RR Auction Sues Michael Johnson for Defamation, 14 Other Counts

RR Auction sued rrauctionlawsuit.com owner Michael Johnson on June 2. The complaint alleges 15 counts, including business defamation, abusive litigation practices, false light invasion of privacy, interference with contractual relationships, misappropriation of RR Auction’s marks and trade name, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and cybersquatting.

Johnson, a former RR Auction client, has an ongoing lawsuit against RR Auction that he tried to get certified as a class-action. That failed, because no one else wanted to join the class, so Johnson is continuing the lawsuit on his own.

You can read about RR Auction's lawsuit in a June 5 report on AutographMagazine.com.


Tags: cybersquatting, defamation, michael johnson, rr auction, rrauctionlawsuit.com

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Good for RR Auction.  I hope they teach this guy and anyone else who files frivolous lawsuits a lesson. I saw some of the depositions on video and they agreed to return all the items he won for a full refund (even though there were mixed opinions about authenticity).  The guy never returned the items and instead sued for 20 times what he paid for them. Simply a money grab -- and I hope he goes broke from his actions.


Well written, Bruce.

Lets face it this is all smoke and mirrors and the only winners are the lawyers. A lot of he said and she said that will no doubt lead to judgements, appeals, more appeals and not a lot being solved.

How is it smoke and mirrors? RR Auction has a right to protect its tradename. Cyber-squatting is pretty much exactly what Johnson's website does. On the other counts, I suspect they'd be dropped once Johnson agrees to drop his case, but the cyber-squatting one might be pursued, regardless of the overall outcome.

Putting aside the merits of the underlying case, this does not appear to be cybersquatting at all.

The guy is using the website, it's clearly not RR Auction's site, and there does not appear to be any effort to try to sell the site to RR for some inflated price.

Again, merits aside, Johnson has a right to try to get his viewpoint out.

And the concept of false light invasion of privacy should be abolished (as it was by the Florida Supreme Court a few years ago, for example). All the facts can be correct yet the claim is they present the person (or business) in a false light? It's a back door way to evade the First Amendment.

Whatever the underlying merits of the autograph portions of the case, attacking the guy for the website is wrong.


I am not sure how a District Court in New Hampshire will ever get jurisdiction over Johnson, unless he is dumb enough to show up there personally.  And this is not a case of cyber-squatting, which as noted above, is generally understood to be either a way to extort a company into buying a website in their own name, which you managed to register first, even though you have never previously done business in that name; or an attempt to make money by "pretending" to be the other site, while competing with them in their line of business. 

This case involves neither.  It is merely a dissatisfied customer setting up a website, and posting matters of public record, like court pleadings, deposition videos etc.  Anyone who has watched Bob Eaton's deposition should know that RR would need to mount some type of counter attack like this, as he looked like a complete liar, evading every question he could, not recalling almost anything but his own name.  RR needs to make this go away, before Eaton has to testify in court.

Not giving straight answers in a deposition is a legal tactic. It makes you look like an idiot and Eaton wasn't the best at it, but legally they can't point to the deposition and concretely say "you said yes to this" or "no to that".. And that's the idea.

Good for RR for not taking all the blows without fighting back, even if half these allegations are a stretch at least they are not standing still. Maybe we'll have a verdict in 5 years! I should have become a lawyer.

Be glad you didn't become a lawyer.  Autograph authentication is a lot more fun. 

As for Eaton's depo, you realize that the Plaintiff gets to ask him those same questions in court, and then can have a large video screen with Eaton's depo responses following right along.  So, if now he "remembers" something, it will look bad, and if he continues to "not recall" anything, it will look worse.  You couldn't ask for a worse witness to have on the stand.

Yup, I don't think he did a good job at it, but I think that's what he was going for. He seemed coached to me. We'll see what happens.

He was "over-coached."  His lack of memory as to so many things that anyone would be expected to remember--and I am someone with Swiss cheese for a memory--will not come across as credible to any juror listening to an individual who owns an auction company, authenticated for PSA/DNA, and can't recall anything about some major items that he sold to Johnson.  If Johnson comes across as even a moderately believable witness, then RR has some serious problems.

Something to keep in mind, the "cybersquatting" probably doesn't refer to HIS own website on this, but...for example, if he came onto this site and attacked RR Auction...or, going on other sites and trolling. There have been precedents set now, where if you bash companies on websites (Yelp, for example), and you were doing it because you were a disgruntled employee that was fired, or an ex-wife of the company owner -- you LOSE in lawsuits.



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