Networking equipment maker Juniper Networks Inc. is taking legal action against ten unknown defendants that posted comments critical of the company to online message boards.
In a complaint filed in California state court in Santa Clara, Calif. on Dec. 14, Juniper accused the individuals of committing libel by posting messages to Light Reading Inc. bulletin boards, messages that accuse the company of paying off attorneys to cover up a company scandal, and of using spyware software to monitor its employees home computers.
Light Reading did not respond to e-mail and phone requests for comment prior to publication. A Juniper spokesperson said in an e-mail message that the company cannot comment on pending litigation.
Light Reading, based in New York, is an information and news site that focuses on the telecommunications industry.
The messages in question were posted between April and September of 2005 by a variety of users.
Two individuals, using the online names “exJuniper981” and “infranet_rulz,” are named in the complaint, which cites posts in response to an article about Junipers first quarter performance that allege that the company bribed attorneys to cover up a scandal that caused the terminations of top brass at the company, including the vice president of human resources, a member of the board of directors, Junipers chief financial officer and the vice president of engineering.
“The man at the top should join his buddie Bernie [Ebbers],” read a post on April 21.
Other posts accuse Juniper of being “an unethical company,” and claim that Juniper put spyware on the home computer of a departing executive, “tapped the phones and sent [private investigators] to follow and intimidate him,” according to the complaint.
Juniper claims that the posts are false and “could lead to a material decline in [Junipers] profits and could cause permanent harm to [Junipers] good reputation.”
Juniper is seeking an injunction against the unnamed Light Reading users, as well as punitive and compensatory damages for the posts.