NASHVILLE, TN (NASHVILLE POST) BY J.R. LIND – In a scathing 16-page rebuttal to a request for a temporary restraining order related to a recently-filed lawsuit by one of its competitors, the attorney for Village Jewelers ripped the first litigious salvo fired in Nashville’s Diamond Wars as frivolous.
Attorney Brian Manookian argues the competitor’s request for a TRO — as part of its lawsuit, the competitor asked a judge to prohibit Village from making “false statements or misrespresentations” — rises to the level of prior restraint and that the claims made by the competitor have little chance of succeeding on the merits at trial, in part because all the statements in question made about it were made to its employees, which Manookian says doesn’t meet the standard of publication to a third party required for libel and slander.
Further, Manookian rejects the claim of violation of the Lanham Act — a federal law which prohibits false advertising — as none of the claims in question were broadcast broadly enough to constitute advertisement and further argues that the competitor can’t claim violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act because no consumers were harmed.
Manookian repeatedly refers to the case as a SLAPP suit — short for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” SLAPP suits are filed with an aim towards silencing criticism by exhausting the critics, either psychologically or financially.
The hearing on the injunction is 1:30 Monday in Chancery Court.