• Report: #822574

Complaint Review: Florida Court of Appeals called Ripoff Report's practice of permitting a defamatory statement to remain on its website "appalling,"

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  • Submitted: Fri, January 13, 2012
  • Updated: Wed, July 23, 2014

  • Reported By: ED Magedson - Founder, Ripoff Report — Tempe Arizona USA
Florida Court of Appeals called Ripoff Report's practice of permitting a defamatory statement to remain on its website "appalling,"
Dade County Miami, Florida United States of America

Florida Court of Appeals called Ripoff Report's practice of permitting a defamatory statement to remain on its website "appalling," did it consider that all of the courts permit false and defamatory statements and frivolous allegations to remain on their public records, including their websites? ..The courts model is virtually identical to that of Ripoff Report Miami, Florida

*Consumer Comment: AMERICAN_LADY,

*Consumer Comment: Let's not insult ourselves by comparing RR to Courts

*Consumer Comment: You are Protected by Statute Law

*General Comment: Well Said

*Consumer Comment: Heywood, I agree that 'accurate' and 'truthful' information...

*Consumer Comment: Where do u live?

*Consumer Comment: florida can go to hell

*Consumer Comment: Ed Magedson knows exactly what he is talking about

*General Comment: Strong-arming and hammering

*Consumer Comment: Cost over the Right to report

*Consumer Comment: not a good idea

*General Comment: The nature of conflict is an important piece of information

*Consumer Comment: ***A LAWMAKER ABOVE THE LAW? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

*Consumer Comment: Arizona legal corruption

*General Comment: Agreed

*General Comment: Corrupt Justice System

*General Comment: Sharing thoughts on the case and proven judicial corruption in FL

*Consumer Comment: AMERIKAN_LADY, I AGREE THAT......

*Consumer Comment: comment

*Consumer Comment: Of course, you are correct.

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The Florida Court of Appeals called Ripoff Report's business practices appalling because we do not independently investigate everything submitted to us and we do not remove allegations which have been proven to be incorrect.  This statement is ironic considering that all courts (including Florida courts) permit plaintiffs to file pleadings with false and defamatory allegations, the courts never independently investigate those allegations (defendants must hire lawyers and pay huge legal fees to exonerate themselves), and even when an allegation is proven to be false, courts will allow the statement to remain visible in their public records, including in many cases on their websites.  Does that make the courts practices appalling? 

One other seriously misleading point in the Florida courts decision is this the court seemed to suggest that because Ms. [continued below]....

..... Romeo called Mr. Giordano a convicted felon (a statement which was factually untrue), this made Mr. Giordano a helpless victim who suffered severe and unfair damage to his reputation.  But is that really the case?

Ripoff Reports Response To Inaccurate Media Coverage In Giordano v. Romeo

Why does the Florida Court of Appeal believe that a website that defends the U.S. Constitution and allows users to speak their minds is "appalling?"

On December 28, 2011, a state appellate court in Florida issued an important decision in a case involving the Ripoff Report website entitled Giordano v. Romeo, --- So.3d ---, 2011 WL 6782933 (Fla.App. 3rd Dist. 2011). The Giordano case involved a lawsuit filed by a Florida drug and alcohol treatment center (G&G) and its owner (John Giordano) against a former customer (Donna Romeo) who posted a negative review of her experience on the Ripoff Report website.

This case has received a great deal of inaccurate and unfair media coverage, so we wanted to take a moment to set the record straight by providing the real facts about this case to you.

       I. BACKGROUND FACTS

The Giordano case arose from a negative review posted on the Ripoff Report website in July 2009. This review was written by a real customer, using her real name, and it described her real disappointment with the services she received at Mr. Giordanos treatment center in Florida.

In his Complaint, Mr. Giordano claimed that Ms. Romeos review was false and defamatory. However, rather than just seeking damages from Ms. Romeo and rather than merely asking for an update or correction to the review, Mr. Giordanos lawsuit was primarily focused on something elseobtaining a pre-trial injunction that would require Ripoff Report to remove Ms. Romeos entire review even though most of the review was Romeo's opinion and was true.

This request was highly unusual for two primary reasons. First, the case had not yet proceeded to trial, so no jury had determined whether the review was true or false. Second, much of the review was simply Ms. Romeos protected expression of opinion. As a matter of law and with only a few very narrow exceptions, opinions (like Coke is better than Pepsi or chocolate or better than vanilla) generally cannot be proven false. For that reason, opinions are generally entitled to the strongest level of First Amendment protection available.

Unfortunately, many people including Ms. Romeo do not have significant legal budgets to defend themselves when they are sued, and defending a typical lawsuit can easily cost $100,000 or more. For that reason, many authors believe they have no choice but to cave to economic pressure by requesting that Ripoff Report remove their reports even when the statements involved are completely true. Thats exactly what happened in this caseexcept for one good faith factual error, Ms. Romeo stated that everything else in her report was completely honest and truthful. However, because she could not afford the cost of defending Mr. Giordanos lawsuit, she agreed to ask Ripoff Report to remove her report in the hopes that by doing so Mr. Giordano would drop the case against her.

Based on our long track record of fighting to protect the First Amendment, Ripoff Report determined that we could not stand by and allow this to happen. As such, we decided to stand up for Ms. Romeos rights and argue that the court lacked legal authority to force us to remove her review.
 
       II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

At the trial court level, Ripoff Report argued that Mr. Giordano was not entitled to injunctive relief requiring the removal of Ms. Romeos review for several reasons. One such reason was an argument based on the immunity provided by a federal law called the Communications Decency Act or CDA. In short, the CDA provides that websites and their hosts are completely immune from being sued in most types of cases which arise from statements posted on the site by a third party user. In the most commonly used example, this means that if you are targeted by a false statement on Facebook, you can always sue the author of that statement, but you cannot sue Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook for allowing the statement to be posted. This is a common-sense rule that is supposed to prevent websites from being embroiled in costly lawsuits arising from material that was created by one of the sites users.

The first judge assigned to the Giordano case disagreed with our argument and determined, without citing any authority to support his view, that the CDA did not prohibit the imposition of an injunction that would require us to remove Ms. Romeos review. However, while the case was pending, the first judge ran for reelection and lost, so he was replaced by a new judge. Immediately after taking over the case, the new judge agreed with Ripoff Reports legal argument and concluded that the injunction requested by Mr. Giordano was barred by the CDA.

Mr. Giordano appealed this ruling, claiming that the first judge got it right while the second judge got it wrong. In an extremely short (2-page) decision, the Florida Court of Appeal agreed with Ripoff Report and noted: the law on this issue is clear. [Ripoff Report] enjoys complete immunity from any action brought against it as a result of the postings of third party users of its web-site. As such, the Court agreed that Ripoff Report was not required to remove Ms. Romeos review.

III. RIPOFF REPORT WINS; BUT THE COURT CLEARLY ISNT HAPPY ABOUT IT

Even though the Florida appellate court agreed completely with our legal position, in doing so the court used exceptionally harsh language to criticize the Ripoff Report and our non-removal policy, stating, The business practices of Xcentric are appalling. Xcentric appears to pride itself on having created a forum for defamation. But was Mr. Giordano really defamed here? The court seems to think he was, but was that really the case?

Although it is true that Mr. Giordano does not have a felony conviction on his record, by his own admission in a video posted on YouTube, Mr. Giordano previously used illegal drugs and by his own admission he previously sold illegal drugs including cocaine in Florida. Under Florida Statute 893.13, the sale of cocaine in Florida is a felony, so while it is technically accurate to say that Mr. Giordano is not a convicted felon, it is hardly accurate to say that Mr. Giordano has a squeaky-clean past devoid of any unlawful conduct. Thats simply not the case.

The truth here is Mr. Giordano has admitted to committing serious crimes including crimes which would constitute felonies under Florida law, albeit ones for which he was never charged or convicted. Oddly, even though these facts were brought to the attention of the Florida Court of Appeal, there is no mention of them anywhere in the courts opinion. As a result, the court inaccurately portrayed Mr. Giordano as an innocent victim of completely false statements when, in reality, the statement about his criminal past was largely true, according to his own admissions.

Ironically, in its discussion of the case and of Ripoff Reports business practices, the Florida appellate courts decision demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the Ripoff Report website. Of course, just as the First Amendment protects Mr. Romeos expressions of opinion, and just as the CDA protects Xcentric, the Florida court is also protected by the doctrine of absolute judicial immunity, so no matter how inaccurate the courts opinion might be, the judge who wrote the opinion cannot be sued for any false statements in that decision.

What the court failed to understand is this Ripoff Report does not pride itself on creating a forum for defamation any more than the court system prides itself on sending innocent people to prison. On the contrary, Ripoff Report prides itself on creating the first and best forum for consumers to have a real voice that has a real impact on business practices. Before a business engages in wrongful or poor business practices, the business now must consider that its actions are likely to be discussed and described online. Except to those who have something to hide, the Ripoff Report website is far from appalling. Instead, the site has helped to inform consumers, educate business owners, and improve customer service. The fact that the site is not perfect and that some users might abuse the system makes it no less appalling then the justice system, which is also abused by some.

The Florida Court of Appeal also stated that Ripoff Report will not entertain any scenario in which, despite the clear damage that a defamatory or illegal post would continue to cause so long as it remains on the website, Xcentric would remove an offending post. This statement is highly misleading.

Since our site was founded in 1998, Ripoff Report has always had a policy of removing specific allegations of violent criminal acts or convictions which are proven to be incorrect. More recently, Ripoff Report began offering an arbitration program that does include removal of false statements of fact.

Even after the Ripoff Report arbitration program was launched, Mr. Giordano continued to aggressively pursue a lawsuit against Ripoff Report in which he demanded the removal of Ms. Romeos entire review, including the true statement of fact and Ms. Romeos honest opinions. This type of conduct is an affront to the liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment, so Ripoff Report had no choice but to defend the right of every website to be free from arbitrary and unwarranted judicial interference.

IV. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ABOUT RIPOFF REPORTS NON-REMOVAL POLICY

Some people have criticized Ripoff Reports non-removal policy, suggesting that it is immoral or unethical of us to refuse to remove material even when a court has found the statements are false. With all due respect, the people who express this view do not seem to fully understand the significance of these issues, so we wanted to take a moment to explain the reasons for our position.

Nearly everyone in this country knows that our court system is among the best in the world, and Ripoff Report shares that view. However, just like the human beings who staff them, courts are not perfect and they sometimes make mistakes. No honest person can deny this factsometimes our courts get it wrong. Sometimes our courts mistakenly allow the guilty to go free, and sometimes they mistakenly send innocent people to prison or even to death.

As good as our court system is, no one can deny that our courts are not always correct. Courts in this country have determined that OJ Simpson was innocent of murdering his wife and her friend. Courts have determined that Casey Anthony was innocent of murdering her two-year old daughter, Caylee, and then dumping her body in a Florida swamp. But mistakes by the courts do not always result in the guilty being freed. With the recent increase of DNA testing, lawyers from The Innocence Project have exonerated nearly 300 wrongly-convicted individuals including many people sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit. Many even believe that the pro-death penalty attitude in the Texas courts have almost certainly resulted in one or more innocent people being executed.

What is the point? Simpleour court system is an honorable institution which does its best to resolve disputes in a civilized manner, but like everyone else, the courts can and do make mistakes. For that reason, courts cannot dictate truth for the entire world.

In our country, courts are here to resolve disputes, not to dispense truth. For this reason, even when a court finds that a civil lawsuit is groundless or that a criminal defendant is innocent, this does not mean that records of the case are destroyed or that the public is prevented from hearing about the facts of the case. Indeed, after OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony were famously acquitted of their crimes, did that mean that every newspaper and every website in the world was prohibited from talking about the facts of their cases? Of course not.the public has a right to know about the allegations against the defendants, and if the allegations are proven to be false, then the media has an obligation to explain the outcome of the case. Under no circumstances would the public be prohibited from knowing about a case just because a defendant was acquitted or because the plaintiffs claims were dismissed for some reason.

With the advance of technology, many court systems make case files easily accessible online. Many businesses have filed frivolous lawsuits against Ripoff Report that contained false statements of fact. No court has ever ordered that the false complaint or even the false statements in the complaint be removed from the public records. Rather, the courts simply allow Ripoff Report to respond to the complaint and prove its case at our own expense. The courts model is virtually identical to that of Ripoff Report. Yet, we are sure that the Florida Court of Appeal does not find the court's model to be appalling. Neither do we. Not perfect, but not appalling.


ED Magedson Founder, Ripoff Report

..by consumers, for consumers
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/13/2012 09:35 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Florida-Court-of-Appeals-called-Ripoff-Reports-practice-of-permitting-a-defamatory-statement-to-remain-on-its-website-appalling/Miami-Florida-/Florida-Court-of-Appeals-called-Ripoff-Reports-practice-of-permitting-a-defamatory-statem-822574. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

Click Here to read other Ripoff Reports on Florida Court of Appeals called Ripoff Report's practice of permitting a defamatory statement to remain on its website "appalling,"

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#1 Consumer Comment

AMERICAN_LADY,

AUTHOR: Karl - ()

Are you beginning to understand the the legal system in America is really being controlled by a cartel of corrupt and greedy bankers who also control Wall Street and even the U.S. government?

If not, simply 'Google' the following nine videos and documentaries and watch them on the web for proof-

1) WHO OWNS THE FED BANK WHO CONTROLS WHO VIDEO

2) LEGALIZED PLUNDER OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE G EDWARD GRIFFIN

3) FRONTLINE: MONEY, POWER AND WALL STREET

4) FULL SHOW: HOW BIG BANKS ARE REWRITING THE RULES OF OUR ECONOMY

5) AMERICA: FREEDOM TO FASCISM

6) YOUTUBE FALL OF THE REPUBLIC

7) RON PAUL'S BROTHER ON FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM

8) FRONTLINE: THE WARNING

9) FRONTLINE: INSIDE THE MELTDOWN

Have a great weekend!

***WEST PALM BEACH ALERT: Make sure to stay at this site and type in 269041 and scroll down to the consumer comment entitled "Blame it on a Lawyer" at Ripoff Report #269041 and read the following that appears in paragraph #6:

Quote: "The highest concentration of wealthy individuals in the world reside in West Palm Beach, Florida, between the months of November and March."

*Yesterday was November 1, 2013.

WELCOME TO WEST PALM BEACH- WE CATER TO THE CORRUPT AND GREEDY PEOPLE WHO HAVE DESTROYED THE LIVES OF MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE USA AND ALL OVER THE WORLD BETWEEN THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER AND MARCH

 

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#2 Consumer Comment

Let's not insult ourselves by comparing RR to Courts

AUTHOR: Chuck - ()

I don't think Ripoff Report is doing credit to itself by comparing itself to the court system. Let's face it, if there was an effective court system or any hint of justice for non-Ashkenazis and non-Millionares in this country, then there wouldn't be a need for Ripoff Report (and there wouldn't be over 1.7 Million reports on this website already).

I have had to use Ripoff Report several times over the years and I have found it highly effective at putting a stop to scams and fraud artists, although it has never gotten me compensated for damages against me. Still, I would put this head and shoulders above our Shyster-infected (in)justice system which wastes our time, steals our money and then throws us back in the streets to be ripped off by the next scam artist or by corporate theives.

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#3 Consumer Comment

You are Protected by Statute Law

AUTHOR: David - ()

If you had reviewed and investigated the comments on your board, you would be opening yourself to liability. Just letting everyone post and warning them of defamation is the proper route. If you are served with a court order to remove the statements then you should do so. 

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#4 General Comment

Well Said

AUTHOR: Cowan Protective Services - (USA)

Thanks for the in depth report and analysis. I have to admit I have never thought about it from your perspective till now. I have been working in Government Service for over 17 years and only now do I see the dual standards in regards to government reports and those in the private sector. I am pleased to add this information to my knowledge for future use. 

Donald C
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#5 Consumer Comment

Heywood, I agree that 'accurate' and 'truthful' information...

AUTHOR: Karl - (USA)

is what most people are looking for. 

If you type in 271454 at this site and go to 'Consumer Comment #1' at Ripoff Report #271454, you can read an accurate statement which was made one year before the collapse of the U.S. economy. Here is part of what was stated in that consumer comment on September 3, 2007:

QUOTE: "The Collapse of the U.S. economy is in its infancy. Get all of your money out of the stock market and cash in your retirement NOW!" - September 3, 2007.

That statement was made a little over one year before the collapse took place. On September 29, 2008, the stock market crashed and the banking system melted down in the USA and all over the world. The Dow Jones lost a record 777 points on September 29, 2008.
Simply 'Google' this- FRONTLINE: INSIDE THE MELTDOWN, and watch that video on the web for proof.

'Accurate' and 'truthful' information, as you stated in your comment, was available right here at Ripoff Report over a year before the collapse of the U.S. economy and the stock market crash occurred, wouldn't you agree?

Have a nice day.
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#6 Consumer Comment

Where do u live?

AUTHOR: Heywood Jablowme - (United States of America)

Just curious, what world do you live in?  Because it sure is not the real world.  EVERYTHING has to do with money, my friend.  If you do not have enough money, than you do not get to do what you want to do.  If this website does not have enough money to pay it's bills, then it will shut down.

Anyways, I do not recall seeing anywhere in my post about shutting this place down.  But your "right" to Free Speech does not extend to the right to defame somebody.  (Oh, and FYI - your "right" only applies to actions taken by governmental entities - NOT actions taken by private companies, employers, or individuals.)

This website does serve a valuable purpose.  It gives people a chance to vent as well as get information about companies they want to do business with.  But this site is as only as good as the information put on here by people like you and I.

I am willing to bet that this lawsuit above cost this website at least $50,000.  How many lawsuits can this business - or any business for that matter, afford before they go out of business?  That is the only reason why I mentioned that this site should provide some way for a business to get bogus reports taken down.

Also, it is in YOUR best interest to have bogus reports removed, too!  The only way YOU can make an informed decision about a product or a company is with accurate information.  If someone is giving you a line of BS, you will make a bad decision.  And bad decisions can cost you wasted time and money.  So we should all want this site to contain the most accurate and truthful information as is possible, and to remove information that is not accurate or truthful, right?
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#7 Consumer Comment

florida can go to hell

AUTHOR: Daniel - (U.S.A.)

and take the us gov with you, with out this report on the web i would not have been able to tell my story and find other people that GMAC has ripped off , and if theres things on here not true so be it i know what i write is true and can back it up    thanks rip off report for being there 
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#8 Consumer Comment

Ed Magedson knows exactly what he is talking about

AUTHOR: MsKnowItAll - (U.S.A.)

I totally agree with what was written in the above report...everything that was said in this report is true...
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#9 General Comment

Strong-arming and hammering

AUTHOR: lynt - (United States of America)

And the "attorney" wrote:


"And even if you guys are not the target of a lawsuit (while the original poster is), you WILL get caught up in all kinds of expensive third-party discovery matters.

I should know - I am just that sort of lawyer who has made a living the past twenty years strong-arming and hammering companies just like yours."

My (protected) opinion: You wouldn't be flooding the system with bulls..t discoveries while you're "strong-arming and hammering".  You sound like you're part of the problem.  As you chastise Ripoff Report, maybe you should point your fingers the other way and take a good look at yourself.  It sounds like you're after the almighty dollar rather than justice.  At least we can say that Ripoff Report is more interested in advocating for the consumer.  Where do your (real) interests lie?  There's an old saying, "a lawyer can mess up a one-car funeral".  

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#10 Consumer Comment

Cost over the Right to report

AUTHOR: lynt - (United States of America)

I take exception with the individual who suggested that Ripoff report arbitrate before defending themselves in a lawsuit:  If he/she had read the entire case about Giordana (sp), he would have discovered that the plaintiff did not want to arbitrate.  Just like it takes two to tango, it takes two to arbitrate.

Secondly, he/she talks about Ripoff Report saving money rather than defending their own policy and hiring lawyers, etc.  As the wife of a disabled vet, I can already tell you that people have already suffered and died in order to provide Americans with the right to be heard.  What does saving money have to do with it:  such a small price to pay to bolster what many have already given their lives to ensure that we can exercise our rights.  

And, in the words of Bobby Brown, "they made this money, you didn't".  Put your own dough to whatever use YOU want to -- they can do the same with theirs.
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#11 Consumer Comment

not a good idea

AUTHOR: Heywood Jablowme - (United States of America)

Just because you can do something does not mean that you should.  If a person or business owner is willing to go the extra mile and file an actual lawsuit against you guys, maybe you should think twice about your policy.

There is such a thing as a death by one thousand cuts.  Every time some one files a lawsuit against you it costs you thousands of dollars to defend.  Because of the US Supreme Court's decision in Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U.S. 770 (1984), said lawsuit can be filed anywhere in this country, in any court - large or small.

As an example, there are all kinds of tiny towns way out in west Texas, Nevada, Wyoming, etc., in which defamation lawsuits can be filed against you guys.  Yeah, you mostly will win at the trial level or appellate level, but first you have got to hire attorneys - attorneys willing to travel way out in Podunk to defendant the case.

Several dozen of these kinds of lawsuits will quickly make your website economically unviable.

So why not save yourself a ton of money and try to work these things out before they get too big?  You provide a reasonably good service here.  But you have already established that the courts are NOT on your side, so you can expect them to use every trick in the book to keep a case going against you guys till you run out of money.

All it takes is the right defendant and an attorney who knows how to draft a lawsuit that will defeat any summary judgment motion you guys file.

And even if you guys are not the target of a lawsuit (while the original poster is), you WILL get caught up in all kinds of expensive third-party discovery matters.

I should know - I am just that sort of lawyer who has made a living the past twenty years strong-arming and hammering companies just like yours.
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#12 General Comment

The nature of conflict is an important piece of information

AUTHOR: tallgirl - (USA)

One value of the "no removals" policy is that it provides a history of experiences which consumers have in attempting to resolve a conflict, even if the conflict is successfully resolved, or even if the consumer discovers they are in error and their complaint was unfounded.

Consider the many instances of "I was told I had no contract / a short contract / could cancel any time" that are found throughout this website.

Contract law is usually explicit on the point that a "verbal agreement" does not overrule the clear and plain language of a contract.  A reputable company would, in my opinion, terminate the employment of any sales persons who engaged in such a dishonest business practice, and seek to remedy whatever complaint the consumer had.  Business studies have shown that more "positive" experiences (press reports, consumer complaints, etc) are required to out-weigh a smaller number of "negative" experiences.

Hopefully most reasonable people can agree, in the example given above, that there is a difference between a consumer who wants to breach a contract "just because" and a consumer who was mislead by an aggressive sales force into believing there was no cancellation fee, or other such side agreement.

Many times "service after the sale" can be as important as the actual goods or services purchased.  These conflicts, however right or wrong the impressions of consumers might be, are an important indication of how businesses treat their consumers after a contract is signed or a transaction has been completed.

The behavior of parties to a conflict is, in my opinion, a key indicator of the character of the parties.  In the case presented above, it is apparently the case that Mr. Giordano had an experience with illegal drug use.  For reasons which are known to him, he then came to be involved with the drug and alcohol treatment center mentioned in the suit.  Ms. Romeo apparently contracted with the drug and treatment center and had a negative experience.

Were I considering the services of Mr. Giordano's business, I would consider how he handled the present case.  He did not, for example, come to this website and say "Yes, in the past I have used illegal drugs.  I now use that experience to benefit my clients".  He did not, for example, come to this website and say "While it is true that I have used illegal drugs, I was fortunately never arrested and/or convicted.  I help my clients with their drug and alcohol problems so they may avoid legal problems in the future."  While it appears to be factually correct that Mr. Giordano has no conviction for his illegal drug use, I would have concerns about purchasing services from a business which failed to disclose information such as that.  Ironically, I would be more likely to purchase the services of a drug and alcohol treatment center if I know that one of the principals had direct experience with a drug or alcohol problem, and freely disclosed that.

Which brings up my closing point.  The actual facts of a matter are not the entirety of the matter.  How problems are resolved, and how the parties to a conflict handle themselves, are an important part of the process as well.  If the only complaints against a business are "They ripped me off!", I am less likely to give that complaint weight, or even to ignore it completely, than if a consumer posts a clearly written and well-reasoned complaint.  Even the most outrageous "They ripped me off!" posts have value, though I would argue that they tend to make the complaining consumer look ignorant and spiteful.
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#13 Consumer Comment

***A LAWMAKER ABOVE THE LAW? YOU BE THE JUDGE!

AUTHOR: Karl - (USA)

Anyone can 'Google' the following and read the related articles and watch the videos on the web-

1) COLORADO LAWMAKER SUSPECTED OF DUI SAYS SHE DIDN'T INVOKE

2) STATE REP. LAURA BRADFORD ACCUSED OF USING CONSTITUTIONAL

Thank You
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#14 Consumer Comment

Arizona legal corruption

AUTHOR: Larry - (U.S.A.)

In Arizona, if you file a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Conduct, you will be warned by the commission that you may not make your complaint known to anyone else.  If the commission does not sustain your complaint, the record of the complaint is sealed and no one will ever see it or even know of its existence.  The complaint is made public only if the commission sustains the charges.

As Ed has pointed out, if you are accused of a crime and found not guilty, the entire file remains available for public inspection forever.  Certainly not the same standard judges are held to.

In a similar manner, complaints against lawyers are kept secret unless and until the State Bar sustains the complaint.

As I write this, former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew P. Thomas is facing disbarment proceedings.  Actually, the hearing has been going on for months.  Mr. Thomas has been accused in the press of misusing his office to benefit his friends by, among other things, bringing criminal charges against a newspaper editor and publisher, against members of the county board of supervisors, and against several superior court judges who ruled against him.  Portions of the hearing have been televised.  But the website for the state bar currently states about Andrew P. Thomas: "History/Discipline: This lawyer has no activity."

Lawyers and judges have reserved for themselves a right of secrecy that they do not extend to the rest of the population.  I find that appalling.

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#15 General Comment

Agreed

AUTHOR: Dave Campbell - (United States of America)

 Based on the observation that "its only slander/libel if its NOT TRUE" then they have no leg to stand on.
Compare this to the current flap about SOPA. SOPA is legislation to address CRIMINAL PIRACY. Why would ISPs object to laws preventing OTHERS from using THEIR system to commit mass criminal fraud?

Theres only ONE reason, and I dont need to "esplain it" You can figure it out

BTW, RR staff, theres a Troll called Karl posting conspiracy theory trash and flame responses here, he should be booted.
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#16 General Comment

Corrupt Justice System

AUTHOR: precise14010 - (United States of America)

Rigged courts, bribed judges, phony trials, extortion by lawyers, corrupt corrections officers and hundreds of prisoners in the USA arein prison but not guilty because of corrupt police officers filing phony police reports.  I major in Criminal Justice and I am disgusted with what takes place behind the scenes between officials.  I have considered changing my major a million times but am reluctant to do so because I feel I can make a difference.  Consumers need a place like Ripoffreport.com to express opinions and facts without the fear of prosecution.  Today's legal system is set up to protect the criminals rights and not the rights of citizens who are honest.  Florida is one of the worst states in the U.S.A known for not protecting its citizens from big business, scams and people that prey on senior citizens. There is a huge double standard when it comes to judges and the court system.  Judges are very rarely held accountable for their mistakes in any state. The doctrine of sovereign immunity protects judges and many other officials.  If the public knew half of the corruption that actually takes place in real life that people think only exists in the movies your head would explode.  Thank you ripoffreport.com for sticking to your guns and winning the fight for consumer rights throughout the United States.

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#17 General Comment

Sharing thoughts on the case and proven judicial corruption in FL

AUTHOR: Mad_With_Lou - (United States of America)

Thank you thank you thank you Ed and Ripoff Report!  People commit the greatest evil under the cover of darkness.  Secrecy is one of the most powerful weapons in the arsenal of the corrupt.  Commenter Amerikan_lady(conserned citizen) hit the nail on the head when she stated Finally Rip off gives people a voice and exposes the corruptness and they are trying to shut that down too.  However, before going any further Id like to take a moment to thank the Florida Court of Appeals for making the right decision this time.  For the record, I dont know that Courts record and its not my intention to imply that the Florida Court of Appeals gets it wrong a lot of the time.  However, based on the well known fact that corporate interests often take the front seat at the expense of individuals rights in our society (just look at some of the things that corporate lobbyists are responsible for spearheading) I think its a safe assumption that the Courts decision was extremely painful for at least some of the justices and for many of the friends of the Courtbut thankfully the majority of the Appeal Court judges got it right.

Now Ill proceed.  As was mentioned by previous commenters the American legal system is largely about generating revenue and profit (and about  making the citizenry conform to the will of a powerful few)and not about justice.  This is a sad but true fact and history has proven it time and time again.  Obviously there are good lawyers, good politicians, and good judges; but it would be nave to not acknowledge that there are a significant amount of bad apples in the bunchbad apples who abuse the court for their own agendas (be the agenda to greedily line their own pocket with cash, to institute policy that they favor, to torture those whom they dont favor, or any other numerous objectives).  For that reason the court, like any other manmade system, is imperfect and cannot be relied on to reach the right decision 100% of the time.  Heck with the negative politic-related news and court-related news that the country is bombarded with nearly on a daily basis Im leaning towards believing that the ratio is somewhere in the 80/20 range at best [i.e. at best 80% of the court decisions are right/justifiable and 20% are wrong and reached via deception and/or a judge(s) desire to do what he wants to do even if what he wants doesnt conform to the law].  For the record, Im not trying to debate statistics and the aforementioned 80/20 statement is just my opinion that Ive stated in order to illustrate the point that a significant amount of wrong decisions are reached in courtrooms across the country everyday (some of which are decisions that are far too difficult to reverse).

Additionally, when one considers the fact that the legal system generally favors the wealthy and powerful another broad avenue to corruption is apparent.  Anyone who disagrees with the previous statement and who doesnt realize that wealthy and powerful attorneys are very often at an advantage in a courtroom has somehow failed to recognize something that a large portion of the populace has learned.  If you dont believe this then get into a dispute (a straightforward dispute mind you that is clear-cut and black & white, but which is relatively boring and does not generate a lot of attention or evoke a lot of sympathy) with a well-funded party and be on the right side of the argument.  When that party engages you in a lawsuit represent yourself (i.e. be a pro se litigant) and, armed with righteousness/truth/proof on your side, trounce the other attorney with your reasonable and valid argument in front of the judge.  Walla!  You win rightnot so fast.  You might prevail, but theres a strong chance that you might lose big time.  If you dont believe this do some research.  You might lose do to cronyism and ulterior motives and your only recourse would, in many cases, be an appeal that you would quite possibly lose because oftentimes the appeals court sets the bar exceedingly high for appellants.  Of course that assumes you can even afford the appeals process (or successfully navigate the difficult process yourself  if youre a pro se appellant) and the courts know this, as do judges who often render decisions that they know they ought not.  Judges should be held accountable for their decisions, if judges had to have a legally justifiable reason(s) for their decisions there would be a great reduction in the occurrences of the aforementioned courtroom abuses that Ive alluded to here.  A similar fate is what I believe would have likely awaited Ms. Giordano had the stars not lined up perfectly for her.  Although well never know this for sure because we dont definitely know the other path that Giordano v. Romeo would have taken if things had gone differently; based on other known cases it is not unreasonable to believe that Ms. Giordano could have quite likely lost her case (even if all of the facts in her Ripoff Report complaint were 100% accurate).  This is a big problem.  Assuming one doesnt blow their case because they dont effectively communicate the facts and evidence, the stature of the parties presenting the arguments during a case should be of no consequence.  In instances where the law is clear-cut judges  (and lawyers and politicians in conjunction w/ courts) should not be able to figuratively rewrite the law at their whimwhere patent abuse has occurred that type of  action should be illegal and not merely correctable upon successful appeal.  Also, the court should not be able to be abused by litigants who, via big-time hired-gun lawyers, perpetuate lawsuits that are clearly unsupported by existing law solely because they know they have greater resources than the righteous litigant and can thereby outgun and/or outlast the righteous litigant in any legal proceeding and thereby obtain some objective that they truly arent entitled to obtain.  Sometimes right is clearly right and wrong is clearly wrong and no degree of finely tuned legal speak or fancily drafted motions should make a bit of difference.  But everyone knows that is not the case.  The American legal system is by far not the worlds worst but it is nonetheless in need of reform.

Thank you again Ed and Ripoff Report.  Additionally, your report mentions absolute judicial immunity.  That is something that needs to be tackled next.  With each additional episode of corruption that is exposed (and you hear about those episodes so often now that theyre almost impossible to keep up with) I become more and more convinced that the stated purposes of immunityvarious types of immunitycan be accomplished via a better way and that immunity accomplishes little more than giving criminals get out of jail free cards.  Criminal acts that would land an average citizen in jail get misclassified as merely ethics violations and everyone from the offender down the line to the lowest level cover-up conspirator tasked with policing the offender go unpunished or only get slaps on the wrists.  If our leaders were held to, at minimum, the same standards and level of accountability that commoners were held to then our country would be a better place and youd see fewer criminals amongst the ranks of our leaders.  As it stands, the cost our political and judicial leaders pay when they willfully fail the public that they have sworn to serve is often way too low; and because of that political corruption, judicial corruption, and  incorrect court rulings wont become a thing of the past anytime soon.  Immunity can be pierced in certain circumstances, but doing so is far more difficult than it should be.

Lastly, regarding the Florida judiciary.  In the 8th Judicial Circuit of Floridain Alachua County to be preciseJudge (and former prosecutor) David P. Kreider, and his co-conspirators, are under fire for multiple proven criminal acts committed during the Gibson case.  Judge Kreider has committed crimes under the color of law and he, and the others, should already be suffering severe consequences for their actions; and Judge Kreider should already be "out the door".  Instead the system that often prosecutes the common man with mind-numbing speed and efficiency is proceeding with Judge Kreiders ouster at a snails pace, and proceeding very quietly.  During which time judge, and criminal, David P. Kreider remains a threat to the public.  The circuit, the Office of the State Attorney, etc. are aware of the conspirators criminality and those agencies are in possession of an in-depth report and evidence regarding the crimes.  The matter is being handled, but it is being handled far too slowly and it is being handled in a manner that many would think is, at minimum, somewhat questionable.  It is amazing that a person can be arrested for shoplifting a small bag of potato chips and have their mugshot plastered all over a major newspaper (and the paper's website) the very next day; but a public official who has committed grievous crimes can be allowed to operate under the cover of secrecy after committing crimes.   When you consider the hierarchy of the crimes in that realistic scenario I dont know about you, but I find that type of administration of justice to be inequitable and highly insulting to my intelligence, and just another example of our tiered and troubled justice system at work.  Keep an eye on this other Florida/Kreider development and see how it gets handled by those charged with protecting the public.
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#18 Consumer Comment

AMERIKAN_LADY, I AGREE THAT......

AUTHOR: Karl - (USA)

the legal system in this country is nothing more than a business, and its number one objective is to simply make money.

Our entire country has its foundation solidly built on lies, deception, fraud, manipulation, greed, trickery, deep corruption, and the constant pursuit to financially injure the innocent people living here and all over the world. That's why this country is falling apart. 

The ones who are ultimately in control of our government and Wall Street believe that fraud is a necessary component in the way economies and governments operate.

Feel free to 'Google' the following videos and watch them on the web for proof-

FRONTLINE: THE WARNING
FRONTLINE: INSIDE THE MELTDOWN
AMERICA: FREEDOM TO FASCISM
WHO OWNS THE FED BANK, WHO CONTROLS WHO VIDEO

Good luck to you.

***NATIONWIDE BANK ALERT: Make sure to type in the following at this site and read the Ripoff Reports from people all over America for valuable information if you have a bank account or a mortgage in the USA-

MERRILL LYNCH
BANK OF AMERICA
GMAC
WELLS FARGO
COUNTRYWIDE
CHASE
INDYMAC
ONE WEST BANK
MORGAN STANLEY
HAMP
GOLDMAN SACHS
CITIBANK
LEHMAN
LITTON LOAN
JP MORGAN
US BANK
MORTGAGE
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#19 Consumer Comment

comment

AUTHOR: Amerikan_lady(conserned citizen) - (USA)

 I agree with ripoffreport. The court system unfortunatly is nothing more than a buisness. If your an attorney you know what I'm referring to when I use the words "fee bombing". With the court it's not about doing right, or even being right. It's about the all mighty dollar and the money they make off our corrupt so called judicial system. 

   Unless peole are willing to protest on a MASSIVE SCALE to enforce our original constitutional rights it will always be by the gorvernment, for the government, and of the government and never for the people, by the people, and of the people.

  We as americans sit around and bitch about the corrupt courts and greedy politions yet what else is done? Nothing for the people, of the people, or again by the people.

  Finally Rip off gives people a voice and exposes the "corruptness" and they are trying to shut that down too. I believe especially politioans should not be paid for there "public service". If they weren't making money off it maybe it wouldn't be so corrupt. It should be an honor and privelage to hold those positions. not a paid salary. only to not do shit for the people anyway and if your an elected official the people usually have to wait for the corrupt bastard  to get out of office and pray he doesn't get re-elected
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#20 Consumer Comment

Of course, you are correct.

AUTHOR: Flynrider - (USA)

    Does it really surprise you that Florida Court of Appeals holds you to an entirely different standard than it holds itself?   This is commonplace for any branch of the government and is to be expected.   If the courts, congress and the executive branch were forced to follow the same laws that you and I are held to, they would cease to function. 
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