Maryland Man Known For Suing Spammers Finally Loses One

Written by Sue Walsh on July 2, 2012

Paul Wagner, a man who’s built a reputation for suing spammers, has lost his latest suit. Wagner sued Kraft Foods for over $12 million under Maryland’s anti-spam law, claiming the food giant had flooded the inboxes of the ISP he runs with spam. A jury disallowed the suit, deciding that Wagner’s company did not qualify as an actual internet service provider. Under Maryland’s law, ISPs can sue for $1,000 per spam message.

Kraft’s lawyers say Wagner intentionally attracted spam just so he could sue for it, since that appears to be how he makes his living. While Wagner’s lawyer admitted his client spends more time suing spammers than on his business, he insists Wagner does so as an attempt to fight back against spammers.

The judge in the case has asked for arguments from both sides on whether the state’s law requires a company to be an ISP in order to sue or not. His decision could change the way anti-spam laws are interpreted.

Kraft was relieved by the decision, saying it eased concerns that just anyone could harvest spam emails and then turn around and sue to ensure themselves a big payday. They claim Wagner had his brother send him thousands of the spam messages he’s suing about.

How do you feel about the decision? Should individuals and all companies be allowed to sue under the anti-spam law or only internet service providers? Do you believe Wagner is in the right? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with us.

Comments

Connor Paulsen July 4, 2012

I feel like it’s good that someone is out there fighting for spam defense, but on the other hand, it’s just impossible to root for someone who, by the admission of his own lawyer, spends more time in court than actually managing his business. The point’s been made, now focus on the real problems of malware distributors and let businesses run their ads legitimately.

Monette Crowder July 25, 2012

This just muddles the side of those who are legitimately fighting the war against spam. Opportunists abound, even at the guise of legitimate causes.

I don’t know most of the facts of the case, nor have I even heard of this man before. However, it is circumstantially difficult to side with a person who spends more time in court suing than his business or fighting the war through another front. Isn’t there any law somewhere for malicious prosecution somewhere? Not just against this guy, but with also any other guy who will also attempt at this. Just like with spammers, those guys can multiply easily when they smell money.

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