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High Court Refuses Suit

A $65-million judgment will stand in a case over a stolen domain name.

June 10, 2003|Laurie Asseo | Bloomberg News

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive an adult-entertainment executive's bid to avoid paying $65 million to the owner of the Web site for stealing the Internet address.

The justices turned down Stephen Michael Cohen's argument that he should be allowed to appeal the order that he pay owner Gary Kremen for acquiring the domain name through fraud.

An appeals court dismissed Cohen's appeal in August on grounds that he was a "fugitive from justice." The trial judge had issued an arrest warrant for him in March 2001.

Cohen "at all times was living at a known address in Mexico, was readily accessible and was not the subject of criminal charges," his lawyer said in court papers filed in Washington.

Cohen's attorneys said he was held under house arrest in Mexico.

Kremen, a San Francisco entrepreneur, registered the domain name in 1994.

A federal judge ruled that Cohen took the name in 1995 by writing to the company in charge of domain names, pretending to be an executive at Kremen's company and saying that Kremen wanted to give up the name.

A judge ordered Cohen to surrender the name and to pay Kremen $40 million in compensatory damages and $25 million in punitive damages. The judge issued an arrest warrant and said it would stay in effect until Cohen surrendered his property.

In dismissing Cohen's appeal in August, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco cited his "egregious abuse of the litigation process."

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