Juniper Drops Message Board Suit

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) has dropped its case against several, yet-unidentified Light Reading message board users, according to court filings.

“We resolved the matter, so we dismissed the suit," says Juniper spokeswoman Susan Ursch, in an email response to Light Reading. "I have nothing further to add to this," her email continued.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company filed a lawsuit in the California Superior Court of Santa Clara on December 14 claiming that it had been defamed and libeled by up to 10 persons unknown. (See Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders.)

These persons, referred to as "Does 1-10" in the court complaint (as in "John Doe," or anonymous), are being accused by Juniper of posting harmful statements about the company and its executives on Light Reading's message boards.

In a court filing dated March 9, however, Juniper asked the court to dismiss the case without prejudice. The move was cheered by Light Reading executives, who had been watching the case with interest.

"I'm glad that Juniper seems to have finally come to its senses," says Light Reading founder Stephen Saunders.

Saunders had nothing further to add to this.

What is still unknown is whether or not Juniper ever uncovered the identities of "Does 1-10." The company's complaint cited several messages that got the company riled up, and most those messages allege that Juniper is bribing lawyers and spying on its employees.

One message cited in the December 14 complaint was of an April 21 post to Light Reading's boards. According to the complaint, it said the "top management" at Juniper bribes attorneys, and that "the man at the top should join his buddy Bernie [Ebers (sic)]..."

Another message singled out in the complaint says: "This is a very unethical company."

The lawsuit against anonymous message board users got the attention of dozens of media outlets, including BusinessWeek and several others. The Light Reading news story revealing the suit received more than 50,000 page views just days after being published.

One thing the lawsuit failed to do is silence folks from having their say about Juniper and its business. (See Juniper's Marketing Mystery.) A Light Reading poll on the topic quickly garnered 1,337 responses and an overwhelming percentage of those folks -- 71 percent -- said Juniper was not doing the right thing by suing. (See Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move.)

"I am flabergasted that you are willing to spend your precious time and money to embark on this witch hunt," wrote a Light Reading message board user, in a comment directed to Juniper CEO Scott Kriens. As this story was going to press, we checked the boards to see if that poster would elaborate.

He had nothing further to add to this.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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