Battlefoam Learns Why Legal Threats Can Be Dangerous

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124 Responses

  1. Real says:

    Can we please please please get a post on the recent developments with Prenda? Seems like a lot has been going on and since IANAL, I rely on your commentary to interpret what all is going on and its various implications.

    Sorry to hijack this post.

  2. Kat says:

    I wondered if you guys would pick this one up. I'm not hugely into minis (as can be seen by the fact that I call them minis), but I have a friend who basically lives and breathes them. He was all, "Who's Randazza, is he decent?" and I had to laugh a little.

  3. James says:

    Is there a reason there is no link to the actual "defamatory article?" I'm a bit reluctant to poke around in a web site called "Blood of Kittens," even over my lunch hour here at work.

  4. TJIC says:

    > Again, if you don't know what that means, you very likely don't want to know. Just nod your head and move along.

    I'd like to say that I'm not a nerd.

    On the other hand, that would conflict with the fact that last weekend I was teaching my 8 year old godson how to paint Warhammer 40k miniatures.

    (Def Kopta FTW!)

  5. Clark says:

    @James:

    > is there a reason there is no link to the actual "defamatory article?"

    Yes, I'd like to see the alleged defamation as well. Thanks.

  6. DP says:

    Congratulations, Devin. You have made it to the "big leagues" with a blog entry on Popehat!

  7. Nicholas Weaver says:

    James: I think they pulled the article, for now at least.

  8. MEP says:

    I'm sorry Ken, but I fail to see the "bluster" in this letter. It seems to be worded fairly reasonably, and indicates that BattleFoam (BF) has attempted to settle this matter outside of court on multiple occasions. They are not claiming that a review is too harsh or that the defendant hurt their feelings. They're claiming that the defendant made specific false claims about their business and people within their business. They claim that they can demonstrably prove these statements are false in a court of law.

    They give a deadline. Okay. Why is that a bad thing? The letter basically says, "We have attempted to reason with you and you don't want to be reasoned with. We don't want to make this a legal matter, but we will if we have to. Please take this last opportunity to avoid court proceedings."

    Let's pretend for a moment that we already know the statements made on Blood of Kittens are libelous (which we don't and I don't presume they are in reality. This is a though experiment). If you were the victim of that libel how would you write this letter differently? Where is the "tell" in this letter that makes it wrong? I'm not asking to be confrontational. I'm a long-time reader, and I usually see what you're getting at right away, but I'm sincerely confused this time.

  9. Noah Callaway says:

    @Real

    I'm as Prenda-addicted as anybody, but I'd prefer if we avoid pestering Ken or anyone else at Popehat for updates. They are busy people who do this for free on their own time. I'd like to make sure that they continue to enjoy the work that they do in the long-term so they don't retire. I'm sure posts on unrelated things asking for Prenda updates don't contribute to their happiness in making this blog.

    If you do need more analysis / commentary on Prenda dietrolldie.com and fightcopyrighttrolls.com both do an excellent job of following that debate. While their legal commentary is not as strong as Ken's (and I mean no offense by that!), they will keep you up to date with the goings on.

    I'm sure Ken will post as he finds time / interest / relevance. As a community, I think we should be grateful for the excellent commentary that we get, and not press our luck by demanding more…

  10. Anton Sirius says:

    In the name of Tzeentch, please let someone show up for the deposition dressed as a Space Marine.

  11. Ken White says:

    I'm sorry Ken

    Don't apologize for disagreeing.

    Here's a few of the things that make it blustery:

    1. They demand removal of all mentions of Battlefoam et al, but "at a minimum" the allegedly defamatory article. There's no basis to remove anything but the defamatory article.

    2. The demand for attorney fees within one week.

    3. The demand to post an attorney-provided affidavit (which, by the way, is a trick; any affidavit admitting the statements were false could be used against Hayden later, because the promise not to sue in the letter is inadequate).

    4. A one-week deadline.

  12. Ken White says:

    Also, with respect to Battlefoam's claim that it is defamatory to say that Filip threatened customers, a search turned up this claim.

    If it is true that Filip sent a message like this:

    From: Battle Foam
    Title: You can hide, but not forever…

    Hey clown, I'll tell you this one time and one time only. I will find out who you are and we will handle this like men. Not only are you full of gak and causing drama in all kinds of place but you have no fething clue who I am and what I am capable of doing.

    Do me the biggest favor and tell me who you are. Tell me what your name is and what part of the world you live in. I'm guessing you'll continue to hide on forums and trash talk me.

    When I find out who you are, and I will we will take care of this. I promise you that. You have pushed this to far and you are now my new hobby.

    Tick, tick, tick, your time is coming.

    . . . then it will be very difficult to prove it's defamatory to say he threatened someone.

  13. Noah Callaway says:

    "Don't apologize for disagreeing."

    Tempts me to respond: "I'm sorry for apologizing."

  14. Scote says:

    " Noah Callaway • May 2, 2013 @9:03 am

    @Real

    I'm as Prenda-addicted as anybody, but I'd prefer if we avoid pestering Ken or anyone else at Popehat for updates. They are busy people who do this for free on their own time."

    Wait a second. Is that a **pony** in your avatar? I think the Equine Underground is conspiring to keep critial Prenda news from us. You obviously don't want Ken to pony up the latest.

  15. Ken White says:

    I will cut you.

  16. MEP says:

    @Ken

    Fair enough. I thought something was odd about the wording in #1, but my sleep-deprived brain didn't catch exactly what it was. Good point.

    I also missed the demand for attorney fees in one week, which even for a valid complaint seems out of line.

    I'm not lawyerly enough to have caught #3. Thanks for the clarification.

    #4 I'm still okay with so long as the deadline only applies to the removal of the offending material, but seeing as it doesn't quite apply only to that, I could see a problem there.

    So, some bad strategy on the part of BF's lawyers. Part of me hopes the libel claims are false because I would hate for a legitimate claim to be defeated by hiring the wrong lawyers. Part of me hopes the claims are true and that they get remuneration in spite of their missteps because Romeo has a pretty good reputation actually, and it is a tight-knit industry where something like this could really cause a lot of damage (BF has a lot of partnerships with other companies that could be hurt if BF were driven under by litigation).

    And yes, I am a nerd, but I don't generally use BF products (though I own one of their cases). I prefer their competitor, KR Multicase, not for any personal reasons but just because it's a better bag. Totally unfamiliar with "Blood of Kittens" though. Doesn't sound like my kind of gamers. (Good thing I'm not on the jury :P )

  17. MEP says:

    Whoa, that email is news to me. If that is real, then yeah, that changes a lot of things, including the value of reputations.

    Bummer, he seemed like a nice guy in my experience. Oh well, never underestimate the value of good PR.

  18. Jim Tyre says:

    Ken,

    The C&D was sent on All Fools Day. The First Rule Of The Internet (well, maybe the 5,361st) is that nothing on All Fools Day should be taken at face value. '-)

  19. Austin says:

    Ken,
    Wouldn't that alleged message from Filip make it difficult to win even if it was false? If the person being sued did not make the original statement, would Filip not only have to prove that the statement was false but that BoK knew it was false when making his statements? I've always thought defemation required that the person knowingly made a false statement, either recklessly or maliciously, but then again IANAL so I'll defer to your expertise.

    For those looking for the original article, it's been pulled down while legal actions are pending and I've not been able to find any archive of it.

  20. Clark says:

    Some background on Battlefoam's approach to competitors:

    http://plasticlegions.blogspot.com/2010/09/foam-wars.html

  21. mcinsand says:

    Whether the remarks were libelous or not, Battlefoam loaded its footgun with hollowpoints and flipped the switch to fully automatic. There is some public reason to suspect threats went out to customers, so proving malicious misinformation would be a definite uphill battle, even if the threats turn out to be nonauthentic.

    A marginally competent businessperson would have responded with a post presenting the company's side, why the published threats are not actually from Battlefoam, or why the guy made the threats, but it was from a drug-induce frenzy. Such a response could have preserved some belief that the company might be run by decent people.

    I would never support a company like this, ever. I have and would buy again from a B-level supplier if the A-level company triggers the douchemeter. These jerks have the needle pegged.

  22. Trebuchet says:

    The C&D was sent on All Fools Day. The First Rule Of The Internet (well, maybe the 5,361st) is that nothing on All Fools Day should be taken at face value. '-)

    Perhaps it should be rule 41, or 14 if in Europe.

    Meanwhile, I made the mistake of clicking on the Battlefoam site. My head hurts now.

  23. Chris R. says:

    Is anyone concerned that Orville Redenbacher is trolling the internet right now to encourage popcorn sales?

  24. nlp says:

    What does the word heritical mean?

  25. Kurrika says:

    NLP "What does the word heritical mean?"

    heritical – of, pertaining to or characteristic of yesterday.

    :P

    @Ken, if you have the time. Some wargaming folks were wondering if there could be any application of an anti-SLAPP provision?

  26. Jack says:

    MEP – in my eyes after reading the letter, it seems to be a lot more than a C&D and in my opinion is more than just blustery. They are not just asking them to remove the all mention of them and pay attorneys fees with an unreasonable date (this alone would be blustery) – they are asking them to admit in writing defamation or unreasonably prove everything they said is true by specifically divulging sources and witnesses.

    In light of the threats and the demand the website divulge it's sources – it seems a lot more sinister.

  27. Doug says:

    Spelling error in paragraph 22 line 25. I will let you all find it.

  28. MEP says:

    @Jack

    I'm slowly waking up this morning. The more I think about it, the more I see Ken's point. I'm also doing a little more research into BF's reputation and their PR is very good indeed. Had me convinced.

    Sad. Wargaming is usually such a sportsmanlike and congenial activity, and the bulk of the community really reflects that. Bums me out that this mess and these people ("Blood of Kittens"? really?) could turn into a high profile (due to Randazza's presence alone) introduction for the rest of the world to a hobby that normally sits somewhere between "beer & bowling" and "model railroads".

  29. nlp says:

    Kurrika, thank you. Google failed me.

  30. mcinsand says:

    MEP, if the bulk of the wargaming community values sportsmanship and decent behavior, then perhaps the wargaming needs a bit of education. Reddit has been a good tool for getting the truth out. Would a link to this article help?

  31. Sunhawk says:

    That response was one of the cleanest and most layman-friendly filings I've ever read. Mostly I have to go slow and 'translate' terms and structures, but this one I can read straight through with little pause.

  32. KRM says:

    I must be getting awfully jaded in my old age. The demand letter looked to me like one of those where the client keeps rejecting the drafts because it doesn't sound angry and threatening enough. You know the type: "The letter is pretty good. But I want you to change 'we request' to 'I COMMAND YOU,' "unwarranted and reckless' to 'felonious and heinous,' and "amicable resolution' to 'exterminate you like the diseased vermin you are, violate your dog, and leave your children hungry and homeless." Problem clients. Everybody has them.

  33. Clark says:

    Ken,

    The original blog post seems to be filed as part of the response

    http://www.popehat.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Blood-of-Kittens-Battlefoam-Response1.pdf

    paragraph 11 claims that it is attached as exhibit A.

    …yet there is no exhibit A.

    Is it available?

  34. Orphan says:

    I'm starting to suspect that some of these lawyers are deliberately screwing their clients over in order to create cases they can charge them time on. They can't possibly be -that- incompetent, can they?

  35. Ken White says:

    Clark: I posted everything they made public.

  36. Matt Stanley (@Valhallan42nd) says:

    I've never had unpleasant dealings with Romeo myself, but I have known those that claim they have, and I have no reason to doubt them.

    It is my belief that his reputation is well deserved, and his company suffers for them. It's sad, because I hate giving money to the man, but you'll have to pry my Battlefoam bags out of my cold dead hands.

  37. Clark says:

    Clark: I posted everything they made public.

    Harrumph.

    I dislike being asked (implicitly) to join in agreeing that party A is virtuous and party B is scummy when the whole thing was started when party A posted something that I'm told is innocuous, but which is (a) no longer on their website, (b) redacted from the legal filings that they're sharing with the world.

    Despite liking all of the lawyers for the good guys, and despite thinking that the story seems to paint A in a good light and B in a bad, I think I'll withhold judgement for now.

  38. JWH says:

    I noticed a few typographical errors going through the letter. Among other things, they ought to close the quotes in their parenthetical in the first paragraph.

    I want to sympathize with Kittens, but I can't unless I actually read the article that started the controversy … and I really, really want to know what happened before Battlefoam sent the letter.

  39. Tali McPike says:

    KRM

    "amicable resolution' to 'exterminate you like the diseased vermin you are, violate your dog, and leave your children hungry and homeless." Problem clients. Everybody has them.

    I accidentally snorted a chip reading that (which of course has caused irreparable harm)…expect to get a letter with this kind of wording in the very near future ;)

  40. Clark says:

    @Orphan:

    I'm starting to suspect that some of these lawyers are deliberately screwing their clients ove

    This is just begging to be part of a 10 second video vignette:

    Lawyer A: This guy thinks that lawyers are deliberately screwing their clients over.

    Lawyer B: What? That would be unethical!

    < pause >

    both: < riotous laughter >

  41. Ken White says:

    Harrumph.

    I dislike being asked (implicitly) to join in agreeing that party A is virtuous and party B is scummy when the whole thing was started when party A posted something that I'm told is innocuous, but which is (a) no longer on their website, (b) redacted from the legal filings that they're sharing with the world.

    A fair criticism, if that's what I was asking.

    I was commenting on the impact of legal threats, making points that are worth considering whatever the merit of the threats.

  42. Clark says:

    @Ken:

    A fair criticism, if that's what I was asking.

    I'm sorry; I didn't mean to suggest that you were asking it; I think that the plaintiff (who redacted the website) and his lawyers (who failed to release the attachments) were asking that.

  43. Bear says:

    Leaving aside the legal issues, when someone goes to college for a degree in business admin do they actually study… I dunno… business? Do they look at silly little things like company reputation and the effects of screwing your customers (directly or indirectly)? Maybe a short chapter on comparative cases: Contrasting firearms companies like S&W alienating their entire market for a perceived political gain (took 'em years to recover from that — and the bankruptcy — some folks still won't forgive them until they formally apologize) versus companies that risk a short term loss for the sake of standing up for their customers (think Barrett and Serbu)?

    Did none of their professors slap 'em upside the head with a 2×4 and yell, "Don't screw with your customers, or it doesn't matter how good your product is, dumbass!"

    But I'm not not a businessman. Demonstrably, I'm a piss poor marketeer. I guess I'm missing something obvious.

  44. Ken Mencher says:

    Knowing wargaming as I do, I have a different perspective from MEP…there are a lot of kiddie types out there who like shocking language and exaggeration…so I don't know that I'd be so quick to judge BoK in the right…

    Regardless, I agree that the letter BattleFoam sent was pretty extreme…

    But what happens if they were right, and BoK was being defamatory?

  45. Zero says:

    Just as a point of clarification, you shouldn't shy away from "Blood of Kittens" because of the name. It's just a site that aggregates news about the hobby and also provides tactics and opinions, often in an irreverant way.

  46. Brett Middleton says:

    NLP … before thanking Kurrika too profusely, try googling "heretical" rather than trusting the spelling skills of some unknown blogger.

  47. Kilroy says:

    I'm reminded of a certain inflammatory quote: "Lower your flags and march straight back to England, stopping at every home you pass by to beg forgiveness for a hundred years of theft, rape, and murder. Do that and your men shall live. Do it not, and every one of you will die today… Before we let you leave, your commander must cross that field, present himself before this army, put his head between his legs, and kiss his own arse."

  48. mojo says:

    Can I sue Battlefoam for having an aggressively stupid name?

  49. DP says:

    Tali,

    Didn't you sign the release before you were granted access to Popehat, or was I the only sap?

  50. Who was it said an MBA program is not a device for artificially inculcating sociopathic thought-patterns into subjects predisposed to desire justification for sociopathic behaviors?

    Ah, I remember. Nobody.

  51. Josh C says:

    I am shocked and awed at the tremendous self control which must have operated to keep that post free of "LAW FOR THE LAW GOD".

  52. Kensington says:

    …it does some things to avoid the Streisand Effect, like specifying particular statements that Battlefoam thinks are false…

    Ken, I've gone over the letter a couple of times, but I cannot find what you are referring to here. I do not see the letter at any point referencing specific statements from the original blog post. It's just a bunch of "You said mean things about my client" generalities. The letter also claims that BoK has no factual basis for its claims, without providing any facts of its own to support its case.

    I see a lot of vagueness in this particular legal threat with regards to potentially libelous statements. Didn't I hear a quote somewhere that describes situations like this?

  53. Fildrigar says:

    Romeo has had quite the reputation for being a douchehat for quite a while. His company does make some damn fine bags, though. I held off as long as I could, but eventually succumbed and bought a couple of them. And some extra foam.

  54. Savrain says:

    I don't own any battlefoam, and don't plan to. My figures move around fine in plastic bins, and I don't particularly mind if my carefully-painted-on-battle-damage-and-scarring gets a little actual-for-reals-dinged.

  55. mcinsand says:

    mojo,

    Battlefoam is a stupid name, and it is no doubt a rip-off, market-diluting, too-similarly-named tradename of a very well respected, reputable product by only having changed a couple of letters: Battletoads!

  56. Noah Callaway says:

    @Clark

    I'm sorry; I didn't mean to suggest that you were asking it; I think that the plaintiff (who redacted the website) and his lawyers (who failed to release the attachments) were asking that.

    IANAL but I suspect that the Blood of Kittens folks are more concerned with keeping legal cards closer to the chest, than they are about winning the PR battle at this point? My suspicion is that the plaintiff is not asking you to join in agreeing with them; they're more concerned with convincing the judge to agree with them.

    At least, that's always my assumption when information is withheld from me as part of a legal proceeding.

  57. James says:

    Spelling error in paragraph 22 line 25. I will let you all find it.

    I saw that one, and others. Evidently lawyers and their associates/steno pools are not perfect spellers. Which would be offensive, except I'm not either.

  58. James says:

    grrrr … silly tags, and slashtags

  59. ULTRAGOTHA says:

    James, their people have no tradition of proofreading.

  60. Jag says:

    Blood of Kittens used that time honored legal tactic…retaliate first.

  61. Doctor Railgun says:

    I also was wondering if Popehat would pick this up. I was trying to think how to bring it to the site's attention. No need, it seems.

    After having read the C&D letter from Battlefoam's attorneys, they have a point: I have been a Battlefoam customer in the past, but now I shall not be after this filing. Thus, in a way they're right – in a roundabout way that BoK post has lost them a customer. Well, Romeo at Battlefoam did, but no sense in letting details get in the way of a good blustery cease and desist.

    @Mcinsand – " Battlefoam loaded its footgun…" Its bolter, you mean (sorry, Warhammer 40K reference – this is one of the games Battlefoam makes carrying cases for)

  62. Matthew Cline says:

    The Blood of Kittens Network.

    Kittens for the kitten god!

  63. Pete says:

    Battlefoam would be a great name for an aspirational shaving cream for trial lawyers.

  64. mcinsand says:

    Dr. Railgun, (Cool username, btw!)

    Warhammer is just one of several games and TV shows that I am specifically avoiding. I wish I had more time, but I am trying to dodge a few activities that I know would only cut into my already tight sleep schedule. However, I did throw my middle son under the buss by giving him a copy of FTL… even if that does make me want a copy even more ;)

  65. Hulinut says:

    Kittens for the kitten god!
    Mousey toys for the mousey toy throne!

  66. Ross says:

    I am the defendant's friend and one of the plaintiff's (former) customers.

    Battlefoam has a brief but colorful history of filing frivolous lawsuits. Demanding $2500 of legal fees within a week is ridiculous. Romeo, the owner, is a minor "celebrity" within our wargaming community as he hosts a podcast, stars in self produced Battlefoam videos, and is a prominent presence at conventions and other events. As BOK's lawyers pointed out, it alters the burden of proof for libel / slander to prove malice if you are a public figure.

    BloodofKittens is at heart a one man blog with aspirations to be a larger network. It focuses on rumors, news, reviews, and opinions. It is provocative for entertainment value, and also covers wargaming news with an editorial slant. Sometimes you will see attempts at journalistic activism to expose bad practices or groups in our hobby. This is both a public service and a play for traffic. Negative allegations are not just hot air, but backed by sources which are often kept anonymous by request. This is a free speech issue at heart, since BOK is functionally part of the press.

    Heritical = heretical.

    I hope that helps.

  67. wgering says:

    @mcinsand: I would advise you to steer well clear of anything made by GW. If you ever feel the need to get into minis, go for Reaper.

    Also, FTL is totally worth the lost sleep.

  68. Clark says:

    @wgering

    I would advise you to steer well clear of anything made by GW. If you ever feel the need to get into minis, go for Reaper.

    Inquiring minds would like to hear more on this topic.

  69. Myk says:

    Jeez. Patrick waves the BanHammer in the general direction of The World, and suddenly Clark and Ken are trying to out-reasonable each other. Where has the bitter snark and infighting gone? I want a refund of my platinum membership.

  70. princessartemis says:

    As an aside on Reaper minis: I have some of their new plastic Bones minis and have started painting them just today. Early prognosis is they will work quite nicely for the needs of GMs who would like a selection of monsters to sic on unwary players that will not simultaneously break their bank.

  71. Sami says:

    Irritatingly, their blog setup appears to be specifically designed to beat Google caching. All that shows up on Google is a page with a wanky quotation and a "Continue reading" link that is now dead.

    I, too, find this all a bit dubious.

    The article in question does appear to be one that would definitely be a bit bothersome to its target, since apparently it included: If you have been reading this website since the beginning you've known Blood of Kittens has often illuminated some of the worst behavior many in our community have perpetuated.

  72. SPQR says:

    Clark, had you not heard of Games Workshop's attempt to claim the term "Space Marines" as a trademark?

  73. Bill says:

    I am never ever disregarding one of Ken's content warnings again. But as someone else said, Blood of Kittens should have been warning enough.

  74. KJ says:

    It appears to be possible to view the Contra Costa County Superior Court's status for this case. However, they only make documents available online for complex litigation where the parties e-file. Sigh.

  75. Ryan says:

    Well everyone I figured I would post Romeos' side of this story from his podcast. http://www.40kradio.com/ It is in show 60 around the 60 minute mark. I am a Battlefoam retailer but I have never talked to Romeo. I do however talk to Kyle on a weekly basis. All I really have to add is that I have never had any problems with their customer service and I feel that they make a great product.

  76. Ken White says:

    @Ryan:

    Well everyone I figured I would post Romeos' side of this story from his podcast. http://www.40kradio.com/ It is in show 60 around the 60 minute mark.

    I wonder if his attorneys know he was doing this. I presume not — because it's disastrous for him. For instance, he talks about inviting people to his porch to talk about complaints, and punching them in the face. That's terrible for his claim about accusations of violence. Plus, he runs his mouth at length in a way that will provide all sorts of great cross-examination fodder.

    Plus, he sounds completely unlikeable, and a terrible witness. And he really doesn't know what he's talking about on the law.

  77. Frank Rizzo says:

    Just wondering if I did something to win the banhammer? Fava beans and all dat.

  78. Frank Rizzo says:

    I guess not. Maybe the spam filter was whacking my silly ass!

  79. wgering says:

    @Clark: I was an ardent Warhammer Fantasy player for years, but GW's draconian business strategy eventually broke me. I absolutely refuse to pay $15 for a single human-sized 28mm figure. Their sculpts have (with a few recent notable exceptions) been going downhill as well I think. Their rule sets are buggered beyond belief, and are often vague and occasionally contradictory. And $40+ for a new armybook every ~3-5 years is bollocks.

    Not to mention Lizardmen are busted as shit.

    I got into Reaper's Bones kickstarter, and ended up with over 300 figures for $120. And some of these are giants and dragons (and one Cthulhu). I derive just as much satisfaction from converting and painting figs as I do playing (and often moreso, because most people I play with at my FNGS are twats), so Reaper's relatively inexpensive and nicely-sculpted figs scratch that itch very well.

    I've also started experimenting with their R.A.G.E. ruleset, and it's rather nifty. Quite a different feel from WHFB, but the smaller scale means you don't need to spend $500+ for a competitive army.

    I can't speak for their CAV game, but I love some of those figs. But I have a thing for giant robots.

    And the DHL and Chronoscope lines are just lovely.

    The prepainted Legendary Encounters figs are my go-to for monsters if I need them in a hurry and can't paint them myself. None of that D&D Miniatures random-booster-pack bullshit.

    So yeah, I like Reaper just a bit and GW can suck a fat one.

  80. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Ken – And this is surprising why?

    Someone on the interwebs made him mad, and his response was to find a lawyer to send a scary letter. He was then blindsided that they did not fall before his scary threats, and challenged him to back up his claims.

    He has convinced himself he is correct, and the person he paid money to to convey his claims in legalese let him think we was correct. Why wouldn't he assume he has the situation in hand and can carry on as normal?

    Of course once his faith begins to shake as more people pickup on the story and give commentary questioning the wisdom of making statements that will hurt him in court expect them to be trying to wipe away all of those comments. People seem to forget, the internet never forgets.

    That or I'm just tired of defamation claims as my history with them seems to show them to be nothing more than an intimidation tactic.

  81. MDT says:

    Been lurking a long time on Popehat, and enjoying all the commentary.

    May I just say how cool it is to see people discussing Reaper and WH40K on Popehat. :)

  82. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @wgering – Enjoy the Asylum line while you can. The advertising tag line was minis when you want them. The truth is they appear to be unable to supply demand to retailers. Having customers frustrated is not a good business goal.

    D&D Minis – You mean everyone didn't want to buy the same unicorn 14 times trying to get a set? I loathe what Hasbro had done.

    You might want to consider and look at the Pathfinder plastics not Rise of the Runelords but the Shattered Star set. They are quite nicer than the original set. I think they are using Neca for production (Neca currently holds WizKids). While they are blind boosters, many of the sculpts are fantastic. I've not opened many boosters, but from an entire 'brick' there were only a couple repeats.

  83. wgering says:

    @TAC: I'm a big fan of Reaper's Pathfinder figs, although I've never used any of the Pathfinder game system. Never felt the need since I'm still on D&D 3.5.

    I'll give those plastics a look, but I think I would try to buy anything I liked as singles from a reseller. I don't like not knowing what figs I'll get. even if it's a great looking fig, if I'll never use it it's worthless.

    Also, forgot to mention Wyrd miniatures. Those are awesome. I have yet to try their game system, but I've heard some very good things.

  84. Loverat says:

    Interesting case. In England and Wales libel lawyers try similar tricks. I must have seen many letters by now. Many do not even set out the specific remarks complained of and how they have damaged their client. Some are comical and claim damages for trivia and name calling. I recall reading one letter in which one of the complaints was that the claimant had been referred to as 'Napoleon' on a forum. Like the letter described above, many have draconian deadlines and in most, demand far more in damages than would ever be awarded in court.

    In England and Wales there is a regulator for solicitors which have rules against such behaviour but solicitors either claim to be ignorant of them or they argue the rules are 'unlawful' and therefore do not apply to them. Unfortunately by the time the regulator has sanctioned and fined the offenders, the defendants have buckled under the pressure.

    Only a few people (the Lesley Kemp case being one) stand up to these fools which is the shame. Sally Bercow who is being taken to court for £50,000 for something posted on Twitter is another and yet another libel case which may run for a while – at least until the judiciary hold a hearing to decide 'meaning' of the five or so words complained of. This when it is obvious to many that the case has to fail in any event for reasons that you cannot demand huge damages from individual defendants in multiple defendant cases. In the meantime sites like this and similar ones in the UK – (many since closed down under English libel/harassment law) should be congratulated for exposing the flaws and weaknesses of those who write these appalling letters. The people who write these letters can be beaten but you have to stand up for yourself and do a bit of research on the rules and libel law. In the majority of cases where a potential defendant has done that and responded, the solicitor has not continued with the threats. I am sure Popehat will back that up.

  85. JWH says:

    Plus, he sounds completely unlikeable, and a terrible witness. And he really doesn't know what he's talking about on the law.

    He does sound condescending, if somewhat aggrieved about what was said about his business. Still, I can't really form an opinion on this case because I still can't see the article in dispute.

    But Mr. Battlefoam (I can't be bothered to look up his name) is no prize. And he's rather ignorant of the law to boot. And Mr. Battlefoam doesn't characterize his C&D correctly; he says the C&D was to initiate dialogue, but it really wasn't. "Initiating dialogue" is "We're the lawyers for such-and-such, your article was incorrect, we don't want litigation, please post a correction." The C&D read more like an extortion letter.

  86. Nicholas Weaver says:

    Ken wrote:

    I wonder if his attorneys know he was doing this. I presume not — because it's disastrous for him. For instance, he talks about inviting people to his porch to talk about complaints, and punching them in the face. That's terrible for his claim about accusations of violence. Plus, he runs his mouth at length in a way that will provide all sorts of great cross-examination fodder.

    Who wants to bet that Randazza has already archived this? Its even better than an unprotected Facebook page. :)

  87. That Anonymous Coward says:

    *wanders off into a lovely tangent*

    @wgering – Pathfinder is often referred to as 3.75. They unborked a few of the issues with 3.5, and other than being barred from some of the trademarked/copyrighted names it is pretty much interchangeable.

    I've been curious to see what is going to happen to the PF metals as I've seen talk about a PF 'Bones' line coming soon from Reaper.

    I'm not sure if there is a market for unpacked figs, I know many retailers were moving towards avoiding singles from D&D near the end, and Pazio was selling the figs for Rise of the Runelords singly on their website, but the price was pretty steep towards acquiring a full set that way. Shattered Star is much improved over the first set in every possible way.

    You should try out PF, I mean they even redid Rappan Authuk to be PF based.

    Malifaux has some amazing minis, and I've heard that the later editions of the rules fixed up many issues people were having.

  88. Ken- I'm still new here so this might be a stupid question. You said that the Streisand Effect is "not the only possible bad consequence…" Could you expand on that? I'm only seeing Streisand in this case, but IANAL.

    By the way, big thanks for the elegantly distilled, easy-to-understand blogs. As an artist, a lot of what you blog about is surprisingly relevant to me professionally, especially as I do a lot of satire/parody/commentary collage work (if I get sued by Old Spice or Jiffy Pop, you've got my back, right?) :D

  89. Ken White says:

    You said that the Streisand Effect is "not the only possible bad consequence…" Could you expand on that? I'm only seeing Streisand in this case, but IANAL.

    The entire point of the post is that the aggressiveness of the letter led the target to take the initiative by filing a declaratory relief action, as in the Carreon case, thus choosing format and venue.

  90. Josh M. says:

    @Under the Radar

    What Ken said. Basically, by sending a letter threatening legal action and demanding payment, Battlefoam caused BoK to file their own legal action *first,* which gives them the distinct advantage of picking where the case is filed, demanding attorney's fees, and basically asking the court to say that Battlefoam's demands are silly, meritless, and may never be actually brought up in court. It puts Battlefoam on the defensive, and quite honestly (in my admittedly non-lawyerly opinion) in a very tough position to recover from, especially given the podcast that just came out.

  91. Tali McPike says:

    Wow…I think my favorite part of the broadcast (besides the "punched in the face" comment) is when Romo is like "we know your attorney is working pro-bono…but yet you are seeking legal fees. So which is it, do you have to pay your attorney or don't you?"

    It really does demonstrate that he seems to be an idiot when it comes to law.

  92. Tali McPike says:

    I would also wager he has no clue who Randazza is…I'm looking forward to him learning the hard way.

  93. SPQR says:

    Ah, if only Romeo had governed himself accordingly …

  94. Tali McPike says:

    Ah, if only Romeo had governed himself accordingly …

    Perhaps we should welcome him to the Big Leagues.

  95. princessartemis says:

    @TAC, The Reaper Bones Kickstarter included about a dozen Pathfinder minis. Have you picked up any Bones to check them out? They're worth looking into, as they are quite inexpensive compared to the metal, but honestly, they don't have as much fine detail (though the detail they do have is pretty surprising!). I don't think they would work for display pieces or perhaps for player character minis. For masses of monsters and NPCs though, they seem ideal.

  96. SharonA says:

    Well everyone I figured I would post Romeos' side of this story from his podcast. http://www.40kradio.com/ It is in show 60 around the 60 minute mark.

    "Hey guys, watch this! Called shot to the kneecaps!"
    *rolls*
    "Woot! Natural 20! suck it!"

    … wait til he realizes it was his own attorney he just hit …

  97. Tali McPike says:

    … wait til he realizes it was his own attorney he just hit …

    To jump gaming generas to Starcraft…in the words of MaximusBlack "He shit the bed"

  98. Ross says:

    I'm listening to Podcast #60 now. Romeo is knocking people left and right. "Logical people don't go on forums." "Hiding behind an alias." Uhhh… welcome to the internet, Romeo.

  99. Ross says:

    Romeo: "I don't hide behind attorneys" from a guy who files multiple lawsuits each year. He calls the accusations of threats lies, then says people who have a problem with him "might get a punch in the face." Stay classy.

  100. David Aubke says:

    "he talks about inviting people to his porch to talk about complaints, and punching them in the face."

    That's just Old-School business Ken. You tenderfoots don't know how things are done in the real world.

    He's keepin' it Old School.

    And, congratulations to @Ryan for the patience to sit through (at least) an hour of that drivel.

    Did I mention he's Old School. He is… Old School, that is.

  101. daemon23 says:

    Should everyone have gotten their Reaper minis from the kickstarter? I haven't seen mine yet :/

    That said, I also dislike GW enough to avoid their minis and recommend other companies, though I'm partial to Privateer Press and Wyrd for having strong games attached to their minis.

  102. John H. says:

    Note that BOK is out of California – which has a fairly decent anti-SLAPP law on the books. BattleFoam's C&D is a pretty obvious SLAPP threat, which makes it easy for Randazza to respond with the full force of CA law behind him.

  103. BryanWade says:

    @daemon23 – If you just ordered the Vampire kit, then it should be out soon. They were working on shipping, then hosted ReaperCon, and are back to shipping. If you ordered something on top of the Vampire kit, then they are still waiting for some stuff to get produced and shipped, and will get to those kits as soon as possible. (At least as of ReaperCon a couple weeks ago.) Basically they are shipping from least to most complicated.

  104. BryanWade says:

    As for BattleFoam, I am REALLY enjoying being on this side of the action. It is a VERY different scene three years later. When he sued me, it seemed like his defenders were all around. Felt really lonely. Now it seems like there are as many if not more people that seem to not care for his business practices.

  105. Ken White says:

    A trackback to this appeared at 40k radio. Then they deleted the trackback.

  106. Kurrika says:

    @BryanWade – Folks nowadays can go look at the dismissal in Battlefoam v Outrider Hobbies and get an idea of what was going on back then and how he operates.

    http://ia600309.us.archive.org/2/items/gov.uscourts.nhd.35017/gov.uscourts.nhd.35017.9.0.pdf

    "It is, of course, possible that the fifth round pick of the Florida Marlins in the 2000 draft is both a fan of Diablo bats and a collector in the war gaming miniature market who is familiar with Battle Foam’s products. It is also possible that the baseball player who provided the testimonial for Diablo bats and the confused customer who contacted Battle Foam simply share the same name. A third possibility is decidedly less savory and, hopefully, is not the case here."

  107. Ah, I see it now- thanks, guys! I hope this "consequence" gets a snarky nickname, too, like the "Streisand Effect."

  108. Cassius says:

    @ Under the Radar (@Undertheradar76),

    I like bitch-SLAPPed.

  109. JR says:

    I could have sworn that it had been named the "Carreon Effect" by someone. Can't find it now, so I'm probably just confusing the comparison made earlier.

  110. Gotthammer says:

    Wargaming isn't the first business Mr Romeo has made himself unpopular in with… emotive responses to problems:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-maplecontroversy011809

  111. Doctor Railgun says:

    Still on topic!
    Games Workshop now does some amazing things with their plastic miniatures these days, the detail is even better than their (also amazing) metal miniatures. But, alas… even leaving their draconian IP attorneys, their products are now much too expensive.

  112. wgering says:

    @daemon23: I have yet to get my Vampire kit as well. Given the volume of orders, I'm not surprised. Last estimate I heard was they wanted to have shipping about done by end of May.

    I haven't played Warmachine for a while, but I love some of PP's figs. Can't speak for their new plastics though. I wasn't a huge fan of the game, as it never sat well with me that a group of dudes armed with hunting rifles could somehow take down what amounted to a freight train with legs.

    @Doctor Railgun (which is an awesome name): that they do. I really want one of those new Imperial Griffon models. I mean, damn. Next time War Store runs a sale I am totally grabbing one.

    For GW-esque figs, Avatars of War has some downright gorgeous sculpts. They are rather pricey as well, but are some of the best sculpts I have seen anywhere. I believe they are all resin as well.

    Then there were the days when Rackham made more than prepaints…granted, their prepaints are pretty damn good.

  113. That Anonymous Coward says:

    @Doctor Railgun – I am guessing you refer to FineCast, and it might be good now… but the early offerings… O_O

    @Ken – is that what happens when you track back before reading the article?

    @SharonA – When did we start talking about Dick Cheney? :)

    @princessartemis – I'm very familiar with them. Asylum/Bones were meant, I think, to fill the void of players unwilling to spend a large amount of cash for monsters they might encounter only a couple times. Heck even the PF token sets were well received because buying that many actual models would break the bank. Its going to be interesting to see which way Reaper decides to move and to leverage their new plastics system to complement the metal lines. I am wondering if we are going to see more consolidation.

  114. Charlotte says:

    What's the threshold for its being worthwhile to file something like this? Some lawyer sends you a letter demanding damages? I got called up (in the early morning) and yelled at by someone's attorney once, and when I said "don't call me" got a lot of legal B.S. in email, but no request for damages. I wish I'd known about Popehat then, I could have asked.

  115. Nicholas Weaver wrote:

    Who wants to bet that Randazza has already archived this? Its even better than an unprotected Facebook page.

    Heh. Yes. Saved.

    I should send Romeo a fruit basket.

  116. daemon23 says:

    @wgering: Thanks, I just had suddenly realized I hadn't heard anything in a while and was wondering what was up. My vampire set will probably be a later one anyway since I subbed out the Sophie-on-motorcycle mini in favor of the clockwork dragon.

    Yeah, I have no problem buying the Warmachine/Hordes concept–it's not like it's easy for infantry of any sort to take down a warjack/warbeast, and I can't think of a single unit armed with what I'd say were just "hunting rifles" unless you mean the elite Khadoran snipers.

    However, as for their plastics: lovely. Seriously, I've never had anything like a problem I've read about with the GW Finecast stuff, and the detail is on par or possibly higher than any metals I've seen.

    Also, Cool Mini or Not has at least some of the Confrontation/Ragnarok minis on sale; apparently a newer company, Legacy, got at least some of the casts and the right to produce more after Rackham went into liquidation.

  117. daemon23 says:

    Err, should have warned above–CMON is probably NSFW, as they don't have a problem with nude minis.

  118. Bill says:

    Romeo is his own worst enemy, basically. His products are pretty superior to anything else in the market, and they've done a good job of promoting them within the miniature wargaming community, and not all of their lawsuits have been meritless (hey, its IP/patent stuff, mostly…and you do have to be vigorous about that)…but as a PR person, he's a disaster.

  119. Bryan Wade says:

    @Bill – I wouldn't say they have been entirely with merit. His case against me was thrown out for being filed in an improper venue, and the evidence he submitted was suspicious at best. Even the judge thought so. He has written multiple C&D letters to local retailers for doing business with me. He approached the owner of the laser I was using at the time to try and scare him away from allowing me to use the machine. He has made threats and false accusations about me and my interaction with the Warstore at GenCon 2010.

    So, I may be biased, but I wouldn't say his attempts at legal process were with merit.

    PS – And lets also not forget the personal Injunction Against Harassment that I filed on him and had enacted in 2009. (Since expired)

  120. Ross says:

    Here's another recent frivolous lawsuit in the 40k hobby world: http://apocalypse40k.blogspot.com/2013/05/resin-forge-sends-c-to-dakka.html

  121. wgering says:

    @daemon23: Cygnaran Long Gunners. Their "combined ranged attack" rule let them split my 'jacks open without too much difficulty. It might have been the nature of the store I played at, but within a few months everybody was running basically pure-infantry armies because 'jacks were useless in comparison. Granted, this was in the first version of the rules, and I hear they've made some pretty major changes since then, but I never bothered to check it out again.

  122. Kurrika says:

    Romeo has done a second interview about the C&D:

    http://the11thcompany.libsyn.com/romeo-interview-on-c-d

  123. Kurrika says:

    Also, Battlefoam has filed a cross claim, a motion to stay/dismiss, and added a Jane Doe Hayden to the mix.

  1. May 4, 2013

    […] BOK took the threat seriously and rounded up some serious legal firepower and started legal proceedings  first against […]