- Jul 1, 2022
A Massachusetts insurance agency has edged closer to recovering damages from the online marketplace that allegedly sold without authorization the domain name of the agency’s primary website.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns recently denied a defense motion to dismiss in its entirety a lawsuit filed in June 2022 by Premier Shield Insurance against Afternic Services.
An affiliate of the web hosting company GoDaddy Inc., Afternic operates a marketplace for the purchase and sale of domain names. In its lawsuit, Premier alleged that in 2021 Afternic sold its GoDaddy-registered domain PremierShieldInsurance.com (PSI) to an Indonesian gambling site for $1,126.
According to Premier, the insurance agency never authorized the sale of the domain name for the website through which it had been conducting business since 2016.
In his Dec. 8 ruling on Afternic’s motion to dismiss, Stearns decided that while Premier had failed to state a claim for relief under the federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. §1125(d), the plaintiff had stated plausible claims for violations of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Massachusetts Fair Business Protection Act, G.L.c. 93A, §11, as well as a claim for conversion.
In its complaint, Premier alleged that Afternic violated the CFAA by: (1) obtaining protected information by intentionally accessing a computer without authorization; (2) intentionally damaging a protected computer by knowingly causing unauthorized transmission of a program, information, code, or command; and (3) causing damage by intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization.
Read more: Suit over ‘unauthorized’ sale of web domain name advances | Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly