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Spamhaus Ignores 'Invalid' US Court Ruling

by Robin Pilgrim,, London

20 September 2006

UK-based anti-spam organisation, Spamhaus has stated that it intends to ignore an $11 million ruling against it delivered recently in an Illinois court.

The case was brought by David Linhardt, chief executive of e360 Insight, who filed the lawsuit after Spamhaus blocked his e-mails to its users.

Because Spamhaus declined to participate in the US proceedings, a default judgement was obtained ordering the company to pay Linhardt damages, to remove Linhardt's Register Of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) record and to cease blocking his e-mails.

In a statement released following delivery of the judgement, Spamhaus announced that:

"A lawsuit filed in an Illinois court by David Linhardt (aka e360 Insight LLC) against The Spamhaus Project Ltd., a British-based organisation over which the Illinois court had no jurisdiction, went predictably to default judgement when Spamhaus did not accept US jurisdiction."

"To get the bogus 'SLAPP' (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) lawsuit case accepted in Illinois, David Linhardt had fabricated that Spamhaus "operates business in Illinois". Illinois District Court Judge Charles Kocoras failed to seek proof and erroneously ruled his Illinois Discrict Court had jurisdiction over the United Kingdom."

"Default judgments obtained in US County, State or Federal courts have no validity in the United Kingdom and can not be enforced under the British legal system. A Plaintiff seeking to have such an order enforced must re-file the case in a British court of law and prove jurisdiction, as well as the small matter of proving the rest of the case."

"The invalid default judgement awards compensatory damages totaling $11,715,000.00, orders Spamhaus to permanently remove Linhardt's ROKSO record, orders Spamhaus to lie by posting a notice stating that Linhardt is "not a spammer" and orders Spamhaus to cease blocking spam sent by Linhardt."

"Although meaningless for Spamhaus, which as a British organization not subject to Illinois court orders is listing Linhardt's company E360 Insight on its SBL spam blocklist as usual, the Illinois ruling shows that US courts can be bamboozled by spammers with ease. As spamming is illegal in the United Kingdom, an Illinois court ordering a British organization to stop blocking incoming Illinois spam in Britain goes contrary to UK law which orders all spammers to cease sending spam in the first place."

"Spamhaus had advised Mr Linhardt from the start that a US judgement would be invalid outside of the United States and that he would need to re-file his case in the United Kingdom."

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