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Massage Today
August, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 08

Lawsuit Timeline

By Editorial Staff

January 2001 - First issue of Massage Today (MT) features front-page article entitled "AMTA Consumer Survey Reveals Trends in Massage," recognizing AMTA's work in providing information.

Material for the article was taken directly from an AMTA press release.

April 3, 2001 - MT receives letter from AMTA attorney asking it to "cease and desist" from using names and addresses of AMTA members. MT was never contacted directly by the AMTA. MT immediately refrains from renting out any names from the AMTA directory. MT Editor (and AMTA New Hampshire Chapter President) Cliff Korn, NCTMB, contacts the AMTA to discuss the matter. The AMTA refuses to discuss the matter with Cliff Korn, apparently on advice of counsel.

April 3, 2001 - As a further act of good faith, MT sets policy to not accept any membership advertising from any national massage therapy association in competition with the AMTA. This policy costs MT an estimated $20,000 in advertising revenue.

May 7, 2001 - Massage Today attorney Rick Cigel, Esq., calls AMTA's attorney in an effort to reach a peaceful solution. The AMTA attorney refuses to return his phone call.

May 10, 2001 - Without any response to its attempts to discuss the situation, Massage Today is served with a lawsuit citing six counts. The first two counts are based upon the article published about the AMTA consumer survey in the very first issue of Massage Today, in which MT gives the AMTA full credit. The remaining four counts involve approximately 17,000 names and addresses of AMTA members.

August 7, 2001 - AMTA and MT meet in an effort to settle the lawsuit. AMTA chooses not to make a settlement offer. MT offers to purchase the 17,000 names and addresses at double the standard industry rate, even though MT believes it has done nothing wrong.

August 13, 2001 - AMTA sends a settlement proposal asking for four years of free advertising.

August 20, 2001 - MT turns down the AMTA offer and reiterates its willingness to pay double the standard rate for the names in question.

August 29, 2001 - Judge Lindberg dismisses Counts I, II, IV and V of the AMTA lawsuit without any evidence or testimony. Judge Lindberg further makes it clear that the AMTA must prove that MT produced "a work substantially similar to" the AMTA Registries.

October 17, 2001 - In its written responses, AMTA admits that it is beginning to lose members over the lawsuit with Massage Today.

October 25, 2001 - MT sends a letter to the AMTA notifying them that their lawsuit is without merit and that Massage Today intends to seek monetary sanctions once the lawsuit is over, unless AMTA promptly abandons the lawsuit.

March 1, 2002 - AMTA makes a settlement offer asking for advertising in Massage Today, a one-time use of MT's mailing list, and requiring the AMTA members in question to mail "written permission" as a requirement for them to continue to receive Massage Today. The estimated cost to the AMTA members for granting and mailing "written permission" would be $7,000 - $10,000. The value of the MT advertising space requested by the AMTA is less than MT's original settlement offer.

March 7, 2002 - In its second attempt to end the lawsuit peaceably, MT responds with a counter offer that includes the free advertising space and use of MT's mailing list as requested by the AMTA. In an effort to reduce the hassle to AMTA members, MT asks that AMTA members only be required to contact MT if they do not want to receive Massage Today.

March 26, 2002 - For whatever reason, AMTA chooses not to accept MT's settlement offer. AMTA refuses to allow those members to receive MT without written permission.

April 23, 2002 - MT files a Motion for Summary Judgment.

May 31, 2002 - AMTA files its own Motion for Summary Judgment.

July 11, 2002 - Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow hears oral arguments from both sides regarding the motions for summary judgment.

July 19, 2002 - LAWSUIT ENDS - Judge Denlow grants Massage Today's motion for summary judgment on all remaining counts. MT prepares to file for monetary sanctions against the AMTA.

For more on the AMTA lawsuit vs. Massage Today, see AMTA Leadership Loses Lawsuit and AMTA Faces Sanctions in this issue.

 

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