MySpace wins suit against 'spam king'

Accused in lawsuit of spamming MySpace users, Sanford Wallace fails to show up for court and loses default judgment.

Sanford Wallace, the so-called spam king, has often been accused of sending annoying messages that are typically ignored by the recipient. Perhaps he considered a series of court orders as something he could blow off.

If he did, he was wrong. MySpace has won a legal judgment against Wallace after he failed numerous times to turn over documents or even to show up for court, according to records obtained by CNET News.com.

In March of last year, MySpace filed suit against Wallace alleging he launched a phishing scam to fraudulently access MySpace profiles. Wallace was also accused of spamming thousands of MySpace users with unwanted advertisements and luring them to his Web sites.

To say Wallace, who could not be reached for comment, failed to mount a vigorous defense would be an understatement.

According to records filed on April 15 with U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, Wallace was ordered numerous times to turn over documents requested by MySpace and provide a deposition. A MySpace representative did not respond to an interview request.

Each time, MySpace waited and each time Wallace failed to comply. Early on, Wallace informed MySpace he was having a hard time finding legal counsel. Soon after, he said he couldn't comply because he was unaware of his court dates; he wasn't accepting mail or signing for packages and that's why he missed receiving notifications.

The court did not accept his reasons as a valid excuse, but continued to give him chances to comply. Nothing worked. After Wallace continuously failed to appear or respond to filing deadlines, the court issued a default judgment against Wallace.

"It is...a defendant's responsibility to respond to discovery, obey court orders, and avoid dilatory tactics," the court wrote in its order. "Taking all of the above factors into account, a default is appropriate. The court finds that Wallace's noncompliance is due to willfulness, fault, or bad faith...Wallace has had every opportunity to avoid the sanction of default. (He) has never provided any explanation for his behavior to the court."

By now, Wallace should know his way around a courtroom.

He has been sued by the Federal Trade Commission and companies such as AOL and Concentric Network Corp. In May 2006, Wallace and his company Smartbot.net were ordered by a federal court to turn over $4,089,500.

CNET News.com's Declan McCullagh contributed to this report.

 

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