Lifestyle Lift Holding, Inc. v. Leonard Fitness, Inc. and Justin Leonard

Internet Free Speech — Miscellaneous
Case Description: 

Liability of Web Site Operators - Lifestyle Lift Holding, a Michigan company that licenses the use of its name to cosmetic facial surgeons in 38 offices across the country, sued Justin Leonard, an Arizona resident whose web site allows Internet users to post, and read, comments on the utility of products sold through television infomercials, include the so-called "Lifestyle Lift." Lifestyle claims that by including its name in the post-domain path of the pages of its web site that contain reviews of its product, and by including its name in headlines on those pages, Leonard violates its trademark rights and is engaged in false advertising. Public Citizen has moved to dismiss the complaint because Leonard cannot be sued in Michigan, and because in any event the First Amendment protects his truthful use of the Lifestyle Lift name on pages where that product is discussed, and the trademark laws do not forbid such use.

The trial court did not reach the issue of jurisdiction but rejected Lifestyle’s claims on the merits on various grounds explained briefly in its oral opinion. Lifestyle paid $17,500 in attorney fees for having filed a baseless lawsuit.