'Spammer Hammer' Pete Wellborn Crushes Benchmark Print Supply
October 17, 2000
ATLANTA, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Atlanta attorney Pete Wellborn released the following statement:
Atlanta attorney Pete Wellborn of Arnall Golden & Gregory LLP has obtained the broadest permanent injunction ever issued against a sender of unsolicited commercial e-mail, known as "spam."
On Oct. 6, in a case brought by Wellborn on behalf of California e-mail service Friendly Email Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia permanently enjoined Benchmark Print Supply and its owner Sam Khuri from sending any unsolicited commercial e-mail to any Internet users and from engaging in a host of other improper e-mail related activities, including "spoofing" (falsifying the originating address of their e-mails) and "cloaking" (otherwise attempting to disguise the e-mails' true source).
The injunction also requires Khuri and Benchmark to abide by the applicable Terms Of Service in relation to any e-mail accounts they obtain from Internet Service Providers or other e-mail services, most of which expressly forbid any use of such accounts in relation to the sending of spam.
"This is a great victory. I am elated that I was able to deliver on my promise to free the Internet from the grips of Khuri and his egregious e-mails," said Wellborn, who also served as lead litigation counsel for EarthLink Network in its landmark victory over former "spam king" Sanford Wallace.
Wellborn vowed not to rest upon any anti-Khuri laurels, adding that he would file suit against several more spammers before the month is out.
"I expect to crush them just as we crushed Benchmark," Wellborn said.
Until the entry in this case of a temporary restraining order by the court last month, Benchmark and Khuri were among the most prolific spammers in the country, periodically bombarding Internet users with hundreds of thousands of unsolicited e-mails advertising their printer supplies and toner cartridges. The lawsuit was filed only a month ago, but enjoyed a contentious, if brief, history. By the time the lawsuit was two weeks old, Khuri had already: left a profane rambling voice-mail for Friendly Email owner John Wilson alleging that Khuri was working with Wellborn to churn Friendly Email's legal fees; admitted to Judge Orinda Evens that these allegations were entirely false; and spoofed Wilson's personal e-mail address in retaliation for the lawsuit, causing Wilson to receive thousands of misdirected complaints.
Key to Friendly Email's victory in the case was a Consent Order against Khuri and Benchmark obtained earlier this year by Wellborn in a separate case brought on behalf of BiblioTech, Ltd., a London-based e-mail service also victimized by Khuri. The Consent Order in that case required Khuri and Benchmark to honor all "opt-out" requests from the recipients of their e-mails who wished to be removed from Khuri's mailing lists. The Consent Order also forbade Khuri and Benchmark from spoofing or cloaking and established a lowered "burden of proof" against them in any subsequent action alleging a breach of the Consent Order. Finally, the Consent Order deemed all Internet users to be "express third-party beneficiaries," thus allowing Friendly Email to sue under the Consent Order even though it had not been a party to the earlier case.
Separate and apart from the Friendly Email injunction, Khuri also executed a written agreement with Friendly Email in which he expressly admitted that he and Benchmark "continuously and systematically over the past four years engaged in the illegal practices of spamming and spoofing" and that "he repeatedly violated the BiblioTech Consent Order." That agreement also provides that, should Khuri violate the injunction, Friendly Email's Motion For Criminal And Civil Contempt would be revived, with the written confession expressly admissible against Khuri. These terms could provide the basis for a criminal prosecution against Khuri should he violate the injunction.
In other words, explained Wellborn, "If he spams again, he could go to jail." Notwithstanding an Oct. 9 round of improper e-mails that Khuri attributed to a glitch in his computer system, Wellborn said he fully expects Khuri to abide by the terms of the injunction.
About Paul F. "Pete" Wellborn III
A Georgia native, Wellborn is a veteran of Internet law and is the chairman of his firm's Internet and New Technologies practice group ("INTECH"). Wellborn has an undergraduate degree in computer science from Georgia Tech, where he played football during his college days and at which he now teaches Internet Law. Wellborn represents a number of companies, ranging in size from start-up to publicly traded, in Internet and technology matters. He was a member of the late Sen. Paul Coverdell's Technology Advisory Committee. Wellborn is a nominee for the 2000 Georgia Technology Leadership Award in Technology Application.
About Arnall Golden & Gregory LLP
Arnall Golden & Gregory provides innovative legal and business counsel to entrepreneurial and established businesses. With more than 130 attorneys in Atlanta and Macon, Ga., the firm offers a wide range of services and takes pride in building lasting relationships with its clients, a diverse business and industry group with local, national and international interests.
About Friendly Email Inc.
Friendly Email is a California-based provider of free e-mail services and boasts 250,000 members.
Contact: Thad Slaton of Hayslett Sorrell, 770-522-8855, or fax, 770-522-8898, or firstname.lastname@example.org , or Pete Wellborn of Arnall Golden & Gregory, 404-873-7006, or fax, 404-873-7007, or email@example.com