Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dodge City: the Undead

Three times I have laid this thing to rest and moved on. So what do I get in my email this morning?

I refer to my mail to you of 12th September.

Can you please provide me with an address where the summons referred to below may be served on you.

Should you fail to provide the required information, a tracing agent will be recruited to secure the necessary information. The tracing agent's costs will be for your account should the action against you be successful.

If you are innocent as claimed, you clearly have no reason for concern.

My last email to him stated: If you really want this removed, contact Food24 and have them check their records as to who posted it. If you fail to take this action, it can be construed that you do not want it removed, you are just seeking ways to further harass me. How do I know that YOU didn’t post it in an attempt to extract money from me?

Now…see if you can figure out what this guy wants from me:

I’ve gone to the Food24 site (http://www.food24.com/Restaurant/0,,3630,00.html )and the bad review is gone;

on 13 September he posted the following on the Food24 site: Apologies for your poor service experience at Dodge City V&A Lauren. We welcome customer feedback and are committed to providing the highest possible level of service to our patrons. We would really appreciate receiving more detail regarding your experience in order that we can make amends to you and prevent a reoccurrence thereof. Kind regards, Dodge City Management. (Lauren in the name of the person who posted the bad review);

The Food24 site states: We'll never display your email address however for your review to be posted it must be valid, so obviously they can track the review back to the originator.

Since the originator was not me…nor anyone I know (don’t know anyone named Lauren), and he can verify with Food24 that I am not the originator…just what is his agenda here?

How do I know he didn’t post that review in an attempt to create a stronger case for himself vis-à-vis extorting money from me? He has abandoned his tactic of accusing me of posting false information on my blog…because he can’t provide any examples, perhaps?...and is now vigorously paddling only this boat. He can’t prove a thing…there is nothing to prove…but defending against a lawsuit, even when innocent of charges, costs money.

So I am pondering how to respond. He has no case, but even that will cost to defend against. Perhaps I should respond demanding the names and addresses of the employees who slandered me with accusations of loud public altercations and unreasonable abuse of my husband? Or point out that I have a file of his harassing emails, false accusations, and refusals to reveal the alleged faults, thereby preventing me from correcting anything? Perhaps I should point out that the court will require him to prove I posted (or abetted in the posting) of the review, that he will have to show the court the address of the poster (from News24…he can subpoena the info) and then prove that I have any kind of association with that person? Since he can’t, the court is then bound to view this as a frivolous and malicious lawsuit, which they don’t like.

I dunno…maybe I should email him with

“You are threatening me with a frivolous and malicious lawsuit and attempting to use the courts to extort money from me. You are harassing me with the clear intent of lining your own pockets and with a further, veiled, intent of penalizing me for refusing to remove unflattering statements about your restaurant from my blog.

“You can prove nothing because there is nothing to prove. To claim compensation for damages, you cannot present the court with a thumb-sucked figure and wild-eyed estimate of loss of revenue. You will have to prove loss…right down to the last rand…and then you will have to prove that I was responsible. Speculation is not good enough, especially since Food24 is in possession of the email address of the reviewer…and I guarantee it is not me or anyone I know.

“Since Food24 has taken down the review, it is reasonable to assume you have been in contact with them: any basis you might have had for complaint in this matter is now resolved.

“Food24 requires reviewers to post a valid email address and you have had ample opportunity to confirm with them that the reviewer’s email address was not mine. I strongly suggest that you do not attempt to bring litigation on speculation: prove to yourself, using the same standard the court will require (that email address and a link of some kind between me and the reviewer, for example) that I bear any culpability before proceeding.

“My causes for concern are these: you are wasting a great deal of my time with kak, time I could put to better use elsewhere; you are harassing me…this is my fourth attempt to lay this to rest and you won’t let it go; you are attempting to penalize me for exercising a protected right; and you are about to cost me money in the form of defence fees.

“Surely you know the courts take a dim view of frivolous and malicious suits such as what you are threatening to bring: you have no basis for complaint; there is no way to connect me with the reviewer because there is no connection; you have thumbsucked a damage amount rather than presented a claim along with proof of my culpability; you have made no effort to resolve this outside of the courts. Do you really think that, under these circumstances, a magistrate can find in your favour?

“Do not contact me further in this regard. If you persist in harassing me, I will refer this matter to my attorneys to bring charges.”

I’m still thinking about it…

*************************

OK, I thought about it...here's is what I sent back as a reply:

Food24 will not post a review unless the reviewer submits a valid email address...so it is very easy for you to verify if one of my email addresses was the originator. If you do not undertake a sincere effort…including use of a subpoena, if necessary…to verify who actually posted the review and then establish an incontrovertible connection between the reviewer and myself, then it can be logically construed that you are not interested in the truth, you are interested in harassing and/or extracting money from me.

Further contact from you in this matter will be considered harassment and may be referred to my attorneys for action.

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