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Posts Tagged ‘Fireclean LLC’

Fireclean LLC Sues George Fennell And Steel Shield Technologies In Federal Court Alleging False Advertising

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Fireclean is on a tear. Yesterday, we told you that they have sued Andrew Tuohy and Everett Baker for Defamation. We also told you there would be more, and here it is, the next one.

It seems George Fennell owns a company named Steel Shield Technologies which makes a firearms lubricant called Weapon Shield. According to the suit, George Fennell is a competitor of Fireclean and relies heavily on Facebook to promote his brand.

Fireclean alleges defamation by Fennell and his company. They also say Fennell referred to their product as “Pam”, “Wesson Oil”, “Criso” and other oils in videos and social media posts they claim were meant to discredit their lubricant. In another instance Fireclean offers, Fennell claimed that “My problem is it will cost someone their life someday.”

Specifically, Fireclean claims that Fennell violated the Lanham Act. They are citing the misrepresentation clause (USC §1125a (1)(B)) and not the trademark portion of the law.

15 U.S.C. § 1125 – False designations of origin, false descriptions, and dilution forbidden

(a) Civil action

(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which—

(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or
(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person’s goods, services, or commercial activities,

shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

By now you are asking yourself how this suit might be related to the blogger suit we discussed yesterday. Remember we said that Fennell is quite active on Facebook? Well, on January 14th, 2016, Fennell posted this message to Facebook. The “he” Fennell is initially referring to is Andrew Tuohy, which becomes clear in context later in the post.

Interesting enough, although that post was available yesterday (the same day Fennell was served by the court for this suit), it is now missing.

Feel free to read the entire complaint here: Fireclean LLC v Fennell Like the other suit, it is quite extensive and technical in nature as Fireclean makes its case that it is not any of the materials they claim Fennell says they are.

Once again, Fireclean lays out why the case should be tried in Federal Court of Eastern Virginia. They also demand a jury trial as well as compensatory damages, presumed damages for defamation, punitive damages in addition to court costs and attorney’s fees.

Fireclean LLC Sues Andrew Tuohy and Everett Baker for Defamation in Federal Court

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Last September, social media was ablaze with multiple versions of a common theme, “Fireclean lubricant is Crisco”. The source of this buzz was an article on Vuurwapen blog by Andrew Tuohy, entitled “INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY OF FIRECLEAN AND CRISCO OILS” where he claimed to have had samples of Fireclean tested in order to determine if it was Crisco. At the time of the article, I was publicly critical of Tuohy’s methodology, relying on anonymous sources for lab tests. 

 

The content was so popular it even spawned a second round of articles by Tuohy as well as blogger Everett Baker who claims to have conducted testing of his own that verified Tuohy’s assertions. To double down, Tuohy wrote an article where he claimed that a demonstration video of Fireclean by tactical trainer Larry Vickers was fraudulent. Interestingly, Tuohy initially published this article as “WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, THERE’S LIAR” but later changed it to “SEVERE PROBLEMS WITH VICKERS TACTICAL FIRECLEAN VIDEO”.

At the time, lots of people were quite entertained by the shenanigans. But not everyone was laughing. While most have moved on from the incident, Fireclean has not. In fact, last week they filed the first, in what we understand will be series of federal lawsuits, against Andrew Tuohy and Everett Baker. Suits against others are said to follow. According to this suit, Fireclean has suffered losses of $25,000 per month in sales since the round of articles. Seeing how they are in Northern Virginia, Fireclean has turned to Federal Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the original ‘Rocket Docket’, for relief. Andrew Tuohy hails from Arizona and Everett Baker is from New Hampshire, according to his blog but Fireclean makes their case early on in the suit for a Virginia venue.

At the heart of this issue is whether the bloggers’ posts are protected by the First Amendment or if their actions were intentionally misleading. Fireclean alleges multiple counts of defamation against Tuohy and a single count against Baker as well as violation of the Virginia Business Conspiracy Act and Common Law Conspiracy. They are demanding a jury trial and compensatory damages, presumed damages for defamation, punitive damages in addition to court costs and attorney’s fees.

You can read the entire, 209 page suit here: Fireclean LLC v Tuohy and Baker. It’s quite extensive and in the document you can see that Fireclean does exactly what Tuohy and Baker didn’t, which was use a well known laboratory to analyze the product. Rather than rely on anonymous testing or tests performed by a college student, Fireclean obtained the services of Petro-Lubricant Testing Laboratories. Their testing is part of the suit, in exhibit R.

Whichever way this suit goes, it is one to watch because it is not only an attempt to hold firearms bloggers responsible for their content, but that it could have far reaching effects for blogging writ large as well as other social media content.

In closing, I would like to disclose that Vickers Tactical, who is not a party to this suit, but is mentioned, is an advertiser on SSD. While, Larry Vickers has endorsed Fireclean in the past, Fireclean is in no way associated with SSD.