Lemberg Law issued the following press release on June 30, 2014:

With the pending dismissal of a defamation case brought by debt collector NCC Business Services, consumer attorney Sergei Lemberg is hailing a magistrate’s ruling as a victory for the First Amendment and consumer rights. “This ruling empowers consumers by protecting the free flow of information over the Internet and leveling the playing field,” he said.

A U.S. Magistrate Court judge has recommended dismissing NCC Business Services, Inc. v. Lemberg & Associates, LLC, which alleged that Lemberg had violated the law by publishing information about the debt collector on his StopCollector.com website.

This ruling empowers consumers
by protecting the free flow of information
over the Internet and leveling the playing field,

A U.S. Magistrate Court judge has recommended dismissing NCC Business Services, Inc. v. Lemberg & Associates, LLC, which alleged that Lemberg had violated the law by publishing information about the debt collector on his StopCollector.com website.

The lawsuit alleged that the information about NCC Business Services published on StopCollector.com constituted unfair competition based on trademark infringement, defamation, and violations of the Lanham Act. The U.S. Magistrate Judge ruled that NCC Business Services’ claim of trademark infringement was without merit: “[NCC Business Services] has failed to plausibly allege that [StopCollector.com] is likely to cause confusion about consumers because the website makes clear that it belongs to a law firm suing debt collectors….” The court similarly ruled that it would not cause confusion among NCC Business Services’ potential clients. The court further asserted that criticizing or commenting upon the services of a trademark owner doesn’t tarnish or blur the trademark.

The court also rejected NCC Business Services’ accusation that the information on StopCollector.com defamed the company. The judge wrote that the debt collector didn’t make its case: “Although [NCC Business Services] argues there are ‘specific untrue and defamatory statements…on…stopcollector.com,’ the allegations…and the exhibits…simply do not support this argument.”

According to Lemberg, who has for three years running been named the “most active” consumer attorney by the debt collection industry, “There’s now a bright line in the sand. It’s completely legitimate for attorneys to educate consumers about their legal options – and to clearly call out potentially abusive debt collection practices.”

He concluded, “We share this victory with all consumer attorneys who shine the light on the debt collection industry and with all consumers who have been victimized by unsavory debt collection practices.”

This release references NCC Business Services, Inc. v. Lemberg & Associates, LLC (U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 3:13-cv-795-J-39MCR).

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