In a brief filed in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, we have asked the Court to enforce the Supreme Court’s rule forbidding temporary injunctions to protect the reputation of a business against allegedly defamatory criticisms. The facts of the case show the wisdom of the rule.
How the Appeal Came About
In the fall of 2013, a lawyer representing Convergex Caribbean, which describes itself as “a global financial services, in the business of enabling organizations and individuals to obtain access to sources of private capital funding for investment purposes,” filed a lawsuit in state court in Prince Frederick, Maryland against an Arizona man named Douglas Anthes who was a dissatisfied customer of Convergex. The suit revealed that Anthes had posted several reviews on such sites as Ripoff Report and Reviews Talk complaining that he had paid $10,000 to get introduced to Convergex, which exacted another $25,000 payment in return for an introduction to a third company, which demanded yet another fee to discuss financing. Anthes described the arrangement as a scam; Convergex’s lawsuit claimed these accusations were defamatory.
The lawsuit went very quickly: it was filed on November 12, 2013, and by November 15, 2013, without Anthes having received any notice that the lawsuit was pending, not to speak of notice that a TRO was being sought, the trial court had issued a temporary restraining order lasting 35 days, requiring Anthes to remove his accusations against Convergex from the sites where he has posted them, and forbidding him from posting any further defamatory postings about Convergex. The TRO was extended for another 35 days on December 18, again without notice to Anthes,