Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another Look At Barbara Bauer's Complaint

I slept all afternoon and now I'm wide awake again, waiting for my meds to kick in so I'm going to continue looking at the people Barbara Bauer named as defendants in her civil case filed Janu-
ary 8, 2008. See my previous post for the first half of the list.

We left off with Dave Kuzminski of the Preditors and Editors (P&E) website. The rest of the list is:

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA) is
a non-profit association of professionally published authors of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Their website is here.

Victoria C. Strauss maintains the Writers Beware website at SFWA here.

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is a "non-profit charitable organization . . . [that] operates several online collaborative
wiki projects including Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks (including Wikijunior), Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wikimedia Incubator and Meta-Wiki."

Up until now, I've recognized the names listed in the lawsuit. The following names were not known to me, and I've had to rely on language from the lawsuit to describe who they are:

According to Ms. Bauer's lawsuit, Thomas S. Tully "has at times relevant to this lawsuit owned and operated P&E [Preditors & Editors]."

According to the lawsuit, in or about November, 2006, Shweta Narayan "published a paper and abstract which contained numerous false and defamatory statements about . . . Bauer . . . including, but not limited to, referring to plaintiff as 'a literary agent Lesia Valentine AW [Absolute Write] had exposed as a
scam artist,' and stating that '... Bauer claims to be a real literary agent...' and is a 'well known scam artist.' On November 4, 2006, Narayan repeated her false and defamatory statements in a public talk at the University of California, San Diego."

Lesia Valentine "produced the You Tube videos about Barbara Bauer entitled 'Crouching Snark, Hidden Dragon' and 'Miss Snark's Happy Hooker Crapstravaganza,' featuring defendant Snark, which belittle and defame . . . plaintiff Barbara Bauer."

"In or about May 2006 [Christina] Walden registered and began
to operate a website called 20 worstagents.com, the very purpose of which was to defame plaintiffs and other literary agents. In a malicious attempt to injure plaintiffs personally and profes-
sionally Walden posted an indecent and defamatory photo of plaintiff Bauer superimposed on a list of agents . . ."

Stephan Spencer is the founder of WritersNet here.

Kristen Fischer is a freelance writer who writes a blog called Written Out Loud here.

Gregory Ludwig describes himself as an editor and occasional writer. Bauer names him as a defendant because of his blog webusers.warrick.net. While that blog is no longer accessible, a document by Ludwig is available here.

Bauer's complaint against Aimee Amodio is less specific than her complaints about the other defendants. The lawsuit alleges that Amodio "has published and continues to publish numerous false and defamatory statements about plaintiff. . ."

After figuring out who the people involved were, I did some more looking. It appears that Bauer filed her original complaint in the U.S. District Court (federal court) in New Jersey on 9/20/07. You can read it here.

The Second Amended Complaint was filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey (state court) in Monmouth County, New Jersey on 1/31/08. You can read it here.

There were more differences than just the shift from federal to state court. In the first complaint, Bauer named seventeen defendants (including some joint names) and then named them again in alleged conspiracies. Among the defendants named was Miss Snark. The complaint says, "Miss Snark, The Literary Agent, ('Snark') is a fictitious name used on a blog."

In the second amended complaint, Bauer added three additional defendants (see their names bolded above) and changed her complaint against Miss Snark to list Brian Hill and Dee Power, claiming that they were behind the Miss Snark blog.

There has been a huge amount of speculation as to the identity of Miss Snark. Many writers believe they know her true identity and have continued to protect that name more than a year after the blog ceased operations. None of the writers I know believes that Hill and Power were behind Miss Snark.

According to Bauer's original filing, Miss Snark's blog had a server address in Scottsdale, Arizona. Hill and Power live in Fountain Hills, Arizona, a suburb northeast of Scottsdale.

According to Wikipedia, Fountain Hills has a population of 24,669 and was the eighth fastest-growing city in Arizona between the 1990 and 2000 census.

I'm curious as to why Bauer zeroed in on Hill and Power. Because they were writers living within twenty miles of Scottsdale? Surely not!

I mentioned in yesterday's post that Dave Kuzminski reported the complaints against Hill and Power have been dismissed. I'm guessing they convinced the court that, singly or dually, they didn't write the Miss Snark blog.

So, here's the latest scorecard:

Seventeen original defendants => amended to twenty (counting Hill & Power as one)

The court dismissed the complaint against the Wikimedia Foundation on 7/1/08. Judge Jamie S. Perri dismissed Bauer's complaints against Wikimedia, ruling that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act barred liability as the result of Wikipedia publishing the statements of others. However, according to APP.com:
Perri did not rule out the possibility that Bauer may file an amended complaint against Wikimedia alleging that its Internet site published its own defamatory statements about the literary agent—-not defamatory statements made by others.
Twenty defendants => reduced to nineteen

On 7/3/08, Preditors & Editors reported that the complaints against Hill & Power were dismissed.

Nineteen defendants => reduced to eighteen

Stay tuned for more . . .