Sam Sethi Talks About the TechCrunch Lawsuit

Filed as Interviews on July 3, 2009 6:42 pm

Earlier this week the news that Sam Sethi is suing TechCrunch hit, and as was expected Michael Arrington posted the legal documents, just as he has done before. The responses to the law firm’s letter to TechCrunch and Arrington have also been reposted, so if you want to dig into what has been said thus far, this is the only place I know of. The TechCrunch stance is obvious, of course:

Needless to say, we think these claims have no merit, otherwise we would not have written the posts in the first place, or would have retracted.

I did an email interview with Sethi, after he got in touch with me and wanted me to correct or retract the news story (which I didn’t do, obviously). I figured an interview would be the best way to get Sethi’s side of the story.

The interview spanned a couple of days, and was made via email.

Why have you decided to sue TechCrunch?

To clear up the lies written by Mike Arrington. To seek costs for the printing of a stolen termsheet and to put the record straight.

The termsheet mentioned is a leaked document which TechCrunch published. The source is said to be an anonymous one.

What do you hope to gain from the process?

Vindication and reward for the editors of Blognation.

Would you like to comment on Arrington’s claim that you are or have been sued, and that you are or have been banned from acting as a director or manager in a company as a result of these lawsuits/complaints?

I placed a link to the disqualified directors directory on companies house here in the UK. That is enough to tell you that I am not disqualified. Equally Starr did try to sue me but this was overturned by the courts in UK.

So you are not involved in any other lawsuits at this time, nor are you in any way hindered to run a business legally?

Yes I am closing a case against Oliver Starr but nothing is preventing me from running a business legally.

The mentioned link is Companies House’s disqualified directors directory. A search for “Sethi” doesn’t return any hits, so he is definitely not in that directory right now. The Starr mentioned is Oliver Starr, who posted an open letter to Sethi back in December 2007, regarding Blognation. That’s a story in itself. When asked, Sethi didn’t want to share his side of the story at this time.

I continued to push the issue about Sethi being legally hindered to manage a company the day after. It does shed some more light on the matter.

So you are not involved in any other lawsuits at this time, nor are you in any way hindered to run a business legally?

I answered this last night. I was invovled in a previous business where my business partner stolen monies and put it in his personal bank account. I had to pay back that money in order that I was no associated with the issue and resigned from the company. My partner was however banned as a director which is what Arrington is hinting at and trying to associate with me.

Sethi didn’t want to add anything more than this, and referred to the ongoing lawsuit of course, which is understandable. I did, however, comment on the fact that he’s in the UK and is trying to sue an American company on US servers.

There is TC UK/europe and that is up to a court although right now TC are hiding behind that issue.

I’m not so sure about that, actually. Unless there is an actual TechCrunch company or person responsible in the UK, how will Sethi get to them? Then again, I’m not a lawyer so I wouldn’t know.

So there you have it, Sethi’s take on the lawsuit, why he filed it, and his response to Arrington’s post on CrunchNotes. When asked to comment, Arrington referred to his post and the law firm’s response to the lawsuit within.

Sethi’s answers in this interview does clear up a few things, but until everything surrounding Blognation is on the table, it is hard to know what really happened and who did what. One thing’s for sure though, the voices speaking up against Sethi in this endeavor are numerous, and it is in everyone’s interest that the truth will be unfolded. Except anyone not playing by the rules, of course, but let’s hope there is as little of that in this affair as possible.

Sadly, I doubt this lawsuit is the end of it, nor will it tell all.

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  1. By Elizabeth Potts Weinstein posted on July 3, 2009 at 7:43 pm
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    BTW, he’s probably suing in the UK because that’s a *much* better place for his claims. Here in the U.S., since we have constitutional free speech, it is much more difficult to get damages against a publisher … but in the UK, the standards are much different. I suspect he *must* win to keep the lawsuit in the UK … good luck with that, unless he knows facts about TechCrunch that we don’t know!

    Reply

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  7. By Oliver Starr posted on August 8, 2009 at 4:31 pm
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    Thord,

    You’re probably going to feel a lot less charitably inclined towards Sam Sethi after you read my comments.

    First I’ll share with you the words from the administrator at Companies House who is responsible for maintaining the list of disqualified directors. In response to an inquiry made about Sethi’s disqualification status one Jason Scanlon writes:


    > I have been informed by the Insolvency Service that Sanjiv Sethi is disqualified and the order was made by Slough County Court. They have provided me with all the information relating to Mr Sethi’s disqualification. I will contact the court and request that they send me the relevant documentation. Once I am in receipt of this document and the record has been updated, I will let you know.
    >
    > I hope this is sufficient.
    >
    > Yours sincerely,
    >
    > Jason Scanlon
    >
    > Jason Scanlon
    > Subpoena Unit
    > Companies House
    > 02920 380073″

    I hope you will update your blog post accordingly.

    While you’re at it you might want to update your post to reflect the truth about my current status with respect to my suit against Sethi.

    Initially I was awarded a default judgment when Sethi failed to appear in court on the day my case was heard. As such, the court did not rule on the merits of my case (or even hear my case at all). They simply noted that Sethi did not file a defense nor appear to defend against my claims and thus they awarded me a victory and also the amount I requested in my filing.

    Sam subsequently filed a brief with the court requesting a hearing to set aside the default judgment and hear the actual case and give him an opportunity to defend himself.

    While I cannot go into further detail since the new hearing is still impending what I can say is that it is completely untrue that a “Verdict was overturned” as Sam claims or that he is “closing the case” that I filed.

    As it stands, Sam has to appear in court and explain exactly how it is that he doesn’t owe me for the work I did, the travel expenses I incurred on behalf of Blognation at his direction or the interest, damages and legal fees I have incurred as a result of his failure to honor my agreement.

    With the literal mountain of evidence that Sam has left strewn throughout the blogosphere as well as on archived Skype chats, emails and SMS exchanges it will be interesting to see how he can explain why he suddenly isn’t obligated to pay me as he promised so many times he would.

    Further it will be interesting to see how he can explain to the courts the fact that he has admitted lying to the Blognation editors about the funding situation and how I could have possibly confused his promises to pay me with that fact that I was apparently working for free (his claim). Of course it is strange that he would promise to pay me something if I’d agreed to work for nothing but then we’ll see how the courts like his explanation.

    In any case, those are the facts.

    I’m sure now you feel a bit pissed off at publishing what Sethi said to you considering so much of it was false. But don’t feel too bad. You’re in the same club as so many of us – simply honest people who Sam lied to without regard for what sort of pain or trouble it would cause them. Now you have some idea of how it feels to be lied to by Sethi, but at least you didn’t invest months of your life, thousands of dollars in out of pocket travel expenses or give up other high paying work based upon what Sam said. So if you’re pissed at Sam, just imagine how those of us that DID all of those things above must feel.

    Oliver Starr

    Reply

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