Jenner & Block

Firm Obtains Important Defense Result for Spamhaus Project

Jenner & Block attorneys recently achieved another positive ruling in a long-running federal case involving pro bono client Spamhaus.  Since taking over the representation in September 2006, Jenner & Block attorneys have successfully overturned an $11.7 million default judgment and permanent injunction against the international nonprofit, and obtained a recent bench verdict which reduced the award to just $27,002.

Spamhaus, a British-based entity whose purpose is to protect internet networks from unsolicited bulk email (i.e., spam), was sued for defamation and tortious interference by e360 Insight, an internet marketing company that claimed it had been unfairly labeled a spammer by the organization.  While Spamhaus was represented by predecessor counsel, the district court found Spamhaus in default and entered an $11.7 million default damages judgment and a permanent injunction against it.  At that point, Firm Partner Craig C. Martin and now-deceased former partner Mathew N. Neumeier took the case and appealed the judgment to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Agreeing with the arguments made by Mr. Martin that the district court failed to hold the required hearing before entering damages after the default, and that the court had no legal grounds to support the permanent injunction, the appeals court remanded the case back to the district court.  After discovery on damages, during which the Firm obtained several sanctions against plaintiffs, and a four-day bench trial in March 2010 conducted by Mr. Martin, Partner David Jiménez-Ekman, and Associate Joseph R. Dunn, the district court issued its opinion on June 11, 2010.  The district court's opinion reduced plaintiff’s damages from $11.7 million to only $27,002.  Spamhaus' position is that plaintiffs failed to establish any damages, and the Firm has asked the court to reconsider its award; that motion is pending.