unit Verizon Online announced Monday it settled its
anti-spam lawsuit against a Detroit-based commercial e-mail firm.
Verizon cited both federal law and Virginia state law when it sued
Additional Benefits, and its owner, Alan Ralsky, in federal court in
Virginia in March 2001. Verizon said Additional Benefits, in late 2000, had
allegedly flooded the inboxes of its subscribers with unsolicited
commercial e-mail advertising diet pills, online gambling, credit repair
tools, new car buying services, computer programs and home-based business
Virginia’s law allows for statutory damages of as much as $10 per illegal
e-mail or $25,000 for every day a spam message is transmitted. That amount
is in addition to attorneys’ fees and costs of the lawsuit.
Under the terms of the settlement, Ralsky and Additional Benefits will pay
unspecified damages to Verizon. They have also agreed to an injunction
barring them from transmitting unsolicited bulk e-mail through Verizon’s
network or to its subscribers.
“This is a clear victory for our subscribers,” said Thomas M. Dailey,
general counsel for Verizon Online. “No one likes to open their mail and
see it full of spam. This permanent injunction ensures that our subscribers
never have to receive another piece of unwanted e-mail from these
defendants, and sends a signal to other commercial e-mailers that they
should think twice before spamming Verizon Online.”
Verizon has been plagued by spam attacks in the past. One spam attack in
November 2000 contributed to problems with Verizon’s DSL service that crippled
much of its network in the Northeast states.
As a result, the firm has aggressively used the law, when possible, to rein
in spammers. And in January 2002, it teamed
with San Francisco-based message management and content-filtering company
Brightmail to provide all its dial-up and broadband customers with free
access to Brightmail’s spam filtering software.