Online moderator fires back at lawsuit over discussions about arrest

The lawyer for Ron Newman, one of the LiveJournal 102, is firing back at local entrepreneur Jonathan Monsarrat with an 18-page letter that demands the $5.5-million suit be dropped immediately, unless Monsarrat and his lawyers want to face counter claims for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

The suit names only two people specifically and then refers to 100 "John or Jane Does." A number of people reported last week they received e-mail or letters from Monsarrat threatening to name them specifically as part of the suit unless they deleted posts about him.

Ed. note: After my initial post on the suit, Monsarrat sent me a similar e-mail message, threatening to include me in the lawsuit unless I took down the post about the lawsuit and the comments on it. Fortunately, I was able to retain counsel, who has responded to Monsarrat's lawyers. The post stays up, in part because of Sect. 230 of the Communications Decency Act.



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    Way to go!

    This guy needs a dose of reality and responsibility for his actions. I was hoping that he would be hit with countersuits for his harassment. Way to stand up to this waste of judicial resources.

    And, is it just me or do Ron's lawyers really seem to be enjoying themselves here. Their arguments are not only easy to follow, they are fun to read, too!

    My favorite line...

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    You have filed a phonebook-sized pile of exhibits, including thousands of comments on various websites. No generalized assertion that Mr. Newman may bear liability for some unspecifiedcomment somewhere in that pile is sufficient to state a plausible claim against him. To sustain adefamation claim, you can’t just point to the haystack; you have to show the needle

    Indeed. This is a blatant

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    Indeed. This is a blatant witch hunt to get publicity for his new service. What a d.b.

    two comments

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    1. If I tried to think of who on the entire Internet would be one of the least likely targets of a suit alleging online misconduct, Ron Newman might well be the first name that came to mind. He comes across as extraordinarily well-mannered and fair.

    2. I'd occasionally bump into Jonmon around universities, many years ago. He had a good reputation for enthusiastically about helping others, and at some point he became a sharp startup founder. I don't have the time or the interest to look into the various allegations that are in the air right now, but obviously it looks bad from a distance. And hiring a shoddy lawyer is not something that sharp Jonmon would've done, so that suggests that something might have gotten out of wack. If it turns out he regrets the situation and decides to seek some kind of counseling/therapy for whatever the problem is, and he tries to correct any mistakes, then I hope that people will show charity and decency.

    And the letter is awesome, too.

    I never thought that an 18 page letter written by an attorney would be a joy to read, but this one is brilliantly infused with a massive dose of Vitamin Oh Snap.

    Comedy gold, by boring legal standards

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    Actually, I am. Just have too many porn sites open to turn on JS.

    "Your claims against Mr. Newman are wholly without merit; as the saying goes, they’re not even wrong."


    "Your hashcash value failed. Please ensure you have JavaScript enabled in your browser."



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    It would only be fitting if JonMon and his cyber detective agency ended up enraging a former teen party person with pictures or video to prove it.

    Too late, tough guy!

    For making this innocuous comment, you're now clearly part of the conspiracy; thus, you should expect both a letter and possibly an unexpected home visit from an unknown party.


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    Read the complaint at this link. It names Ron Newman, Deb Filcman (at the time, editor of the Somerville Journal), and John and Jane Does 1-100.

    I have to say..

    in my job I drive a lot of money. Some of it old and some of it new.
    The funny thing is that old money seem to usually have a handle on life. For the most part, old money is secure, confident, and the tend to carry themselves exactly like the old money you see in movies.

    New money,on the other hand, is usually a mess. I've encountered tons of rock stars that have boatloads of insecurity, but most of them are basically very needy, harmless children. New money, and in that I mean primarily tech money, are mostly the kids who girls hated in high school who now that they have a few bucks not only treat women like shit, they think they have the right to treat everyone like shit. Tech people with money are paranoid, insecure and incapable of trusting anyone. So I can see how someone with a few bucks, a massive ego and enormous insecurity issues might feel that a tactic like this one will make them feel better about themselves, but trust me it never will.

    Painting with a broad brush, eh?

    Not all successful techies are nasty misanthropes; I'd point to a number of JonMon's former classmates from MIT who are all shaking their heads right now. And at least two are contributing to the legal fund for the DSLJ102.

    I only know JonMon at third-hand (an enterprise I was involved in made a presentation to one of his enterprises in the '90s); but because I know at least 20 of his former associates professionally and socially, I am kept apprised of his essential doucheness. Note: former associates. Of the married-with-children and working as C-level executives at startups around the country variety, who do not share his values or approve of his behavior.

    If JonMon makes the mistake of using his "anti-cyber-bullying" enterprise against a former associate, he'll have to deal with the consequences.


    in my post did I say all techies with money are douches? My own brother is a tech gazillionaire and he just donated 1000 shares of Apple stock to charity.


    New money, and in that I mean primarily tech money, are mostly the kids who girls hated in high school who now that they have a few bucks not only treat women like shit, they think they have the right to treat everyone like shit. Tech people with money are paranoid, insecure and incapable of trusting anyone.


    Now, I was pretty sure you didn't mean everyone who's made money in high tech, but you didn't do a great job stating that first 'time round.

    That said, I've had to deal with both the smelly-men's-club and the high-tech-money douchebags for my entire professional career. JonMon is typical of a certain demographic, as you've noted. He always seems to start off well and then does something nasty, which gets him noticed in an unflattering way. He doesn't quite match up to the guy who once gave me a business card with the title, "Capitalist Exploiter of the Masses", but he's close.

    My suspicion right now is that he's fishing for more VC, and wants these incidents to quit turning up in due diligence. I'm waiting to see if he sues Lexis-Nexis. Heh.

    Hey now, let's be fair.

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    Hey now, let's be fair. Google Street View is sometimes a tad bit imprecise. They could be in the haircut place next door.

    It's almost certainly the UPS Store

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    "9660 Falls of Neuse Road Suite 138-350 Raleigh, NC 27615"

    The street view image shows a nice clear "138" above the door of the UPS Store.

    How much do you want to bet that Box 350 is being rented by Ishman?

    I wonder whether that address format is compliant with DMM 602 2.3:

    "Mail Addressed to CMRAs

    Mail sent to an addressee at a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) must be addressed to their private mailbox (“PMB” or “#”) number at the CMRA mailing address."

    USPS Pub 28

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    284 Private Mailbox Addresses

    "Where the CMRA's physical address requires its own secondary address element, the PMB or # address must follow the specific format rules stated below. It is not permissible to combine the secondary address element of the mailing address for the CMRA and the CMRA customer's private box number." (emphasis added)


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    Ron, your lawyer is awesome.


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    Quis cyberbully investigation services ipsos cyberbully investigation services?

    "Your complaint violates state law"

    That pretty much sums it up.

    Also: They filed a Chapter 93A claim?! LMAO. That's the kind of thing you'd file against a bad landlord or used-car salesman... and anyone even vaguely familiar with the statute knows you can't make a claim without sending the 30-day demand letter.

    Hang on

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    He filed a lawsuit, you reported on it, and then he threatened to sue YOU? That is completely insane.

    Don't have a cow, Mon

    I didn't hear Pete Nice say he responded to a call to rescue Jonathan Monsarrat from auto-asphyxiation in a bizarre accident involving a rope, a tractor, and a farm animal.

    Another Untrue True Rumor

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    I've not heard that it's not not true that Monsarrat has a very small and hideously ugly penis. Any untruth to that rumor?

    (That would be James Shawn Sullivan, lawyers, and it sure would be fun for him to prove or disprove this one.)

    I didn't hear it on the grapevine

    I've also never heard that Jonathan Monsarrat was the inspiration for the California Raisins, because of a little trick he did in summer camp where he pretended to his bunk-mates that his small and hideously ugly penis could sing.

    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche

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    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche
    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche
    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche
    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche
    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche
    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche
    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche
    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche
    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche
    Jonathan Monsarrat is a fucking douche

    Hopefully thats enough for google. Seriously, where does this sociopathic little douche get off?

    Oh, and go Ron! Trolls need to be bitchslapped once in a while. If you or Adam want to set up a paypal for legal donations, I'll throw in a few bills.


    All due respect to you,but the guy really is a douche. What makes it even more heinous is that he would spend money to try and find out who people are on some forum and then he spends more money on lawyers to harass people like Ron Newman, who as far as I can tell is the type of guy who glues wings back on flies and helps old lesbians cross the street.

    I will also kick in a few bucks for the defense fund if one is established.

    Defense fund for Davis Square folks

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    Friends of Davis Square LJ.

    I haven't incurred any costs yet because, like Ron, I'm being represented pro bono (different lawyers than Ron, and unlike Ron and the Does, I haven't actually been sued, so I don't have to worry about various court costs, which I guess can add up).

    (1) None of the Does have

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    (1) None of the Does have been sued (yet).

    (2) Adam, if you have received a letter, then you are now a Doe. Welcome!

    If you check his web sites,

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    If you check his web sites, you'll see he goes by "Johnny Monsarrat" now because his actual name has been too sullies by his actual actions. Johnny, otoh, still searches pretty cleanly.

    This guy has no case

    The elements that must be proved to establish defamation are:

    1.a publication to one other than the person defamed;
    2.a false statement of fact;
    3.that is understood as
    •a. being of and concerning the plaintiff; and
    •b. tending to harm the reputation of plaintiff.

    •If the plaintiff is a public figure, he or she must also prove actual malice.

    If the arrest is true, then Jonathan Monsarrat has no case plus and most importantly he could be considered a public figure. Therefore he has no case.

    You're Awesome!

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    Thank you for not deleting anything and calling this clown on his bullshit. I know many of the Livejournal102, and support them in their efforts. they did nothing wrong. They called out a guy in a not not entirely public venue for events already published in a newspaper widely circulated to the general public and other public documents. That's bullshit.

    Also, has anybody noticed that the Mr.JM's lawyer is the same person who is in-house counsel for his "cyber bully detective service"? Sounds like dude is trying to get publicity for his new venture. I call publicity stunt.


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    Sounds like Jonathan Monsarrat really has nothing better to do with his time. He really needs to get a life and move on.. this is just silly. This really sounds like a whiny baby who is mad that he's picked on online and has an lawyer who's doing this 'just because'.

    As a plantiff in a similar lawsuit years ago (like in the 90s), he really has no ground to stand on. None. The judge will throw this case out in a heartbeat because its frivolous and has no real merit.

    Keep in mind that most of this is idle threats (including AdamG's).. its scare tactics used by lawyers to get people to stop doing stuff without real merit. Many people fear being sued so do whatever the Cease and Desist letter says.. when in reality, unless you KNOW you're doing something, and last check posting on a blog doesn't fall under this. (unless it is truly slander, and this doesn't sound like it).

    And for the record, go ahead, add me to the sue list. I won't even need to hire a lawyer to get this throw out! It's that easy.

    His lawyers aren't likely involved

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    It is my supposition that he is paying his lawyers to let him file the case. I also suppose that they have barely even looked at the materials he has asked them to file.

    I could be wrong but based on Ron's lawyer's commentary in their response letter, I think he is sarcastically pointing out that he supposes as much as well.

    This would be consistent with the handwritten original complaint filed in court that someone I read had claimed is in Monsarrat's handwriting.


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    then he really is stupid.. this will get tossed. If he's doing this without legal advice, then he's skating on very thin ice.

    Even more so now, it sounds like a bully game and nothing more.

    It may or may not be

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    It may or may not be Monsarrat's handwriting, but it is the same handwriting as that on the letters mailed by Monsarrat to the Does.

    JonMon's lawyer did not know about the Doe Letters

    until an attorney for one or more of the Does wrote to JonMon's lawyer, Mark Ishman. Ishman did not authorize JonMon to send any of these letters, and has told my lawyer that he will restrain JonMon from sending any more of them.


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    Based on Ishman's response and course of action, it's suggestive that he didn't actually read anything in the initial complaint either.


    What similar lawsuit in the 90s?

    As a plantiff in a similar lawsuit years ago (like in the 90s), he really has no ground to stand on.

    Could you tell us (or, me privately) more about this, please? Whom did he sue in the 90s? Can you link to any more information about that suit?


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    This didn't happen here nor involve Monsarrat. This was back when I was living down south.

    BUT the lawsuit was very similar to whats going on with you now.... someone just trying to shut people up because they didn't like what was posted.

    Perhaps you should discuss

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    Perhaps you should discuss your letter with the person who wrote about the lawsuit on The might have received a letter, but would also likely be interested in discussing this with another journalist who received a letter.

    I submitted this to TechDirt

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    I submitted this to TechDirt more than a week ago. We had less info then but it seemed like enough and they passed. I want my anonymous credit!