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Baker v. Kuritzky

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 25, 2015

CLARK BAKER and the OFFICE OF MEDICAL & SCIENTIFIC JUSTICE, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
KEVIN KURITZKY, Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Clark Baker, Office of Medical & Scientific Justice Inc., Plaintiffs: Andrew T. Miltenberg, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, Nesenoff & Miltenberg LLP, New York, NY; Shepard Davidson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Burns & Levinson, Boston, MA; Andrea L. Martin, Michael V. Samarel, Burns & Levinson LLP, Boston, MA; Diana R. Zborovsky, Marco A. Santori, PRO HAC VICE, Nesenoff & Miltenberg LLP, New York, NY.

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MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Mark L. Wolf, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

Plaintiff Clark Baker, a retired police officer, is a private investigator and founder of the Office of Medical & Scientific Justice (" OMSJ" ). Am. Compl., ¶ ¶ 5, 12. Plaintiff OMSJ is a " non-profit public benefit corporation, licensed in California, that investigates cases involving medical and scientific corruption." Id., ¶ 6. The plaintiffs have allegedly " exposed the widespread corruption and incompetence that permeates the 'HIV industry.'" Id.

The plaintiffs allege that, as the result of this and other work, defendant Kevin Kuritzky has harassed Baker and his domestic partner. See, e.g., id., 5517, 31-33. In addition, it is alleged that Kuritzky has posted on the Internet defamatory statements about the plaintiffs. See, e.g., id., ¶ ¶ 17, 20. For example, it is alleged that Kuritzky created and posted a fake newspaper article stating that Baker was indicted for molesting his daughter. Id., ¶ ¶ 25, 42. It is also alleged that the defamatory statements " have harmed [] Baker's personal reputation, causing him severe emotional distress. [They] have also caused financial harm to his business, [] OMSJ, which has lost business opportunities as a result." Id., ¶ 36.

In the Amended Complaint, the plaintiffs assert claims for libel, false light, interference with advantageous business relations, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Amended Complaint seeks damages and injunctive relief.

B. Procedural History

The original complaint brought claims against ten unidentified " John Doe" defendants. See Complaint. The court denied the plaintiffs' motion for discovery regarding the identities of the defendants. See Dec. 27, 2012 Order. The plaintiffs subsequently filed an Amended Complaint alleging claims only against Kuritzky. According to the Amended Complaint, ¶ 7, Kuritzky resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Kuritzky was served on March 15, 2013, at an address in Georgia. See Aff. of Service (Docket No. 15). Kuritzky did not

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respond to the Amended Complaint or appear in this action. Therefore, a Notice of Default was entered on September 17, 2013. The Notice was mailed to Kuritzky at the Georgia address at which he was served, but was returned as undeliverable.

The plaintiffs later filed their Motion for Default Judgment (the " Motion" ). Evidently abandoning their claim for damages, the plaintiffs ask the court to, among other things:

Enter an Order that Mr. Kuritzky is restrained from writing and publishing any false statement of fact concerning plaintiffs Clark Baker or the Office of Medical & Scientific Justice, Inc.;
Enter [an] Order that Mr. Kuritzky immediately direct any internet service providers (ISPs) over which he has control, or with whom he has a contractual relationship, to permanently disable public access to and/or remove any content, posts and/or pages concerning Plaintiffs Clark Baker and the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice . . . .
Award any other and further relief this Court deems just and proper.

Id. at 3-4.

II. THE ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b) allows the court, upon application of the plaintiff, to enter a default judgment against a defendant who is in default. " [T]here is no question that, default having been entered, each of [the plaintiff's] allegations of fact must be taken as true and each of its [] claims must be considered established as a matter of law." Brockton Sav. Bank v. Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co.,771 F.2d 5, 13 (1st Cir. 1985). However, " the court has an obligation to grant default judgment only on claims that are supported by adequate factual ...


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