Gordon Law Moves Court to File Counterclaim against FTC
DOTAuthority.com and Affiliates Move to File Counterclaim Against the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) for Defamation and Tortious Interference
March 21, 2017 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Gordon Law Group announced today that is has moved the court on behalf of clients DOTAuthority, Inc. et al.(“Plaintiffs”) for leave to file a counterclaim against the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) alleging defamation and tortious interference (CIVIL ACTION NUMBER: 0:16-cv-62186-WJZ) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
According to court documents, the Plaintiffs moved to file an action for declaratory and injunctive relief against the FTC on Monday, March 20, 2017 to correct press releases, blog posts, a scam alert listing, and public comments by the FTC and/or its designated representatives, that are alleged to have severely injured the Plaintiffs’ reputation and revenue streams. The Counterclaim also asserts a cause of action for the FTC’s alleged tortious interference with Plaintiffs’ business relationships.
Court documents state the newly filed countersuit arises from the FTC’s original September 2016 lawsuit alleging that DOTAuthority.com and its affiliates engaged in deceptive business practices by misleading consumers into believing DOTAuthority.com was affiliated with a governmental entity (CIVIL ACTION NUMBER: 0:16-cv-62186-WJZ) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Plaintiffs’ court filing states that there were pre-existing and adequate good faith disclaimers on DOTAuthority.com’s marketing materials, websites, and shopping carts that stated the company is a third party and “not the Department of Transportation.”
According to the court’s case history, on September 15, 2016, the FTC obtained an ex parte temporary restraining order without DOTAuthority.com’s knowledge, freezing the personal and business assets of DOTAuthority.com and its owner James Lamb, and imposing a court-appointed receiver to wrest control of the business away from Lamb during the pendency of the proceedings; court documents further show the Federal court then took witness testimony from Lamb on September 28, 2016, overruling the FTC’s objections, and heard arguments from Gordon Law Group, all of which, according to court documents, highlighted that: (i) the FTC’s ex parte request for an asset freeze and receivership was improvident; (ii) the FTC acted inappropriately by implying that exigent circumstances existed when, in fact, no emergency ever existed; and (iii) DOTAuthority.com was an established, bona fide business that was both legitimate and helpful to hundreds of thousands of customers nationwide who relied on DOTAuthority.com for their interstate common motor carrier registrations and annual permits.
Gordon Law Group prevailed at the September 29, 2016 hearing, immediately lifting $4 million in previously-frozen assets and terminating the receivership. A greatly modified preliminary injunction issued, however, the restrictions of the injunction were entirely acceptable to Plaintiffs and, in fact, were virtually identical to those restrictions voluntarily offered to the FTC by Gordon Law Group prior to the evidentiary hearing
In specific, DOTAuthority.com’s March 20, 2017 Counterclaim court filing against the FTC alleges that several of the FTC pre-trial publications at issue falsely characterized Plaintiffs as “scammers” and “crooks,” and exaggerate the Plaintiffs’ culpability by using inflammatory language in the absence of a final judgment.
The countersuit specifically alleges that the FTC’s publications intentionally mischaracterize the substance of the September 29, 2016 court order, causing proximate and irreparable injury to the Defendants’ reputations and revenues.
According to one of the members of DOTAuthority.com’s legal team, Attorney Andrew Gordon:
“The FTC’s publications at issue in the Counterclaim collectively mischaracterize the substance of the September 29, 2016 Preliminary Injunction Order, causing proximate and irreparable injury to the Defendants’ reputations and revenues.”
DOTAuthority.com is represented by attorneys Andrew Gordon, Aaron Wiener, and Bradley Gross. The FTC is represented by attorneys Karen S. Hobbs, Danielle Estrada, Connell McNulty and Collot Guerard. The case is expected to go to trial in October 2017.