PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia attorney claims a former associate of his law firm later took revenge for his own firing by posting defamatory statements online about the plaintiff and his former place of business.
The Kim Law Firm, LLC and Richard Kim, Esq. of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 19 versus James Fitzgerald Bowyer, also of Philadelphia.
The lawsuit says Bowyer is an attorney licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania since 2008, and worked at the Kim Law Firm for two months last year, from September to November 2017. After two months, the suit states Bowyer was fired for subpar work quality and other reasons.
From March through June 2018, the Kim firm says it was subjected to persistent harassment, threats, and a campaign of defamatory online statements made by Bowyer, including:
• Posting of online reviews containing false and defamatory reviews about plaintiffs, in which Bowyer used fake names and e-mail addresses, while falsely posing as prospective and former clients;
• E-mails threatening physical harm and lawsuits, in which Bowyer used fake names and e-mail addresses;
• Posing as the plaintiff and using his work e-mail address to sign the defendants up for numerous website newsletters which resulted in hundreds of spammed emails to be sent to him; and
• Using the plaintiff’s personal telephone number to send numerous and extensive “spam” text messages.
Allegedly, Bowyer, through the use of a Virtual Private Network to disguise his Internet Protocol (IP) address, also left reviews in which he said Kim could not speak fluent English, that he embezzled money from clients and was the subject of sexual harassment claims – all of which Kim denies, though he says he lost business as a result.
Kim added Bowyer sent him text messages on Sept. 10, allegedly admitting responsibility for the defamatory postings, and that Bowyer’s counsel followed up and admitted the same on Sept. 17.
For counts of defamation, tortious interference with business relationships, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus injunctive relief preventing defendant from using a VPN to obscure his IP address, compensatory damages, consequential damages, punitive damages, fees, costs and such other relief as the Court may deem fair and equitable.
The plaintiff is represented by Ryan N. Boland of Offit Kurman, in Philadelphia.
The defendant has not yet secured legal counsel, per Court records.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180503106
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org