On May 19, 2010 the Honorable Joseph C. Spero granted defendant Azoogleads.com, Inc.’s motion for attorneys’ fees against ASIS Internet services in the amount of $806,978.84. Renowned spam law firm, Kronenberger Rosenfeld, represented Azoogleads.com in this proceeding. In 2005, ASIS had initiated a lawsuit against 20 defendants, alleging that all of the defendants, including Azoogleads.com, had procured the sending of several thousand unlawful commercial emails in violation of CAN-SPAM, 15 U.S.C. §7701 et seq. and California Business & Professions Code section 17529.5. The district court granted summary judgment to Azoogleads.com, finding that the plaintiff had not suffered the necessary adverse effects to maintain a CAN-SPAM action and that the plaintiff had offered no evidence that Azoogleads.com had known about let alone procured the emails at issue in the lawsuit. Azoogleads.com subsequently moved the Court for an award of fees. The court granted Azoogleads.com’s motion, finding:
Here, the Court concludes that while ASIS may not have acted out of bad faith in initiating litigation against Azoogle, it at least acted unreasonably. Even assuming ASIS might have reasonably believed when it initially named Azoogle as a defendant that it would be able to establish standing – a question that turned on an as-yet unresolved issue of law – there was never any evidence that Azoogle sent or procured the emails on which ASIS based its claims. Rather, it is apparent that ASIS sued Azoogle based on little more than speculation that there might be a connection between those emails and Azoogle. ASIS then continued to litigate even as its discovery efforts turned up no evidence in support of its claims against Azoogle. Having initiated over 20 similar actions, and sued over 20 defendants in this action alone, an award of attorneys’ fees here is necessary to deter ASIS and other plaintiffs hoping to profit under the CAN-SPAM Act from casting such a wide net. The Court also concludes that an award of fees advances the interests of compensation to the extent that Defendant Azoogle was forced to defend itself against ASIS’s groundless claims, resulting in years of litigation and over a million dollars in attorneys’ fees.
ASIS Internet Services v. Optin Global, et al., Case No. 05-5124 (N.D. Cal.) [D.E. 483]
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