Ripoff Report Publisher Hammered in 9th Circ.


     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Consumers who ducked a lawsuit over the website RipoffReport.com had the Ninth Circuit designate their victory as a published opinion Tuesday.
     Xcentric Ventures brought the case at issue in Phoenix back in 2011, accusing Lisa Borodkin, Raymond Mobrez and Iliana Llaneras of malicious prosecution.
     The host behind the consumer-complaints website claimed that the defendants had been pressuring it to remove material from the Ripoff Report website and discourage it from publishing future complaints about the Asia Economic Institute.
     A federal judge sided with the defendants, however, granting Mobrez and Llaneras summary judgment and judgment on the pleadings, and dismissing Borodkin from the action under the Rules of Civil Procedure.
     The Ninth Circuit affirmed in June but kept the memorandum disposition unpublished.
     On Tuesday, the federal appeals court published the decision, as requested by Mobrez and Llaneras.
     The ruling notes that Xcentric had sued over the defendants’ underlying attempted racketeering extortion claim, which “alleged that Xcentric attempted to extort money by encouraging third parties to post negative reviews, manipulating the posts to highlight negative reviews and to further highlight the negative reviews if the businesses posted rebuttals, and then charging high fees to ‘turn the negative into a positive.'”
     “The claim was tenable because a district court had previously held that similar allegations stated an extortion claim against Xcentric,” the panel found in June.

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