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Spamhaus Victory in Final Appeal in E360 Case

2011-09-05 13:25:00 UTC, by Quentin Jenkins
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On the 2nd September 2011 Spamhaus was successful in its final appeal which reduced a baseless $11.7 million default judgment down to $3 (three dollars). Twice before, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit had vacated judgments made by an Illinois District Court which had twice awarded fabricated 'lost profits' to an Illinois-based spammer.

In 2006 the spam sender, David Linhardt of now-defunct email marketing company E360 Insight LLC, had filed a lawsuit in the US State of Illinois against UK-based Spamhaus Project after Spamhaus had repeatedly listed IP addresses associated with E360 on the Spamhaus Block List (SBL) for sending vast volumes of spam to Spamhaus users. E360 had set up an array of shell companies to hide behind while sending millions of spam emails to promote counterfeit products sold on an E360-owned website, "". E360 spam was notorious not only for its volume and the ever-changing shell companies used to hide E360 as the source, but also for much of it being sent illegally via PCs all over the world.

Rather than just ignoring the baseless suit, UK-based Spamhaus engaged a US law firm to have the case simply dismissed for obvious lack of jurisdiction, but the firm it hired was inexperienced with international law and federal court rules and made a serious procedural blunder which appeared to allow federal Judge Charles Kocoras to sidestep the glaring lack of jurisdiction issue and skip directly to issuing a default judgment in Spamhaus's absence. Legal experts deemed the resulting $11.7 million default judgment 'insane' but irreversible because of the lost jurisdiction technicality. The law firm that had made the blunder had no idea how to recover from the position or how to move forward and were dismissed.

Enter Jenner & Block LLP, the formidable Chicago-based law firm. Jenner & Block offered to represent Spamhaus pro-bono to appeal the $11.7 million default judgment. Jenner & Block lawyers embarked on an appeals case from a position most legal experts had said was impossible and with remarkable skill and logic succeeded first in vacating the $11.7 million award and then, when the District Court issued a new and again unfounded $27,000 award, appealed for a second time to reduce the new award to the minimum possible token value of just three dollars.

The Final Judgment by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit for the second time vacates the District Court's ruling and remands the case to the District Court with instructions to reduce the judgment to the token amount of just three dollars. In addition, all legal costs for the appeal were granted in favor of the Spamhaus Project.

The spam company, E360 Insight, went out of business in 2008 or 2009, after it had filed a series of 'SLAPP' lawsuits against internet users who had complained of receiving spam and called the company a "spammer" and suit against US national internet service provider Comcast for blocking spam E360 was sending to Comcast customer email addresses. Losing all of the cases, E360 was then formally called a "spammer" by Illinois Federal Judge Zagel in his order finding for the defendant Comcast.

The US Court of Appeals Final Judgment is here: pdf

A history of the E360 v. Spamhaus Project lawsuit is available at:
Case Answer: e360Insight vs. The Spamhaus Project

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Spamhaus Victory in Final Appeal in E360 Case

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