DOTAuthority.com and Affiliates Move to File Counterclaim Against the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) for Alleged Defamation and Tortious Interference

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DOTAuthority.com’s March 20, 2017 counterclaim against the FTC alleges that the FTC’s pretrial publications intentionally mischaracterize the substance of the previous September 29, 2016 court order, causing proximate and irreparable injury to the Defendants’ reputations and revenues.

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. --Andrew Gordon

Corporate Plaintiffs DOTAuthority.com, Inc., DOTfilings.com, Inc., Excelsior Enterprises International, Inc., and JPL Enterprises International, Inc. and Individual Plaintiffs James P. Lamb, and Uliana Bogash (collectively, the "Plaintiffs") announced today that they have moved the court 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, scam alert listings, and public comments by the FTC and/or its designated representatives, that are alleged to have severely injured the reputation and revenue of the Individual and Corporate Plaintiffs. The Counterclaim also asserts a cause of action for the FTC’s alleged tortious interference with Corporate 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 FTC's objections, and heard arguments from DOTAuthority.com’s counsel, all of which, according to court documents, highlighted the assertion 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.

The court record reflects that the Federal Judge immediately lifted the asset freeze and receivership after hearing on September 29, 2016 and a greatly modified preliminary injunction issued that essentially required DOTAuthority.com to make certain client notifications and adopt an enhanced court-prescribed disclaimer in place of DOTAuthority.com's original disclaimer language.

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.

DOTAuthority.com is represented by attorneys Andrew Gordon 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.

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Andrew Gordon, Esq.