By now if you have been watching the ongoing reality show that is Nashville Bike Week, you would have comes across a Facebook page titled Unofficial: Nashville Bike Week Scam. The page was created because the founder of the page was blocked from the Nashville Bike Week Facebook Page when he requested a refund. So it has become a forum for those dealing with Nashville Bike Week and Mike Leffingwell/Axle. Now, the problem is I am sick of tired of whomever is hiding behind the mask of Unofficial Nashville Bike Week Scam and I have decided I’m suing him. I will unmask that S.O.B.!
First, I prepare my Petition/Complaint. I file it with the court and now I have to serve him with the lawsuit (now you hear the record scratch/skip). How in the hell can I sue him when I don’t even know who the hell he is? He needs to receive the paperwork from a process server and Florida gives me only a 120 days to perfect service before my case gets dismissed. Not a problem- I’m smart, I know what I am doing. I’m going to ask Facebook to provide that information.
Me: “Facebook, Hi. I’m suing this guy but I don’t know his identity. Can I have it please?”
Facebook: “LOL! ”
Okay, so you want to play that game? I’ll just get a subpoena, they surely have to give it to me now! So, I tell the judge my issue, the Judge is nice, understanding, and sympathetic to my situation, and I file my subpoena with the court and send it to Facebook. Under Florida law, they have ten days to object and I know what I am doing because I saw what was written in the Facebook Help Center about subpoenas. I do have to meet certain criteria. For example, the information has to be indispensable. Well, it is! Without it, I can’t sue this guy that is pissing me off! It also has to be information not in my possession. Of course it is not in my possession, that is why I am asking for it. I need a valid subpoena. It is valid! I filed it. Wait? What? Jurisdiction issues? Huh? I have to file this in California? I live in f–in Florida. California is far! Who the hell lives in California other than my loser cousin? Great, now I have to domesticate the case which means I have to file a separate action in California advising them I have this case pending in Florida? I have to pay court costs again, hire a process server to serve their registered agent, and hire an attorney in California as well? My god this is complicated and becoming expensive! Fine! Whatever! I hate this page and I am bringing it down! By the way, I hope Facebook decides not to screw with me because they can easily tell me to serve their corporate office with the subpoena. Fine, where is the corporate office?—-IRELAND! (same place as Foynes Air Show- remember that one for those following along from the beginning). There is a reason cruise ships are registered in Panama. You don’t become a billion dollar company by being stupid!
Okay, I did it! It wasn’t easy but Facebook finally provided me with “basic subscriber information.” What? You are charging me costs for this service? Son of a—–! Fine, here’s a check. Wait? What is this garbage you sent me? I just need his real name and address. What the hell is this mumbo jumbo? An I what? An IP address? What the hell am I supposed to do with this? Oh, the IP address leads to the identity of this clown? Good. I’m on to something. Any minute now he will feel the wrath of my obsession.
So, now I go online and see there are websites that allow me to trace the IP address to Honolulu, Hawaii. Wait, that’s even farther than California! And I don’t get a physical address? Just a general idea of what town he is in? I’ll fix this with a phone call.
Me: “Hello Direct TV. I’m suing some guy, I have his IP address. Can I have his information?”
Direct TV- “You need a court order. Thanks for calling.” Dial tone.
By the way, cable giants are like Facebook, they will fight you tooth and nail before they release any client information. Hell, just think of how difficult it is just to pay someone else’s account when you aren’t even an authorized user. Now I need to file/domesticate in Hawaii, also. I hope this bastard doesn’t move to another state as I prepare this, hell, not even another town.
Okay, so I did all this, and now I have all the information I need and I will sue this clown in Florida- what? Huh? What do you mean no, Mr. Judge? I live in Florida. Where else would I sue him? Downtown is 20 minutes from my house. I have to sue him where? Hawaii? What the… Why? Because jurisdiction? Because the act is taking place there and that is where the server/IP address is located, not in Florida? I can’t go to Hawaii to file a lawsuit! But Judge–
Oh, and by the way, in case you didn’t know, Facebook has a lot of money. You are basically asking them to reveal information that they consider confidential and you know what, they don’t care if they are wrong, they will bring out the big guns and face the challenge in court. This, assuming Facebook and a cable giant decide not to appeal a judge’s ruling until all appeals are exhausted and that could take several years. You surely didn’t think Facebook wants everybody and their momma to start asking for personal information and they would just give it you, did you? Trust me, they are avoiding liability as well.
So, if you are “joe schmo” (sounds familiar) private citizen, good luck, if you are law enforcement, it is a little bit easier. But regardless, let me sum it up for you this way– President Donald Trump wanted to find the identity of a Twitter feed that is just about bashing him. Did Twitter roll over for the most powerful man in the world? Nope! Twitter actually counter-sued and the government withdrew their lawsuit. So, do you think little ol’ me, ambulance chasing attorney (remember that one?) is going to be able to obtain all that information when President Trump couldn’t? Let’s say I do; by when? Here’s a clue, no time soon. Appeals can extend cases for ten years or more. Remember the old days- you can fight city hall? Well, guess what- you can’t fight Facebook/Zuckerberg or anyone else with pockets deeper than you.
Oh, and one more thing, you still have to get past the First Amendment issues! Don’t forget, the truth is always a defense.
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