We crack on Getty Images all the time for what they do but even I would be forced to admit everything I have heard from people caught up in the Adlife / iStock mess, iStock seems to have generated a great deal of goodwill in their effort to help their customers against Adlife accusations of copyright infringement.
I'm a non-lawyer but not legally ignorant either. Under the 1st Amendment, I have the right to post facts & opinions using rhetorical hyperbole, colloquialisms, metaphors, parody, snark, or epithets. Under Section 230 of CDA, I'm only responsible for posts I write, not what others write.

Robert Krausankas (BuddhaPi)

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What I find most interesting in this case, is that in the original demand letters, Adlife ? Joel Albrizio basically threatens to sue the clients of MyWebGrocer, if they don't pay...Sure sounds like blackmail / extortion to me.. much like Joel Albrizio holds the voices of jupiter florida blog over my head.." take down copyright-trolls.com and we'll remove VOJF.. A distinct pattern in my eyes.
Most questions have already been addressed in the forums, get yourself educated before making decisions.

Any advice is strictly that, and anything I may state is based on my opinions, and observations.
Robert Krausankas

I have a few friends around here..

 

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