Dating Site Sued Competitor For Defamation

academic defamation lawsuits
An online business thought their competitor was behind a so-called “suck site”, so it sued.

A pair of mail-order bride websites – Anastasia International and EM Models (dba, Elena’s Models) — went toe-to-toe in court. By way of a lawsuit, Anastasia accused EM of false advertising, trademark infringement, and defamation, alleging the latter commissioned a so-called “suck site,”  EM Models denied the claim. In the end, a judge sided with the defendant because the plaintiff couldn’t produce enough evidence.

Dating Site Sues Competitor For Defamation

Anastasia International is a fee-based online dating service featuring women from Russia and Ukraine. It’s based in Kentucky, with offices in New York. In May, the site filed a lawsuit against a competitor, EM Models. Why? Well, executives at Anastasia were convinced that EM had paid Juha Natunen to create, a website accusing Anastasia’s women of stringing men along with the intention of “breaking their hearts” in the end.

Anastasia sued for defamation, false advertising and trademark infringement.

Could A Link On The Suck Site Work In Favor Of The Plaintiff?

Apparently, when Anastasia International filed the lawsuit, someone removed a link on that led to EM Models. During the proceedings, the judge said the removal of the link was the “strongest factual claim bolstering [Anastasia’s] argument” that EM paid to have the site created. In the end, though, the judge decided that “such an allegation of temporal proximity is not enough to show any connection or communication whatsoever, let alone an agency relationship, between Juha Natunen and EM Online. In other words: a link is not proof enough that EM hired Natunen to build the site.

The court ordered Anastasia to pay Elena Model’s attorney fees.

Vengeance Is Not A Good Look

“Hey, why didn’t Anastasia sue the website operator, Juha Natunen, for defamation instead of just suing competitor EM Models?” If that thought crossed your mind, you’re not alone. The judge in the case considered this question, ultimately reasoning that Anastasia’s refusal to drop EM Models from the lawsuit smacked of “a competitive ploy.”

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