This information is old (from early June), but since I have so many people reaching my site with searches related to Flip This House, I thought I’d print it anyway.
I wrote previously about the lawsuit between A&E and Richard Davis of Trademark Properties here and here. Most of my information was derived from a website called Flip This Lawsuit. The owner of that site summarized a June 6 hearing on summary judgment motions made by A&E. Essentially, A&E said that no written contract existed between them and Davis/Trademark, and that the verbal contract wasn’t what Davis claims it is.
Important issues decided during this hearing, per Flip This Lawsuit:
- Contract issues will be decided under New York law.
- The court believes an oral contract did not exist between the parties, but a jury may decide that one did exist. If they do, it will be enforceable.
- A summary judgment was not issued.
- Discovery will not be restricted, and Davis will be allowed to see information regarding financial matters.
And then the judge went on to discuss the Flip This Lawsuit site. I didn’t ever get the impression that the site was trying to “influence” the lawsuit. Rather, it seemed that the author was just making information available on a topic of interest to him.
From the court transcript:
One other thing I was not going to mention today, because I just thought it might be best to ignore it, but upon reflection, I think it’s a matter of such seriousness that I do need to mention it.
It’s been brought to my attention that there is a web blog entitled Flip This Lawsuit. I haven’t looked at that blog, I haven’t studied it to see what it says. I have been told what it says.
Now, I’ve never had this happen before, and I consider it a very, very serious matter. At first blush, it appears to me to be an attempt to influence this lawsuit in an improper way. We can’t tell what’s happening there until we draw a jury.
But at some point in time, if I’m convinced that that has been the result of such a blog, in other words, if we have jurors that come in here and they’ve read that blog, and upon reading that, they cannot give the defendants a fair trial, then that is a serious matter, and it will be considered by such as this court. And an appropriate punishment and sanctions will be handed out. I’m not sure what those will be. I think you lawyers know that if you did that, what would happen to you, you would probably be looking for another profession. So that’s how I feel about that.
Now, whether what’s going on that blog is of such a nature that it in and of itself, whether members of the public read it and act on it or not, warrants a sanction by this court, and some sort of obstruction of justice, some sort of contempt of this court, I don’t know. But it’s because of those consequences that I see fit to bring this to your attention. This is a serious matter. This is a serious court. And we will not permit its function to be undermined in such an unseemly fashion.
Now, who is responsible for that blog? I don’t know. It may be that I’ll have to ask the FBI to look into it. It may be I’ll have to ask the U.S. Attorney to get the grand jury to look into it, I don’t know. Those are things down the road. But it seems to me that the information I have certainly shows that the defendants don’t have their name on this blog and that the plaintiff does.
And I would think that good, prudent action on his part would have gotten it off of there a long time ago. And that’s all I’m going to say on that. But when we get to the end of this case at some point, we’ll look at it again and see who is responsible; what the effects are and what action we should take.
But it just felt like that it is such a serious matter and such an unthinkable thing for a litigant to do in this court, that it needed to be commented on. I mean, we are not in Boy Scout camp; we are in serious court here and we don’t do business that way. And I’m not going to permit litigants in this case to do business in that way. Okay?
Thank you very much. We’ll be in recess.
In fact, the author makes it clear that he’s not affiliated with any parties involved in the lawsuit. He says that he was upset by what A&E (allegedly) did to Davis and Trademark Properties, that he has given all parties the opportunity to submit information for publication, and that all of his information is publicly available via public court records and other sources.