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The Courts Government The Almighty Buck The Internet News Loses Class action Lawsuit 454

Anonymous Blowhard writes "I found out today I am a member of a class that just beat in New York Supreme Court!! The suit was filed by Michael Zurakov because pointed his newly registered domain(s) to 'coming soon' web pages. Mr. Zurakov receives $12,500 for the harm caused by while members of the class can look forward to a settlement of $5 off their next domain renewals. will also pay 'reasonable Class Counsel attorneys' fees and costs in an amount not to exceed $642,500.00, subject to Court approval.' If you want to exclude yourself from the class, giving up any settlement and not being bound by its terms, you have to opt-out."
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  • by Ambient Sheep ( 458624 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:27AM (#6919656)
    Understandable mistake, but that would be [], I think.
  • by restive ( 542491 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:36AM (#6919691)
    NY is different than most states because the title of their trial court is the "Supreme Court", which is what most people think is the title for the highest court in the state.
  • The Cost (Score:5, Informative)

    by Techen ( 705895 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:48AM (#6919734)
    I used to work for They sell domains to people that have less computer knowledge then your average AOL user. Once people have a clue about domains they tend to shift to other Registrars. domains are costly because of the support given. Guys that don't even realize what a domain is or how it is used tend to be the client base for RCOM. As for the issue with the coming soon page I think the fella was doing a money grab.
  • by phoxix ( 161744 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:51AM (#6919745)
    Re:And I thought suing for spilt coffee was insane

    The woman sued because the coffee was simply too hot. It was hot enough to instantaneously destory skin, flesh and muscle.

    The woman who spilt it was hospitalized for 8 days and suffered 3rd degree burns on 6 percent of her body.

    Sunny Dubey

  • by plumby ( 179557 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @07:56AM (#6919763)
    On the face of it, this seems absolutely stupid.
    However, the article is published on's own website, and I get a feeling that we're only getting one side of the story. Nowhere does it explain how he was possibly harmed by this redirecting. A quote on another site seems to point to something else going on -

    Michael Zurakov, the lead plaintiff in the suit, which has yet to be certified as a class, claims it took him several months to stop his Web address -- -- from redirecting to the "Coming Soon" page.

    No more details on why it took that long, but if it was the case that it took several months until he was actually able to use what he'd paid for then it might put a different slant on the story.

  • by spydir31 ( 312329 ) * <hastur.hasturkun@com> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:00AM (#6919794) Homepage
    I think the advertisments plastered all over your new domain may be the issue, though I might be wrong
    here's [] the coming soon page, if anyone cares (I've seen far worse, tho)
  • by spydir31 ( 312329 ) * <hastur.hasturkun@com> on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:15AM (#6919889) Homepage
    You might as well link the article []
  • by koancomputers ( 319632 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:16AM (#6919893) Homepage
    That's what I'll be doing - here's the linked section:

    If you do not request exclusion from the Settlement Class, you may object to any aspect of the proposed Settlement, including the fairness of the settlement, the attorneys' fees and costs or the adequacy of Plaintiff or Class Counsel or Notice, by filing and serving a written objection. Your written objection must state the case name and number ((Zurakov v., Case No. 01-600703), the grounds for your objection and your full name and address, and your objection must be filed with the Clerk of the Court, 60 Centre Street, New York, NY, 10007 with a copy to Counsel. SUCH OBJECTIONS MUST BE RECEIVED NO LATER THAN OCTOBER 14, 2003. If you mail an objection to the Settlement, then you bear the risk of any problems with the mails. Such objections will be considered at the Settlement Hearing (see section VIII below), at which you may appear if you wish.

  • by pgpckt ( 312866 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:16AM (#6919900) Homepage Journal

    If that is the case, what are the names for the appeal and "supreme" courts in NY?
  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:19AM (#6919918) Homepage Journal
    Well, they offer a toll free (1800) tech support line, and you can just call that whenever and they'll make any changes to your domain name for you. This saves time and grief for those less-experienced users. Also, if you register several yrs you get a good discount. Add to that the fact that you can actually negotiate with them about the registration price, and you end up getting the better service etc at no additional charge.
  • by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:25AM (#6919959) Homepage Journal is not an ISP, but a registration service. This means they did not simply have pages loaded by default on his new server, which lots of ISPs do. They redirected the domain name to a different IP address than he intended. That domain name should have come up as "404-No Such Domain."
  • by EnglishTim ( 9662 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:29AM (#6919981)
    There's a small article at about it: 6 []

    Apparently he was unable to change it to direct it to his website for several months after registering it.

    I suspect that may have shot themselves in the foot by claiming that the contract did not explicitly give Mr Zurakov
    exclusive control over the site. The judge did not agree, saying that if if it wasn't explicit in the contract 'to register' a site should give you more than just a listing in whois. should have just admitted that something went wrong with their DNS assignment system and settled out of court. They probably could have gotten away with $5000 or so.
  • by __aavonx8281 ( 149913 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:31AM (#6920001)
    The lawsuit wasn't over the 'Coming Soon' page, but over links to services on the coming soon page. Basically, I register with, don't put up a page for a month, but during that time gets free advertising for the services linked on their 'Coming Soon' page off my domain without paying me for it. Thats what the lawsuit is over. Its legit to put up a 'Coming Soon' page, you just can't include links to the registration provider's services on that page.
  • by turnstyle ( 588788 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:51AM (#6920146) Homepage
    "That domain name should have come up as "404-No Such Domain."

    Not to nit-pick, but a 404 is for Page Not Found and it would need to be sent back by a Web server running at that address. In other words, that domain would have to resolve to an IP that points to a Web server if you want to get a 404.

    Just about all new domains (and new hosted sites once you move that domain to an ISP) start off with a Coming Soon page.

  • Case Summary (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @08:54AM (#6920170)
    This is the case summary [] that can be found at Domains Magazine.

    Pursuant to an online contract, plaintiff paid defendant $35 to register the domain name "" in his name for one year and defendant did so. Not stated in the contract is the fact that a domain name newly registered with forwards users to a "Coming Soon" page that contains banner advertisements for and other organizations.

    A person who types the newly registered domain name into the Internet is brought to a page that reads, "Coming Soon! We recently registered our domain name at . . . the first step on the web." There follows directly a list of so-called "Additional Services" and, further down on the page, various advertisements.

    Looking at the page, it appears that these services are provided by the entity - the "we" - whose domain name forwarded the user to this page, although in fact they are provided by Similarly, it appears that the advertisements for and for other companies are in some way endorsed by or, at the least, associated with the entity whose domain name forwarded the user to this page.

    After plaintiff discovered that his newly registered domain name was pointing users to this "Coming Soon" page, he followed defendant's procedures for removing his registered domain name from the page, a process he asserts took several months.

    Plaintiff alleges that he bargained for the right to exclusive use and control of the domain name "" and that defendant, by the deception of concealing in its website and not disclosing in the agreement that it intended to use the name, deprived him of this benefit by usurping the name and using it to direct those who typed in the domain name to defendant's own site, which contained advertising for defendant and others.

    Thus, plaintiff claims that defendant breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implied in every contract by "act[ing] in a manner that, although not expressly forbidden by any contractual provision, would deprive the other party of the right to receive the benefits under their agreement"
  • by Battle_Ratt ( 524562 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @09:36AM (#6920511)
    Perhaps [] some [] references [] about the hot coffee case are in order.
  • by Artcfox ( 557726 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @09:42AM (#6920576)
    This post might clear it up for you: 959 []
  • Re:Harm? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Horny Smurf ( 590916 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @10:20AM (#6920930) Journal
    no difference. If you rent/lease you have exclusive control for a limited period. If you rent an apartment, your landlord can't enter any time he chooses. If your car is towed and impounded, it is theft to steal it (your own car) back.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @10:58AM (#6921307) Journal
    You seem to forget that water boils at 100 degrees celsius. No more. If it was any higher, it would be vapor, not liquid. It's water, not molten lead, nor hot oil.

    That temperature is _not_ high enough to "instantaneously destory skin, flesh and muscle". And it will _never_ produce 3rd degree burns.

    It will be unpleasant, yes. It will cause minor damage, yes. But the horror story about instantaneously destroying flesh is so much bulls**t, it could fertilize a few acres.

    You _could_ destroy flesh by holding it in boiling water for a longer while. You will notice that boiling meat (to make food) takes some time, it's not something that happens "instantaneously". By that time a little spilled water will have cooled off already.

    But that's still missing the whole issue: coffee _is_ hot, and it's _supposed_ to be hot. It's prepared with boiling water. Whether you get it at a restaurant, or make it at home, or get it out of your office's coffee maker... guess what? It'll be hot. Even kids are supposed to know that.

    Anyone who pours hot liquid on themselves and expect it not to hurt, is a _retard_. Plain and simple. They should be laughed at, not awarded ludicrious sums of money.

    No, in fact make that: they should be fined for starting a ridiculous lawsuit with the sole purpose of getting money without work. Maybe that'll encourage people to actually _think_, instead of expecting money for being stupid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2003 @11:50AM (#6921874)

    McFact No. 1: For years, McDonald's had known they had a problem with the way they make their coffee - that their coffee was served much hotter (at least 20 degrees more so) than at other restaurants.

    McFact No. 2: McDonald's knew its coffee sometimes caused serious injuries - more than 700 incidents of scalding coffee burns in the past decade have been settled by the Corporation - and yet they never so much as consulted a burn expert regarding the issue.

    McFact No. 3: The woman involved in this infamous case suffered very serious injuries - third degree burns on her groin, thighs and buttocks that required skin grafts and a seven-day hospital stay.

    McFact No. 4: The woman, an 81-year old former department store clerk who had never before filed suit against anyone, said she wouldn't have brought the lawsuit against McDonald's had the Corporation not dismissed her request for compensation for medical bills.

    McFact No. 5: A McDonald's quality assurance manager testified in the case that the Corporation was aware of the risk of serving dangerously hot coffee and had no plans to either turn down the heat or to post warning about the possibility of severe burns, even though most customers wouldn't think it was possible.

    McFact No. 6: After careful deliberation, the jury found McDonald's was liable because the facts were overwhelmingly against the company. When it came to the punitive damages, the jury found that McDonald's had engaged in willful, reckless, malicious, or wanton conduct, and rendered a punitive damage award of 2.7 million dollars. (The equivalent of just two days of coffee sales, McDonalds Corporation generates revenues in excess of 1.3 million dollars daily from the sale of its coffee, selling 1 billion cups each year.)

    McFact No. 7: On appeal, a judge lowered the award to $480,000, a fact not widely publicized in the media.

    McFact No. 8: A report in Liability Week, September 29, 1997, indicated that Kathleen Gilliam, 73, suffered first degree burns when a cup of coffee spilled onto her lap. Reports also indicate that McDonald's consistently keeps its coffee at 185 degrees, still approximately 20 degrees hotter than at other restaurants. Third degree burns occur at this temperature in just two to seven seconds, requiring skin grafting, debridement and whirlpool treatments that cost tens of thousands of dollars and result in permanent disfigurement, extreme pain and disability to the victims for many months, and in some cases, years.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes