Court Dismisses AOL Spam Suit

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A federal judge in Virginia dismissed a lawsuit brought by America Online against Florida computer technicians it accuses of conspiring to spam its users, the defendants' lawyers said Dec. 30.


U.S. District Court judge Claude Hilton dismissed the suit Dec. 24 on the basis that AOL improperly claimed Virginia was the correct venue for the charges since the defendants did not intend to do business there by sending e-mail to AOL users, according to Arlington, VA, law firm Albo & Oblon, which represented the computer technicians.


"The court's decision to dismiss AOL's lawsuit is an important decision that will impact all lawsuits brought in Virginia against out-of-state defendants for allegedly participating [in] or enabling bulk e-mail transmissions," Seth Berenzweig, a partner at the firm, said in a statement.


The dismissal is a setback in AOL's ongoing legal assault on spammers by using anti-spam laws in its home state of Virginia. AOL promised to fight on, saying the decision was "based on a mere technicality."


"AOL intends to take all steps necessary to hold these defendants responsible for their actions, and is prepared to amend its complaint in Virginia to include additional details showing these defendants are subject to suit in Virginia," AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said. "This ruling also does nothing to prevent these defendants from being sued in Florida."


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