I have removed my mirror of Sidney Schwartz's "Amway: The Untold Story" from this machine on 14 Feb 2000 due to the conflict of interest created by Amway's attorney, Timothy Q. Delaney of Brinks, Hofer, Gilson, and Lione in Chicago, raising a complaint with my provider/employer/me about my site. I am both the guy who enforces abuse complaints and the customer in this situation.
(February 8, 2003: Since this site is no longer located on the network of the company I work for, the mirror is back.)
News flash! I've been served with a subpoena in the Amway v. Procter & Gamble case (March 14, 2000).
Update (March 21, 2000): My attorney notifies Amway's Phoenix attorneys that he is representing me.
Update (March 24, 2000): My attorney has sent Amway's Phoenix attorneys copies of the materials requested by the subpoena where such exist (i.e., some email between myself and Sidney Schwartz, some email containing the word "Amway", this web page), but not a mirror of my hard drive.
Update (March 27, 2000): Amway's attorneys (Brinks, Hofer) contacted me directly with a further complaint (in violation of the ethical rules which require them to direct correspondence to my attorney), stating that I will be sued upon the completion of the Amway/P&G/Schwartz litigation unless I take down my mirror of the site immediately. The notice not only violates legal ethics, it fails to take note of the fact that my mirror is a modified version that removed just about everything their original complaint took issue with. I'll be happy to remove anything false from the site, but I'm not aware of anything there that is false. This notice was sent on March 24, 2000, three days after Amway's Phoenix attorneys were notified that I was being represented by legal counsel.
Update (March 29, 2000): Kelly J. Eberspecher of Brinks, Hofer sends an apology for contacting me directly, saying that this was "inadvertent." Amway's attorneys have proposed a protective order regarding a mirror of my hard drive they want me to supply to Electronic Evidence Discovery, Inc. My attorney requests an enumeration of what allegedly false material is on my modified Goodnet mirror site.
Update (April 25, 2000): Negotiations continue about the search procedure for this hard drive (on a multi-user system that supplies public information services such as http://www.discord.org/skeptical/). I've supplied all relevant information to the case, but they still are pressing to be able to get the contents of every file containing search terms like "Allen", "May", "Powell", etc. that will result in many false positive matches (especially "May", in the context of mailboxes!). There are several grounds on which we object, which I will enumerate later.
Tim Delaney of Brinks, Hofer declined to enumerate what false material is on my Goodnet mirror site, but instead asserted that material originally complained about was still present. (I subsequently did more extensive modifications on the site. Every single item originally complained about has either been removed, rewritten, or had additional explanatory text added to explain why it remains.)
Update (April 29, 2000): Tim Delaney claims that I am demonstrating bad faith by posting updates about our negotiations, vociferously rejects our quite reasonable proposal about how the search of my hard drive should proceed, and threatens to go to court to get it. Our proposal was that Electronic Evidence Discovery come to my house, not mirror the drive but search it directly, search only my files rather than those of my other users, and that my attorney and I have the right to veto any match on grounds of irrelevance or attorney-client privilege (and they could then go to court if they decided they really needed any such file). Delaney agreed to the veto right for attorney-client privilege but not for irrelevance, and claimed that there wouldn't be many false positives from their search terms.
Update (July 2, 2000): I think we've come to an agreement on a protective order and a search methodology that is not invasive of my privacy, but I'm waiting on the final copy to sign at this point. (BTW, perhaps I should make mention at some point here that I am represented in this matter by an attorney with the Lewis and Roca law firm, which is ranked as the best litigation firm in the state of Arizona by International Commercial Litigation.)
Update (August 21, 2000): An image was taken of my hard drive on Tuesday, August 15 by Barry Schnur of Business Automation Associates, hired by Amway's attorneys. Schnur had not yet been given a list of search terms or a copy of the protective order that is filed with the federal court in Arizona as of the date of the imaging, and Schnur indicated that he did not have any software that understands OpenBSD file system format, so the matches of the search terms will be accompanied by the immediately preceding and following N characters on the disk (I believe N=32 or 35). The search results then have to be turned over to my attorney, and we can veto any item on the basis of irrelevance, attorney-client privilege, etc. Anything we don't veto goes to Amway's attorneys.
Update (September 15, 2000): We've sent a letter to Amway's attorneys asking how they want the data, now that we've redacted the attorney-client privileged material.
Update (September 21, 2000): They requested it on CD-ROM; about 3.4 MB of non-privileged material is being burned to disc today. Delaney still seems to think that full documents/files can be easily reconstructed (and identified) from the hits, even though he agrees that Barry Schnur's software does not understand OpenBSD filesystem format.
Update (December 7, 2000): They started over, and have done the search on the OpenBSD filesystem, and supplied us with a CD-ROM of matches and one of exclusions. We've vetoed only the attorney-client privileged material (email exchanges between me and my lawyer); they're welcome to everything else, which is almost entirely (and maybe entirely) either material we supplied in the first place in response to the subpoena or material publicly available on my web site. I'd love to know how much time and money Amway has wasted on this. Amway is probably Tim Delaney's favorite client--rich and incredibly stupid.
Update (December 21, 2000): My attorney today faxed the list of vetoed items to the third party company, so they can release everything else to Amway's attorneys.
The clock now starts for the destruction of the copy of my hard drive (they have three weeks).
Update (January 26, 2001): Nope, not quite yet... now we're doing file fragments. I've got 30,000 lines of listings to look at matching fragments. I've only managed to get through a small amount of it and will be traveling for work for a couple weeks. It will probably be mid-February before I have a chance to complete looking at these and indicating which fragments are to be withheld.
Update (April 19, 2001): The fragments have been gone through. First I had to look at lines listing just the matching text, then the full text of each fragment. After several iterations, a CD containing those approved to go on to Amway's attorneys has been given the OK by me and my lawyer. Finally the clock should start for the three-week countdown to destruction of the copy of my hard drive. I've been dealing with this single subpoena for a year, a month, and five days now.
Update (May 9, 2001): Delaney complains that because a withheld document log has not been produced with the list of redacted fragments, the clock hasn't started ticking yet. But a list of redacted fragments and what they are (attorney-client email fragments in most cases, personal email fragments in four or five instances) was already provided--and there are no dates or filenames available to be provided because these are just fragments, not "documents."
Update (June 5, 2001): Delaney asks for correspondence between my attorney and Sidney Schwartz's attorney based on the content of a file fragment that he shouldn't have been given (correspondence between me and my attorney).
Update (February 23, 2002): My attorney sends Delaney a letter asking for a statement to be filed in District Court within 10 days indicating a close to this matter and confirming that the disk image of my hard drive has been destroyed as per the protective order, since no action has occurred in this matter since June 2001.
Update (March 4, 2002): Timothy Delaney replies that "the disc image of Mr. Lippard's hard drive has been destroyed in compliance with paragraph 9 of the Protective Order. If you want to file this letter with the Court, you may do so."
Update (February 8, 2003): Turns out that the judge in Michigan threw out the entire Amway vs. Proctor and Gamble case back on September 20, 2001!
Online information about this case:
Several other mirrors of the "Amway: The Untold Story" site have also come down just recently as a result of similar letters. Some of them, e.g., Jason's Anti-Amway Mirrors, still have other information about Amway. Also see Scott Larsen's pages of information about Amway, and Amway: The Continuing Story.
Other mirrors of the site are still on the Internet, e.g.,
Here is email I have recently sent to Tim Delaney, with summaries of his responses:
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 18:34:20 -0700 (MST) From: James J. Lippard
To: Tim Delaney, Amway's attorney Subject: Amway site Mr. Delaney: I've read the content of your letter of complaint about the Amway: The Untold Story web site which was put together by Sidney Schwartz. It seems to me that most of what you are claiming to be false and defamatory is expression of opinion, an opinion which seems to me to be fairly well supported by the documents which are also part of the web site. Do you disagree? If only the supporting documents were up on the site, would you have any objection to it? If so, what? I also note that you made no attempt whatsoever to contact me directly, despite the fact that my email address was quite clearly displayed at numerous points on my web site. Why not? I'm happy to try to resolve this amicably. I have no interest in publishing any materials which are false. Jim Lippard [email protected] Phoenix, Arizona [Mr. Delaney wrote back to thank me for my rapid response and to ask me for a telephone number and a convenient time when he could reach me to discuss the matter. He didn't answer any of my questions.] Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 09:00:50 -0700 (MST) From: James J. Lippard To: Tim Delaney, Amway's attorney Subject: RE: Amway site Mr. Delaney: Based on what I've read, I'm a bit reluctant to talk to you on the telephone without the presence of an attorney of my own. Would you mind corresponding a bit more in writing first? What, exactly, is it that you want to accomplish with a telephone conversation? It appears to me that you just want the entire site down, period. Please answer my questions here and in my previous letter, and I will consider a later conversation via telephone. I'm a bit concerned by the fact that some of the things which you list as false and defamatory in your letter, when I looked them up on the site, are actually quotes from another letter from you, complaining about a previous version of the site. I guess I'm really not persuaded that you have a case at all--it appears to me that you are engaging in exactly the sort of bullying tactic you claim not to be engaging in. I think your description of Mr. Schwartz's relationship with P&G is highly misleading--he did not build his site on behalf of P&G, he accepted money from them as payment for providing them with research materials which he had accumulated prior to any involvement with them, he built his web site before he had any contact with them. Given the misleading nature of your letter, I really don't trust you. Jim Lippard [email protected] Phoenix, Arizona Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 19:35:36 -0700 (MST) From: James J. Lippard To: Tim Delaney Subject: RE: Amway site [Mr. Delaney says that my "argument regarding Mr. Schwartz's web site and his arrangement with Procter & Gamble" were already made in court and have "not succeeded to date."] And this is based on tortious interference, libel, or both? (And perhaps other arguments?) [Mr. Delaney says P&G and Schwartz have lost motions to have the case dismissed, and Schwartz's counterclaim has been dismissed. And "Amway feels strongly about the merits of its action."] I'm sure. [Mr. Delaney says he did not request a phone conversation to mislead me, but to see if I was interested in obtaining a release from liability from posting "the offending material", to ask if I had posted it at Schwartz's request, whether I've communicated with him about his site or P&G, or if I've communicated with P&G.] I have never posted anything at Mr. Schwartz's request. I have never met or spoken with Mr. Schwartz. I have exchanged a few emails with him--I first learned of his site when I heard of Amway's attempts to get it shut down, and after reading its contents, asked if I could have a copy of his site to mirror, which he made available for general download and which I copied and set up. I have never had any communication with P&G or anyone (that I know of) who has ever been an employee of P&G. Nor have they ever attempted to contact me. I have, however, known Amway distributors, including several relatives who have distributed Amway products in the past and one acquaintance who I believe is still involved with Amway. I believe you are the first person who has contacted me regarding the web site. Jim Lippard [email protected] Phoenix, Arizona [Mr. Delany offered me a release of liability in exchange for copies of my email correspondence with Mr. Schwartz. If I decline, he ominously notes, it can be subpoenaed. He claims that this is quite relevant to the Michigan lawsuit. He fails to answer my question about the basis of that lawsuit.] Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 21:08:14 -0700 (MST) From: James J. Lippard To: Tim Delaney Subject: RE: Amway site I've checked my mail archives and found only a single message from Mr. Schwartz, which happens to be the first one he ever sent me. It quotes my initial message to him in full, and fully supports the account I've already given you. I've answered every question you've asked me, but you haven't been answering all of the ones I've asked you. I'm not persuaded that you're dealing with me in good faith here. Tell me what this release of liability would say. I assume from your description that there's nothing you need me to sign--this is simply a release of liability from any tort, real or imagined, arising out of my hosting a mirror of Mr. Schwartz's site, not an agreement that in any way restricts my freedom of speech? Right? I'll tell you what--you send me a signed release of liability, and I'll send you a copy of the email I have from Mr. Schwartz. You can include in the release of liability that it holds only upon your receipt of that email, and then I can send it to you as a printout via certified, return-receipt-requested mail (at your expense for my time, materials, and the postage). If you want a signed affidavit authenticating the email, you can provide that along with the release, or you can pay me to write one up. Jim Lippard [email protected] Phoenix, Arizona
At this point, Mr. Delaney was quiet for about a week, and then replied on Feb. 28: "I will send you something according to your proposal."
I then received a certified letter at my place of work which offered to give me a waiver of liability in exchange for my agreement to never disseminate or encourage the dissemination of anything on Sidney Schwartz's web site. Some people just don't listen, do they?
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 13:26:03 -0700 (MST) From: James J. Lippard
To: Tim Delaney Subject: RE: Amway site Mr. Delaney: I have received your letter dated March 3, 2000 which contains your offer of a waiver of liability. Apparently you haven't been paying attention to what I've previously written to you, as the offer is exactly what I already said I was not interested in. It is totally unacceptable to me to sign any agreement which limits my ability to express my opinion or to disseminate factual information about Amway, which the letter you propose clearly does, by asking me to agree that I will "not participate in, facilitate, or encourage the posting of any material that previously appeared on the Schwartz's [sic] homepage." Please don't contact me further. Jim Lippard [email protected] Phoenix, Arizona