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Law.com – Lawyer’s Claim Over Defaced Web Site Is Dismissed

May 16, 2006

lawA Manhattan judge has dismissed a New York attorney’s lawsuit against his aunt and uncle, in which he alleged the Florida couple defaced his Web site by replacing all of his postings with a photograph of the lawyer labeled “Pig of the Year,” in which he leans back in a chair and appears to say, “I’m going to eat everything in site.”

While marking the apogee of a family dispute, the decision also touched upon unsettled issues of personal jurisdiction.

After plaintiff Jonathan Davidoff discovered the defacement and allegedly traced it back to the computer of his uncle and aunt, S. Robert Davidoff and Ila Davidoff-Feld, he filed suit against them in Supreme Court, asserting six causes of action, including defamation and tortious interference with a business.

The couple moved to dismiss, claiming among other things that the court lacked personal jurisdiction.

Justice Carol Robinson Edmead agreed and granted their motion.

Justice Edmead interpreted state precedent to dictate that personal jurisdiction does not require the alleged tortfeasor to be within New York at the time of the tort. Rather, the “tortious act” itself must have occurred here.

“This Court adopts the view that physical presence of the defendant in New York is not a prerequisite to CPLR 302(a)(2), but instead, requires that the tortious act committed by defendant be one deemed to have been committed in New York,” she held in Davidoff v. Davidoff, 101728/06.

However, Edmead added, “[T]his conclusion is of no avail to plaintiff under the particular facts herein.”

Read the full article here

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