Ripoff Report sued for failing to remove negative postings
A Texas couple has file a lawsuit against Ripoff Report and its owner Ed Magedson alleging Magedson failed to remove negative postings from his website. Danny and Kristin Cobb brought the action late last year.
According to court documents, the defendants have been notified of a lawsuit pending in Harris County, Texas, which included a restraining order specifically stating that Michael Hourihan is restraining from posting anything negative about plaintiffs, having been provided a copy of the restraining order. Defendants were properly notified to remove the negative posting, but have refused to do the same and after being notified have allowed subsequent negative posts by Hourihan. The case is ongoing with defendant, who has been served via posting on his known address. He has not responded to the lawsuit.
The case evolves around the plaintiffs’ business that works with people who can no longer afford to pay for timeshares by having them bought back by the seller. Plaintiff Ez Exit Now, LLC hired Hourihan to work as an inside associate for the company on or about August 16, 2017. He presented that was eligible for employment in the United States and his resume showing over 15 years experience to match the job qualifications presented by the plaintiffs.
Upon agreeing to the terms of employment, Hourihan signed acknowledgement of the employee handbook and also signed an employment agreement wherein he agreed to certain terms and conditions of the employment, including a non-disclosure or confidentiality section including but not limited to the following specific writing:
“…Employee agrees not to use, disclose or communicate, proprietary or confidential information about Employer, its operations, customers, or any other proprietary or confidential information, that relate to Employer’s business.”
Hourihan threatened to sue the plaintiffs and that he was going to expose the plaintiff claiming they are doing illegal work. He said he was going to make sure they paid for it. On Friday September 22, 2017 he was paid but it was for less because as he did not comply with the terms of the contract regarding necessary appointments and hours worked. After he got his check he threatened plaintiffs’ staff, through emails, yelling, text messages and other threats. He also threatened that he would be going after the business, on Friday September 22, 2017, as he threatened to take down the company website and replace it with a pornographic site. Then on Sunday September 24, 2017, he posted a false, defamatory and malicious statement on Rip Off report.
On October 12, 2017, defendants were notified that a lawsuit was filed against Hourihan and that an injunction had been issued regarding negative postings on the internet. A demand to remove the posting was made but no response was made nor was the posting removed.
The lawsuit further alleges that after notice of the injunction was provided, Magedson allowed further postings to be made by Hourihan. On Wednesday October 25, 2017 the original reporter, Hourihan reposted, and it was allowed even though there is a restraining order against him. He has continued to post even after Wednesday October 25, 2017
Fraud and Misrepresentation
The lawsuit lists the elements of a cause of action as: (1) that a material representation was made; (2) the representation was false; (3) when the representation was made, the speaker knew it was false or made it recklessly without any knowledge of the truth and as a positive assertion; (4) the speaker made the representation with the intent that the other party should act upon it; (5) the party acted in reliance on the representation; and (6) the party thereby suffered injury.
Court documents allege Magedson allowed the publication of statements and information, refusing to remove it after being provided with copies of duly executed and effective restraining orders, further allowing the same individual to post additional comments after having notice that he is restrained from doing so, thus allowing the publication in the internet of clear misrepresentations and omissions of material facts that the plaintiffs have a pending lawsuit and that Michael Hourihan has a restraining order against him from posting said information.
Magedson having this information have and due refuse to remove the postings perpetuating a fraud upon the plaintiffs and that plaintiffs have been injured as a direct and proximate result of the foregoing fraud in an amount in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of the court, in a minimum amount of $185,000. Additionally, these acts were committed willfully and wantonly, and accordingly, plaintiffs are entitled to recover punitive damages in an amount to be determined by a trier of fact. Plaintiffs seek recovery of those damages from defendant.
The plaintiffs request the court enter an Order immediately restraining the Defendant RIPOFF REPORT AND ED MAGEDSON and any of their agents, assigns, or beneficiaries, from the following:
(a) A temporary restraining order be issued without notice to Defendants RIPOFF REPORT AND ED MAGEDSON, restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, and employees, from posting or allowing any posting that is negative as against Ez Exit Now, LLC.
(b) A temporary restraining order be issued without notice to Defendants RIPOFF REPORT AND ED MAGEDSON, ordering them to removed all posting that is negative as against Ez Exit Now, LLC as published by Michael Hourihan.
(b) The Defendants RIPOFF REPORT AND ED MAGEDSON be cited to appear and show cause, and that on hearing, a temporary injunction be issued enjoining Defendant RIPOFF REPORT AND ED MAGEDSON, their agents, servants, and employees, from posting or allowing any posting that is negative as against Ez Exit Now, LLC., removing the negative postings that have been made in violation of the restraining order in the Harris County, District Court case, or on other conditions as this Honorable Court deems equitable.
Magedson has not responded to the lawsuit. A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for March 9.