The tiff between Starnet Communications and Las Vegas Casino Inc. is getting uglier by the minute. Starnet announced today that it is countering recent actions by Las Vegas Casino with a defamation lawsuit claiming damages for false and malicious statements on the Internet.
Starnet, subsidiary Softec Systems Caribbean and Starnet exec John Carley have filed a Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim against defendants, Las Vegas Casino, Inc. ("Las Vegas Casino"), Claude Levy, and Gambling Magazine, in the Vancouver Registry of the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Tuesday.
According to a Starnet spokesperson, Starnet, Softec and its senior management have been the target of patently false and malicious statements published by the defendants on the Web since July 23, 1999, the day after Softec terminated its licensing agreement with Las
Vegas Casino Inc. for non-payment of licensing fees.
Las Vegas Casino, is a Panama-registered company and the owner of numerous Internet casino and gambling sites that were licensed to operate Softec software. Starnet says that Claude Levy, from Belgium, was an officer and director of Las Vegas Casino at the time the statements were published. Gambling Magazine, publishes an Internet magazine of the same name and is administered by Claude Levy, according to the database of Network Solutions, the organization that manages all "dot.com" domain name registrations throughout the world.
Starnet claims that the defendants published numerous false and defamatory statements on the Internet, including those made in a July 27 press release with the headline: "Starnet Sued by Las Vegas Casino Inc. for a Billion Dollars." Starnet maintains that no such lawsuit existed at the time and neither Starnet nor its subsidiaries were served with notice of any lawsuit from Las Vegas Casino. Starnet claims that it has suffered serious injury to its character, credit and reputation and is seeking damages for loss of business opportunities, loss of market share for its products and services, and loss of market value.
Starnet is claiming aggravated damages as a result of the defendants' refusal to publish a retraction of the defamatory statements despite having been requested in writing to do so. It's also claiming a court order restraining the defendants from further writing or posting on the Internet or otherwise publishing defamatory statements.
Punitive damages are being claimed on the basis that at the time, the defendants published the defamatory statements, they knew the statements were false; the statements were published maliciously; the defendants knew and intended that the statements would cause loss and damage to the plaintiffs; and the publication of the defamatory statements was a vindictive attempt to retaliate against the plaintiffs for Softec's proper termination of a contract between the Plaintiff Softec and the defendant Las Vegas Casino.
Starnet attorney Chris Zacharias says that the defendants are continuing to publish defamatory statements about Starnet, its subsidiaries and senior management.
"We will vigorously prosecute operators who recklessly publish fabrications and misinformation about our companies without any regard for the law," Zacharias said. "These operators are a menace, not only to our emerging company and industry, but also to the development of the Internet as whole."