• On November 16, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York denied a motion for preliminary injunction filed by TVC Albany, a local and long-distance phone company, against two of its business customers, American Energy Care and Best Cleaners. As part of a broader suit seeking to collect unpaid long-distance charges, TVC asked the court to enjoin the defendants from “disparaging or defaming plaintiff or engaging in publication of false and malicious information to the public or the press regarding plaintiff.” The suit arose when anomalous amounts of long-distance traffic originated from or through the defendants’ businesses, resulting in a $200,000 monthly bill to American Energy and a $150,000 bill to Best Cleaners. These defendants claimed – first privately and then publicly – that TVC’s system was hacked, and that TVC should have relieved them of the charges. In an “Open Letter” to the Albany business community, they stated that “it seems reasonably clear that TVC lacked the detection capabilities to identify this type of fraud, which allowed it to continue to both their customers and non-customers lines,” and that “other telecommunications vendors in the area employ the necessary fraud detection capabilities to protect our community from these types of events, and when such fraud does occur, these vendors have relieved the customers from any responsibility.” The court first noted that TVC’s disparagement claim faces a high hurdle on constitutional grounds: a “request for a prior restraint of speech and publication is the ‘least tolerable infringement’ on First Amendment rights and subject to ‘a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity.’” The court then denied TVC’s request for injunctive relief, because TVC failed to prove the most important element for injunctive relief – irreparable harm. Although TVC submitted declarations indicating that some unidentified customers had called to ask whether TVC had adequate fraud-prevention systems in place and that it fears a loss of business and goodwill, the court held that TVC “failed to demonstrate that it has sustained actual injury or that injury is imminent. Plaintiff offers only broad allegations concerning its potential loss of reputation and good will.” The court denied the motion, but referred the matter to a magistrate judge to establish an expedited discovery schedule. TVC Albany, Inc. v. Am. Energy Care, Inc., No. 12-cv-1471 (N.D.N.Y.).