Successful Spam Lawsuit

Posted by ECM Admin

Category: Front Page


News Release

For more information, contact:

Nigel Featherston
(425) 702-9676
Web Site:
(See contact page for email address)

For Immediate Release

Washington State resident wins $250,000 spam e-mail case

Seattle, Wash. — September 8, 2003 — Anti-spam activist Nigel Featherston has won a $250,000 default judgment in the Superior Court of Washington State for King County against a spam organization in Ohio known for sending millions of spam emails ranging from multi-level schemes to diet pills. This could be one of the largest awards in the history of the Washington anti-spam law.

“This judgment sends a signal that people are not going to stand for invasions from spammers,” said Featherston. “Some spammers have this warped idea that their freedom of speech is guaranteed all the way into my hard drive, but it is my firm belief that their rights end at my firewall.” Featherston won the judgment against Charles Childs and Linda Lightfoot, Ohio spammers doing business as Universal Direct, Mega Direct and Ultra-Trim, among others.

An engineer and former Microsoft developer with several patents, Featherston began fighting spam in 1998 when he was deluged with unwanted emails that required him to change his email address. He filed numerous complaints, often getting the senders’ web sites shut down. In March 2002, in retribution, spammers used his email address in spam sent to others, which resulted in thousands of bounced back emails coming to Featherston’s address, overwhelming his system, and in affect, causing a denial of service for Featherston.

Using an attorney and private investigator, Featherston gathered evidence to take advantage of the state’s tough anti-spam law, which by statute, states that each spam can cost the sender $500. In this case, Featherston could have sued for $29 million, but decided to ask for a more reasonable $250,000. The court concluded that he had sufficient evidence that he had received approximately 58,000 illegal e-mails due to the defendants’ actions.

The private investigator found that the Federal Trade Commission had taken legal action to shut down the Childs/Lightfoot operation for reasons unrelated to spam. The information in the FTC case proved invaluable as evidence in Featherston’s case.

Featherston encourages others to help fight spam. He also provided this advice for others, “Anytime you are tempted to buy something from a spam e-mail, remember that you will be encouraging and financing more spam.”

Spam Case Court Document (pdf)

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