Amway goes Fishin'
Amway Lawyers send me a check.
Does this mean P&G will try to sue me now?
The Amway lawyers "Warner Norcross & Judd LLP" have recently exercised their legal right to go "fishing" on web sites critical to Amway. Under the guise of searching for evidence in Procter & Gamble suit, Amway has chosen to subpoena my computer almost one year from the date other critical sites were subpoenaed in the case. See Subpoena.
In a recent letter from Brian Andrew detailing the need to look for evidence relating to the P&G case, with defendants also named as Sidney Schwartz and Kenneth Lowndes, they have now told me the search criteria they propose to use on the mirror image obtained. A quote from the letter: "Amway has no interest in records on your image that are not somehow related to this case and will take reasonable steps to ensure that any private records on your image remain unread."
Judging from the search criteria they sent me, they seem to be VERY INERESTED in information not related to the above-mentioned case. Specifically they list "Parties in other litigation" which includes 59 other names not listed in the P&G suit. To any causal observer, it would seem that Amway is out fishing for additional information.
To fight the subpoena (just a request for potential evidence anyway) on principles in this case is not worth the headache. I know Amway will not get any useful information so there is no point in fighting it.
This example only shows the integrity and credibility of this "reputable" corporation when faced with rational and logical criticism of their "business opportunity". See my letter pointing out the inconsistency between the letter and the search terms. See their letter defending their search terms and the need to subpoena me.
TO THE SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION AND COPYING OF DOCUMENTS, ELECTRONIC DATA, BOOKS, AND OTHER TANGIBLE THINGS IN THE POSSESSION, CUSTODY OR CONTROL OF SCOTT A. LARSEN.DOCUMENTS AND OTHER TANGIBLE THINGS TO BE PRODUCED FOR INSPECTION AND COPYING INSTRUCTIONS TO THE RECIPIENT OF THIS SUBPOENA:
Amway Corporation believes that you are in the possession, cusTody and control of documents and other tangible things, including recordings, disks, tapes and other electronic data compilations from which evidence can be obtained, which is relevant to the civil action pursuant to which this subpoena has been issued. ALL DOCUMENT DESTRUCTION OR RETENTION POLICIES AND PRACTICES AND ELECTRONIC FILE DELETION OR DISK MANAGEMENT PRACTICES, POLICIES OR PROTOCOLS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO REFORMATTING OR DEFRAGMENTING PRACTICES) WHICH COULD HAVE THE EFFECT OF ALTERING OR DESTROYING INFORMATION REQUESTED BY THIS SUBPOENA WHICH IS ELECTRONICALLY STORED SHOULD BE SUSPENDED UNTIL YOU ARE EXCUSED FROM THIS SUBPOENA.
Failure without adequate excuse to obey this subpoena may be punished as contempt of the United States District Court from which this subpoena is issued.
1 . "Documents" includes, but is not limited to, the following materials: any and all papers, documents, correspondence, letters, manuals, electronic mail, computer disks (including floppy diskettes, zip disks, CD-ROMS, and hard drives), backup tapes, data otherwise electronically stored (including archival and backup copies of files containing data, as well as files or parts of files which may have been deleted by the user but which are nevertheless recoverable by any means), other data, photographs, videos, surveys, drawings, films, schematics, other computer generated information, handwritten or typewritten notes, charts, graphs, publications, diagrams, journals, calendars, diaries, logs, log books, messages, reports, or any other papers or writings or communications or summaries thereof.
2 . "Amway" refers to Amway Corporation and any of its affiliates.
3 . "Amway distributors" refers to independent business owners that are authorized to distribute products manufactured by Amway or offered by Amway.
4. "P&G" refers to The Procter & Gamble Company and The Procter & Gamble Distributing Company and any of their affiliates.
5. "P&G Attorneys" refers to Robert Heuck; Fred Hamilton; any other partners, associates or employees of Dinsmore & Shohl; Stanley Chesley, Faye Stilz, and any other partners, associates or employees of Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley, LPA; any attorney who is an employee of P&G; and any other person or firm retained by P&G to prosecute or assist in any litigation between P&G and Amway, including non-lawyer consultants or experts.
6. "The Little White Lies Home Page" refers to materials posted electronically on the "The Little White Lies Home Page" web page located at URL: http//www.awod.com/galley/rwav/slarsen/amway.html and linked pages, including archival or backup copies thereof
7. "BLC" refers to the listserve or listserves maintained under one or more names which include the formative "blc" (as, for example, blc- I @teleport.com) used to facilitate the exchange of electronic mail messages among Sidney Schwartz and other persons regarding Amway or Amway distributors.
8 . " STC" refers to the listserve or listserves maintained under one or more names which include the formative "stc" (as, for example, email@example.com) used to facilitate the exchange of electronic mail messages among Sidney Schwartz and other persons regarding Amway or Amway distributors.
1. All documents, including electronically stored information and documents in whatever form, received by you from P&G or any P&G attorney regarding Amway or any Amway distributor;
2. All documents, including electronically stored information and documents in whatever form, sent by you to P&G or any P&G Attorneys regarding Amway or any Amway distributors;
3. All documents containing, referring or relating to any discussions or communications between you and P&G or any P&G Attorneys regarding Amway or any Amway distributors, including telephone records, for the past five years;
4. All documents pertaining to The Little White Lies Home Page;
5. All documents reflecting your source of the materials posted on The Little White Lies Home Page;
6. All documents referring or relating to discussions or communications between you and Sidney Schwartz regarding Amway for the past five years.
7. All documents referring or relating to discussions or communications between you and any person subscribing to BLC for the past five years;
8. All documents referring or relating to discussions or communications between you and any persons subscribing to STC for the past five years;
9. All documents containing electronic mail communications (or any excerpts thereof) authored or received by you during the last five years in which the word "Amway" is mentioned;
10. All documents referring or relating to discussions between you and Ashley Wilkes, David Midgett (a/k/a Charles Tosp), Kenneth Lowndes, Diana Brunjes, Tamara Conrad (a/k/a Tamara Saggio), Ruth Carter, or John Hoagland.
11. Checks, check copies, deposit slips and other records reflecting the receipt of money or other funds or credits from P&G or any P&G Attorneys;
12. Records of meetings, telephone conferences and memoranda reflecting meetings or discussions with P&G or any P&G Attorneys;
13. Records of meetings, telephone conferences and memoranda reflecting meetings or discussions with any person subscribing to BLC or STC;
14. Records of meetings, telephone conferences, and memoranda reflecting meetings or discussions with Sidney Schwartz, Ashley Wilkes, David Midgett (a/k/a Charles Tosp), Kenneth Lowndes, Diana Brunjes, Tamara Conrad (a/k/a Tamara Saggio), Ruth Carter, or John Hoagland.
15. All other documents authored or received by you during the last five years regarding Amway or any Amway distributors.
16. All electronically stored files or parts of files containing any of the information requested in any of the preceding items which have been "deleted" by you but which may nevertheless be recoverable by any means;
17. A complete "mirror" copy of each of your disks, tapes or other electronic storage media which contains any of the information requested in the preceding items. Amway will enter into a reasonable protective order to preserve the confidentiality of your information not relevant to this litigation.
Letter of March 16, 2000
WARNER NORCROSS & J U DD LLP
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
900 OLD KENT BUILDING
111 LYON STREET, N.W.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN 49503-2487
TELEPHONE (616) 7S2-2000
FAX (616) 752-2500
BRIAN M. ANDREW
March 16, 2000
Mr. Scott Larsen
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Re: Amway Corporation v. The Procter & Gamble Company, et al. Discovery of Relevant Computer Records
Dear Mr. Larsen:
I have been informed by Electronic Evidence Discovery, Inc. "EED") that the imaging of your computer records on Thursday, March 2, 2000, was successful. I want to thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
The purpose of this letter is to let you know what will happen next with the image that EED obtained of your computer records. Amway Corporation ("Amway") is only interested in viewing those records from your image that have relevancy to its case against the Procter & Gamble companies, Sidney Schwartz and Kenneth Lowndes (collectively, "the P&G Defendants"). Amway has no interest in records on your image that are not somehow related to this case and will take reasonable steps to ensure that any private records on your image remain unread.
As such, EED will maintain your image on an "eyes only" basis and will not share the image with anyone else, including Amway. Amway has instructed EED to run word searches on your image for records containing certain terms that are relevant to its case against the P&G Defendants. I have attached a list of those search terms to this letter. EED will identify records on the image containing these terms and will extract only these records for production to Amway. Amway may be required to share certain of these records with the P&G Defendants, should they request access to them. In addition, Amway may need to run additional searches on your image if, as the case develops, Amway identifies additional relevant documents or terms. We will notify you in the event this happens.
I hope that you are comfortable with this process and understand that Amway respects your privacy. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns as we move forward. I will be happy to try and accommodate any reasonable request that you may have.
Brian M. Andrew
c Michael A. Mohr Catherine Lynem Jack Bererizweig Bradish J. Wafing
SCOTT LARSEN SEARCH TERMS
Variations on Party Names
Amway, Scamway, KGBway, P&G, Procter, Proctor, Gamble, Garnbel
Names of P&G Attorneys/Law Firms
Hueck, Hamilton, Dinsmore, Shohl, Stephenson, Farrell, Dykema, Gossett, Chesley, Stilz, Waite, Schneider, Bayless
Names of Individuals/Groups
BLC, STC, Schwartz, Sidney, Saggio, Wilkes, Brunjes, Lowndes, Hoagland, Midgett, Roberts, Tosp, Conrad, Carter, Hayden
Names of Websites
The Other Side of The Plan, Amway: The Untold Story, The Nightmare Builders, MLM Survivors Home Page, Lowndes for US Congress, An Insider's Perspective, Welcome to Amway, The Continuing Story, Welcome To The Anti-MLM and Anti-Amway Webring Homepage, Ask an Emerald
Parties in Other Litigation
Allen, Anderson, Arista, Baker, Barr, Bausch, Bohrer, Burroughs, Christian, Cutaia, Delcamp, Dorman, Doucet, Drummond, Faulkner, Finnie, Franklin, Griffith, Hallmark, Hainilton, Hanrahan, Haugen, Hlebichuck, Holguin, Kauftnann, Ketay, Kuntz, May, Mazzola, McDaniel, Mensack, Michaels, Morrison, Musgrove, Neely, Phillips, Powell, Price, Pruitt, Pultman, RLKA, Richburg, Rogers, Schumacher ,Schmanski, Sharp, Sheldon, Silvestri, Sotelo, Stewart, Taylor, Tobias, Touchton, Vazquez, Watchel, Wead, Weintraub, Woods,Young
My letter on 3/20/00
Thank you for the recent letter.
Only as a continuous improvement suggestion, I would suggest that the EDD representative carry with them on the airplane all needed hardware, when possible, for the successful completion of the job. Due to the Jazz drive and its backup being shipped by FEDX and not being available at the original agreed upon meeting time of 9:00am, I was delayed an additional 45 minutes waiting for the arrival of the package. This situation was most unprofessional and easily avoidable since a Jazz drive and its components are no larger or heavier than a hardbound book.
From your letter I understand that you are seeking information on P&G and the "defendants".
Looking at the search terms I see additional search criteria that don't appear to be logically related to the search criteria listed in your letter.
I would object on logical grounds that the detailed search criteria extends beyond the intent of your letter, especially when the additional names/groups/emails and other litigation is included as well.
I have nothing I'm sure which will help you in the case you are prosecuting now, or in cases which you hope to prosecute in the future. Your searches will reveal this. You also have a copy of my sworn statement that the "Little White Lies Web site" is my own and not financed by anyone but me, and that I have no ties with Procter and Gamble. I do have P&G information on my site, which I have obtained from their public Annual reports in order to make economic comparisons with Amway. You will not doubt have numerous hits for the terms P&G and all the others as well.
The additional search criteria over and above what you stated in your letter would appear to be a legal "fishing expedition". I know I have little you or Amway can use in your case since I am a "fringe" WEB site and only concern myself with the business and economic aspects of the Amway opportunity. I have nothing on lawsuits and legal actions, and frankly, it all bores me. You will find the 450+ emails from site visitors who agree with my site, and many of whom have been wronged and cheated by the Amway motivational organizations. You will also find 250+ e-mail from people who object to my site as well, and started numerous debates. You can search for anything you wish.
I will just point out a relational logic issue I see with the detailed search terms suggested versus the intent stated in your letter. I think the casual observer, if presented with both the letter and the actual search criteria being proposed, would conclude there are additional intentions behind the search of my hard drive. If you choose to restrict further the search criteria to items more directly related to those in your letter then, please let me know so that if I do post this "experience" on my site, that I do have the actual revised search terms, which may present the intent of the search in a light more related to the case at hand, and less that of a "fishing expedition".
If Amway were truly concerned about my privacy they would have given me some sort of reason or cause that justified this intrusion, and wasting of my time. I understand they have the legal right, but that does not make it right until some link is found. Why had it taken over one year since the first Subpoenas went out to get to me? Until I am presented with some reasonable cause to have justified this, I can only assume Amway is using this purely as a harassment technique and nothing more.
If Amway really wanted to improve their business and make the opportunity more profitable for all involved, it might serve them to actually read my site, understand the weak points and take action to improve them. We can all learn and improve by constructive criticism.
With Best Regards,
Their letter on 3/22/00
WARNER NORCROSS & JUDD LLP
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
March 23, 2000
Mr. Scott Larsen
Re: Amway Corporation v. The Procter & Gamble Company, et al. Discovery of Relevant Computer Records
Dear Mr. Larsen:
I received your e-mail of March 20, 2000, and would like to respond to some of your comments in that e-mail.
First, I offer my apologies for the logistical problems we had in imaging your computer. In an effort to accommodate your schedule and conduct the imaging as soon as possible so as to reduce your inconvenience, we had to ship some equipment via overnight mail. That necessity led to a delay, which was certainly unintended.
With respect to the search terms Amway is using to extract records from your image, while searching for this information may appear to have no logical relationship to this case, prior discovery has confirmed that defendant Sidney Schwartz has communicated about Amway with at least some (and maybe all) of these individuals on our search list. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Amway is entitled to learn the extent of Mr. Schwartz's communications with these individuals, making these search terms relevant to this case.
In addition, even if you personally did not participate in the discussions with Mr. Schwartz or others, and Amway is entitled to confirm that you did not, your computer may still contain evidence of relevant communications. Again, prior discovery in this case has revealed that you received e-mail from the STC listserv group run by Sidney Schwartz. Thus, there is a logical link between you and Mr. Schwartz, and Amway is entitled to see if your computer contains evidence that is relevant to its case against Mr. Schwartz and the other defendants.
Regarding your question about the length of time it took for Amway to serve you with a subpoena, Amway wanted to first confirm your contacts with Mr. Schwartz through other discovery and only served you with a subpoena in this case when it became clear that you may be in possession of relevant evidence.
I hope this information clarifies this process for you. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.
Brian M. Andrew
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