New York City auto dealer Nemet Chevrolet Ltd. has filed notice that it will appeal a federal judge's dismissal of a defamation lawsuit against ConsumerAffairs.com Inc. The appeal would be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Nemet, which operates Nemet Chevrolet in Jamaica, Queens, and other dealerships in the New York area, argues that statements published on the ConsumerAffairs.com Website are defamatory and claims that at least some of the 49 complaints were created by the consumer site rather than by disgruntled customers.
In its notice of appeal, Nemet contends that U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia erred by dismissing Nemet's lawsuit and a subsequent amended complaint filed by Nemet earlier this year.
In its notice of appeal, Nemet also argues that the ConsumerAffairs.com site:
• Greets visitors with a prominent red "complaint button" without providing a corresponding "compliment button;"
• Entices visitors to post defamatory statements with the possibility of financial reward as a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit;
• Provides visitors with "instructions written by a class-action attorney on how to draft a complaint to better support a class-action lawsuit;" and
• Contacts authors of complaints to help them better frame the statements.
ConsumerAffairs.com argued that it has immunity from defamation and tortious interference under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Nemet is seeking injunctive relief and $500,000 in damages and $1,500,000 in punitive damages.
It's not the first time Nemet has sued the consumer site. In July 2006, the company filed suit in New York Eastern District Court in Brooklyn. That case was dismissed Oct. 11, 2006 by Judge Brian M. Cogan.