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Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move

Phil Harvey
12/29/2005

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is not "doing the right thing" by suing Light Reading's message board users, according to the latest results of the publication's poll exploring the subject.

Seventy-percent of the more than 1,080 people who have taken the poll as of Thursday morning (10 AM, ET) disagree with the router company's decision to sue anonymous Light Reading users for defamation in the California Superior Court of Santa Clara on December 14.

Juniper’s complaint accuses these “DOES 1-10, inclusive” of posting harmful statements about the company and its executives on Light Reading's message boards. (See Juniper Sues LR Message Boarders.)

The poll -- Jumpy Juniper -- went live on December 22 and has been averaging about 8 responses per hour for the past 137 hours, which is remarkable considering that most folks aren't online at all during the holiday week. It will close on December 31, 2005 at 11:59 PM ET.

Nearly as many poll takers -- about 68 percent -- say Juniper was not harmed in any material way from the postings made on Light Reading's boards. And a clear majority -- 61 percent -- of those who participated in the poll appear to have a healthy view of message boards, saying that the boards contain "lots of rubbish but worth sifting for occasional gems".

Has the episode backfired on Juniper? That's where folks have a wider range of opinions. Thirty-five percent of those who took the poll label Juniper as "paranoid" and another 34 percent say they think Juniper "has something to hide." Twenty percent haven't changed their attitude at all towards Juniper and the remaining 11 percent of respondents support Juniper's decision.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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whyiswhy
whyiswhy
12/5/2012 | 4:10:31 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move

So here's a question for Liam:

If the statements broke confidentiality agreements, which in my opinion is why JNPR is steamed up, and they allege ten times John Doe libel to get discovery to uncover the names of ten LR posters, knowing its not libelous but at least partially factual, so they drop that suit and persue a breach of contract against one or more former insiders, who gets in trouble for abusing the court?

And one for Scott:

And will we get all the juicy insider details JNPR wants hidden?

Of course, this is all simple conjecture and curiosity on my part.

-Why
JNPR-Litigate-This
JNPR-Litigate-This
12/5/2012 | 4:10:30 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move
Maybe the suspect evil doers should have just used some witty cartoons that ripped off the Farside to express their opinions. Surely this would not be liable.
inauniversefarfaraway
inauniversefarfaraway
12/5/2012 | 4:10:30 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move
It seems that JNPR is going about this all wrong. It should start advertising more on the LR web site, so as to get the LR to give them the names.

Better yet, more JNPR emp[loyees should start posting here, but in a positive way for JNPR.

Imagine the economy of capital.

LR has censored posts in the past... Why is not doing so for JNPR?
liamsdad01007
liamsdad01007
12/5/2012 | 4:10:30 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move
"If the statements broke confidentiality agreements, which in my opinion is why JNPR is steamed up, and they allege ten times John Doe libel to get discovery to uncover the names of ten LR posters, knowing its not libelous but at least partially factual, so they drop that suit and persue a breach of contract against one or more former insiders, who gets in trouble for abusing the court?"

As long as there is some basis for the Libel charge, which there can be even if the statements are partially true, then the discovery of the poster's identity is valid and not an abuse of process. If during discovery, the plaintiff uncovers evidence to substantiate another cause of action, and chooses to drop the libel in favor of pursuing the other cause, that would not be normally be considered abusive; as long as the original libel charge had some basis.
inauniversefarfaraway
inauniversefarfaraway
12/5/2012 | 4:10:29 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move
The cartoon idea is great. A more expedient way is to contact Scott Adams, and get a series of strips on the subject matter.

The guilty could be protected in this way.

This is why JNPR needs the court's "protection".

Has there been a Dilbert with libel lawsuits yet?
PO
PO
12/5/2012 | 2:47:44 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move
There is some room to argue that the selection of responses in this (or most any) survey was limited, so reading the results is made more difficult.

However, much more important (to me, at least, as a bystander), is the due process involved and the applicability of existing standards. I'm not a lawyer, but let's consider the situation anyway.

Even if these comments (which I think amount to "letters to the editor" in a newspaper, and not "editorial content") were false (and I have no idea if they are or aren't), wouldn't the courts require first that the "harmed" party request a retraction? Wouldn't publishing a comment of their own in the same thread meet the requirement?

It seems to me that Juniper's lawyers are putting a bit too much emphasis on the anonymity of the commenters in this instance, but rather should be focused first on alleviating any supposed wrong by simply getting a correction published in the same "publication".

Even if a newspaper reports incorrectly on a company, the paper publishes a "correction" and the world moves on. How is this really different?
edzed
edzed
12/5/2012 | 2:47:38 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move
This LR poll is a shameless attempt to promote its chat boards. Moo-lah-lah, indeed.
edzed
edzed
12/5/2012 | 2:47:37 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move
Marketing works - that's why people use it.
edzed
edzed
12/5/2012 | 2:47:36 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move
Speaking of marketing, I wonder how much Redback had to pay Light Reading to be a sponsor at their conference? It was clearly a good investment, although it is unclear whether Redback will be. Moo-lah-lah.
Honestly
Honestly
12/5/2012 | 2:47:35 AM
re: Poll: Juniper Lawsuit Still a Bad Move
Seems to also reek of agenda. Can't wait to see who the posters are. I assume CMP Media figures none of its staff is involved so they allow them to encourage. What If large LR advertisers are among posters.? Well, guess that is not against any law, well, or is it. ?
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