Fan Mail: "Perdue – You’re a Litigious Bastard!"
The following comes from one of those emails. I figured I might as well post this before this person starts plastering it all over the Web.
“Perdue-you’re a litigious bastard! Why don’t you tell people about your big lawsuit against Pacific Bell and the millions that you coerced our of them because of your little web site? Yeah, you’re a real bastard crying poor little me and being a moneygrubbing asshole for going after Dan Brown who writes better in his sleep than you do on a good day.
“Yeah you asshole! I saw what you did with that archive site over on the other writer’s blog so I looked you up and look what I found: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.patheticbell.com I understand that Pacific Bell paid millions to settle the lawsuit. So tell everybody about that you litigious gold-digging jerk!”
Well, first of all, welcome to my blog. It’s always nice to get letters from fans.
The truth is that I made nothing, not a single penny from the class action litigation that grew out of an online forum I started about atrocious DSL service. PacBell did pay millions and I got the only thing I was looking for, justice.
The details are:
1. Back in 2000, I received feloniously bad DSL service from Pacific Bell, now SBC.
2. After months of not resolving that, I figured there must be a better way to get some sort of justice. Even if I never got the service I was after, I figured there must be a way to hold PacBell to accounts.
3. I also figured that I was not the only person with this problem, so in March 2001, I started an online forum – this is before the blogosphere’s Big Bang.
4. The Pathetic Bell users forum was swamped with both angry customers and many good PacBell employees who were aghast at what was happening. So aghast that they provided some great tips and information.
5. The plaintiff’s bar and its investigators picked up on The Pathetic Bell users forum.
6. I was asked to be a named plaintiff in a class action law suit. I refused.
7. I was offered some pretty substantial consulting fees. I refused those as well.
To accept either of those would have damaged the credibility of the forum and the one thing bthat mattered: justice. I was not going to sacrifice that for money.
8. SBC/PacBell was subsequently the subject of several class-action lawsuits as well as regulatory reviews and investigations by both state and federal authorities. SBC lost or settled all of those. I believe they paid a total in excess of $20 million.
9. I received NOTHING from the lawsuit other than the satisfaction that justice had been done.
* I did NOT start the forum with litigation in mind, but only the idea that shedding light on the subject would make justice easier to find. Millions of people benefited.
* I did NOT initiate the litigation,
* I was NOT a party to the litigation other than as an unnamed member of the class of all consumers with the same DSL “service” from SBC.
* I did NOT accept any money or other compensation from any party associated with the entire process and, indeed, paid for the hosting out of my own pocket and spent countless hours over three years as board administrator.
Was it worth it? Yes. Would I do it again? You bet!
So, here we have yet another case where those defending Dan Brown have chosen to take something and twist it around in order to make me look bad, or to try and convince people that I did something I did not.
I do NOT believe that email was prompted by the Random House lawyers, but it certainly does follow the same pattern, as documented in the posts below.