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COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
SUPERIOR COURT DEPARTMENT
OF THE TRIAL COURT
DONALD THOMAS SCHOLZ,
GEORGE A. GOULDSMITH,
and JURY DEMAND
Plaintiff Donald Thomas Scholz brings this action against Defendant George A. Gouldsmith seeking redress for his defamatory statements against Scholz, including but not limited to falsehoods regarding authorship of BOSTON's biggest hit, mistreatment of the band's late lead singer, and censoring of fans, which statements George Gouldsmith knew to be false, but nevertheless willfully and maliciously made to third parties.
1. Plaintiff Donald Thomas Scholz ("Scholz") is an individual living in Southern Middlesex County, MA.
2. Defendant George A. Gouldsmith ("Gouldsmith") is an individual who, on information and belief, lives in Newport Beach, CA.
Venue and Personal Jurisdiction
3. Venue is proper as Scholz resides in Middlesex County.
4. Gouldsmith is subject to the personal jurisdiction of the courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 223A, Sections 3(c) and 3(d), because he committed tortious acts within the Commonwealth and because he has caused tortious injury within the Commonwealth.
5. Scholz is a successful musician, composer, recording engineer, and record producer.
6. In or about 1975, Scholz founded the hugely successful rock music group BOSTON.
7. Scholz solely owns the trademark for the name and logo "BOSTON."
Gouldsmith's fan forums
8. George Gouldsmith is a fan of BOSTON. On information and belief, he is an information technology manager in Southern California.
10. The moderator of an online forum receives members' postings electronically and has the opportunity to approve or disapprove those postings for view by all registered members of the forum.
11. Gouldsmith was for years supportive and complimentary of Scholz.
12. In 2007, Gouldsmith received and/or read numerous defamatory statements about Scholz in electronic messages, posts, and news articles, some of which became the subject of a defamation action by Scholz.
15. After starting CTE, Gouldsmith became openly hostile to Scholz.
16. Gouldsmith has made and disseminated many false statements regarding Scholz with either knowledge of their falsity Or reckless disregard for their falsity.
17. Gouldsmith has often held himself out as receiving "inside" information about Scholz and all things BOSTON. He has done this, at least in part, for the purpose of having people believe that what he says about BOSTON and Scholz is true.
18. For example, Gouldsmith has made several personal statements about Scholz and other BOSTON bandmembers which are untrue.
19. In message #3326 posted to CTE in Or about November 2008, Gouldsmith wrote:
Let's say Mr Scholz was much more interested in Ms Dahme's personal assets than any musicial [sic] talents she had (Tom - "You don't known how to play bass? That's ok, you can learn...") Soon after she accepted Tom's offer, let's say they soon became an item. You do remember she was pregnant before the Corp America tour ? Hmmm...Food for thought.
Tom met Kim [Mrs. Scholz] on a cruise ship while on vacation in FL (Kim was working on the ship.) [...] I seem to remember Kim confirming the cruise ship story, but don't quote me.
... apparently [Mrs. Scholz] is a pretty fair photographer [...] Apparently there's a lot of interesting concert/backstage photos us fans will never see, such as female Boston fans flashing Tom their headlites - Oh my !)
20. These statements are false. Kimberley Dahme was never pregnant by Scholz, Mrs. Scholz has never worked on a cruise ship, Scholz has never been on a cruise ship, and Mrs. Scholz, although a photographer, has never photographed indiscrete fans backstage or otherwise. Scholz was introduced to Mrs. Scholz by a mutual friend in Cambridge, MA.
21. Kimberley Dahme was an accomplished professional vocalist and guitarist who transitioned to bass guitar, and subsequently completed a successful audition many months after Scholz and bandmate Gary Pihl first discovered her performing with Tom Hambridge.
22. Gouldsmith bought a gift certificate for Mr. and Mrs. Scholz for a local restaurant to deliver food to their home. Gouldsmith later learned the gift certificate was not used. He posted in message # 1882 that Scholz did not use the gift certificate because he found out a former bandmember liked the restaurant and Scholz did not want anything to do with the restaurant. That statement is untrue. Scholz was not familiar with the restaurant or its clientele. He did not wish to provide his home address to a local establishment with which he was unfamiliar,
23. Gouldsmith made these false statements also for the purpose of inflicting harm on Scholz, and/or causing strife between him and current or former bandmembers.
24. Gouldsmith has never had a relationship with Scholz, and Scholz has never communicated with Gouldsmith. Gouldsmith twice approached Scholz at public events during 2007, where Scholz acknowledged Gouldsmith politely and shook hands with him, but there was no discussion of any of the topics for which Gouldsmith subsequently claimed to have special knowledge.
Gouldsmith was asked to check facts before posting
25. In response to a false statement posted on CTE by Gouldsmith on or about July 1, 2008, and his subsequent reply that he had obtained the information from "several sources" on the web, counsel for Scholz wrote an email to Gouldsmith stating:
Thank you for your quick response, Thank you also for the website reference. I ask that you not post any statements on your site of an apparently factual nature about Tom Scholz or BOSTON, if you are not certain of their truth. Obviously, just because something appears on the internet does not make it true.
26. Later that same day, Gouldsmith removed the false information from CTE and posted an apology to Scholz.
27. BOSTON's publicist then contacted Gouldsmith and offered, in an effort to prevent such false postings in the future, to have him call her from time to time to ascertain the veracity of a statement he might wish to post. Gouldsmith never did so.
Falsehoods regarding potential VH1 project
28. On or about December 6, 2008, Gouldsmith wrote on CTE:
A few years ago, VH1 attempted to do a "Behind the Scenes with Boston" segment. Things were good ok until Tom caught wind that Barry & Sib were saying some less than kind things about him and/or differing versions of Boston history. Tom nixed the whole project....
29. Gouldsmith's statement is untrue. Although VH1 or an outside production company initiated such a project, Scholz and his manager did not want BOSTON to be associated with some of the other programming the network had unexpectedly begun airing unrelated to BOSTON. Scholz's manager representative cut off the project.
Falsehoods regarding composition "More Than A Feeling."
30. On or about February 17, 2009, Gouldsmith stated on the bostonfanforum:
Let us not forget that MTAF was originally Brad's song, which was reworked and became BOSTON's biggest hit. I am frankly tired of some fans/associates attempting to minimize the efforts of prior bandmates, especially those with the original band, and only give credit to Tom for BOSTON.
31. MTAF refers to BOSTON's biggest hit song, "More Than A Feeling."
32. "More Than A Feeling" was the hit single off of BOSTON's eponymous debut album, which for many years held the record as the biggest-selling debut album of all time.
33. Gouldsmith's statement is untrue. In fact, Scholz solely wrote the music and lyrics to the composition, "More Than A Feeling." The official copyright registration for that song lists Scholz as the sole author of the work.
34. Brad Delp sang lead vocals on that song and on many other BOSTON recordings, for which he received credit and great praise from Scholz. On the BOSTON songs which Brad Delp wrote or co-wrote, he received credit therefor on the albums and/or liner notes.
35. Gouldsmith has no firsthand knowledge about how the composition or the recording of "More Than A Feeling" was created.
36. Gouldsmith had reason to know that statement was false.
Falsehoods regarding Brad Delp.
37. Brad Delp was the lead singer of BOSTON.
38. Throughout a period of several decades, from the early 1970's until Mr. Delp's death on March 9, 2007, Brad Delp was a close friend and musical collaborator of Scholz.
39. On or about December 9, 2008, Gouldsmith posted the following on CTE:
It is well known among bandmates and their families that Tom doesn't pay bandmates what they deserve. Bandmates expect a certain amount from a tour then suddenly find other tour expenses tacked on, which they have to accept or risk not being in the band anymore (or demoted in the political pecking order - note Brad's reduced involvement in "Corporate America").
40. On or about January 25, 2009, Gouldsmith sent an email to a BOSTON fan in which he stated, discussing Brad Delp's suicide:
Also, Tom screwed him over financially on tours/albums for years, Brad finally had to hire an attorney before the last tour, so he got his fair share.
41. Gouldsmith's statement is untrue. In fact, Brad Delp never had an attorney deal with Scholz or his attorneys for BOSTON tour arrangements. On two of the last four BOSTON tours in which Delp participated, he received a larger share of net profits than Scholz did for his performances. On the 2004 BOSTON tour (i.e., the last tour before Delp's death), all band members received a larger share of net tour profits for their performances than did Scholz. On their 1995 tour, Delp received a larger share of net tour profits for his performances than all other performers, including Scholz. Other than these cases in which Scholz received less, all touring BOSTON band members during the last 20 years have received a share of net profits equal to Scholz. Over the years, Scholz has absorbed many expense in connection with BOSTON appearances which he did not subsequently recover from tour proceeds, and has been the only band member to put up the high risk front money necessary to initiate tour preparations. Gouldsmith also stated that Fran Cosmo was the source of his information, as if to imply he was a confidant of Fran Cosmo. This is untrue. Fran Cosmo has denied ever providing such information to Gouldsmith.
42. Also in that email, Gouldsmith stated:
After that, Tom gave Brad the cold shoulder and minimized his importance in Boston (ie. Corporate America). I think all these things added up and just became too much for Brad...
43. Gouldsmith's statement is untrue. Scholz never "gave Brad the cold shoulder" or minimized his importance in BOSTON. Scholz asked Brad Delp to sing the lead vocal on all but one of the new songs he wrote for the Corporate America album. On BOSTON's tours, Delp was the lead singer at every show the band performed during his lifetime, including the period referred to by Gouldsmith. Any singing parts on popular older BOSTON songs that were performed live by singers other than Delp were selected and "given" to them at the sole discretion of Delp. Delp had done this for the twenty years prior to his death.
44. Gouldsmith also stated in that email that Scholz sued Fran Cosmo.
45. Gouldsmith's statement is untrue. Scholz has never sued Fran Cosmo.
Scholz asks Gouldsmith to stop.
46. On February 2, 2009, Scholz, through his counsel, emailed a letter to Gouldsmith demanding that he immediate cease and desist from making and/or publishing any further statements about Scholz and his wife, and that he immediately delete all references to the Scholzes on any website for which Gouldsmith was responsible.
47. Gouldsmith responded by simply stating that: "As of this afternoon, I am not longer the owner/moderator of CTE."
48. When Scholz's counsel asked for the name and contact information of the new owner/moderator of CTE, Gouldsmith refused to provide it.
49. Instead, Gouldsmith went on a transparently anonymous campaign to cast Scholz in a bad light in the press and on the fan forums.
Posing as "Gary Leclerc."
50. On or about February 3, 2009, Gouldsmith stated on CTE that: "I have made a follow Boston fan, Gary Leclerc, the owner of CTE. I have demoted myself to a CTE member. I will continue to post as always, but Gary will call the shots."
51. On or about February 3, 2009, "Gary" made a posting stating "george asked me to take over his group today. [...] I have a legal background and tom's lawyer's accusations are baseless."
52. In a posting on CTE on or about February 6, 2009, Gouldsmith referred to Gary as an attorney.
53. The State Bar of California has no listing for a Gary Leclerc. See: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member.aspx. The lawyers' directory Martindale.com has no listing for a Gary Leclerc in the United States or Canada.
54. Gouldsmith's many postings on the fan forums were mostly Or all from the following two internet protocol ("IP") addresses:
126.96.36.199 - located in Newport Beach, CA
188.8.131.52 - located in Redondo Beach, CA
55. On information and belief, Gouldsmith lives in Newport Beach, CA.
56. "Gary Leclerc's" postings came from the following two IP addresses:
184.108.40.206 - located in Newport Beach, CA
220.127.116.11 - located in Redondo Beach, CA
57. Each time that Gouldsmith and "Gary Leclerc" engaged in a conversation on CTE, it was from the same IP address and within a short timeframe.
58. On information and belief, "Gary Leclerc" is Gouldsmith.
Falsehoods regarding 'shutting down' fan forum.
59. Gouldsmith misrepresented to the membership of CTE that Scholz forced the fan forum to shut down:
a. On or about February 6, 2009, Gouldsmith posted on CTE that: "I have decided it would be best to just close CTE (probably this Monday)...."
b. On or about February 9,2009, however, Gouldsmith posted or caused to be posted the following on CTE: "This group was closed on 2/9/2009 per the encouragement of Mr. Scholz's lawyers."
c. Also on or about February 9, 2009, Gouldsmith wrote on CTE:
I am very saddened how things are being forced to a close by Tom's rotating parade of lawyers. ... Others will be also sadden [sic], realizing Boston fans no longer have a voice, ' ..
Speak freely & Rock on, George A. Gouldsmith.
60. George contacted various media outlets to further publicize his misrepresentation that Scholz had forced CTE to shut down:
a. On or about February 8, 2009, posing as Gary Leclerc, Gouldsmith posted on CTE:
... i have been getting a few newspapers and websites request more information. i know george does not want his name in articles but does want people to know what has been going on. while some of you may believe this is small potatoes, one of the newspapers was the 'new york times'. we will see what occurs next. mr scholz may have underestimated his fans."
b. On February 9, 2009, again posing as Gary Leclerc, Gouldsmith sent or caused to be sent the following email from the email address [CENCORED] to various media outlets:
Tom Scholz, of the band BOSTON, is forcing a small fan board (less than 20 members) to close: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/CoolTheEngines/
Apparently, Tom Scholz does not like the dtcussions [sic] on the board which included his treatment of the prior/current band members, the poor sales of BOSTON's last album "Corporate America", Tom's age and health, Tom's wife Kim monitoring all the BOSTON fan boards, Tom and Kimberley Dahme's past relationship, BOSTON not appearing on the Brad Delp tribute DVD, etc. Even though this group was private and by invitation only, discussions were still communicationed[sic] to Mr. Scholz.
c. These media outlets included, inter alia, The Boston Globe/Boston.com, and www.classicrockrevisited.com (a unique community of classic rock aficionados who have been longtime supporters of Scholz and BOSTON).
d. On or about February 9, 2009, Gouldsmith, posing as Gary Leclerc, posted on CTE: "we have confirmed that there will be a short article about cte's closure in the boston globe. start checking tomorrow."
February 10, 2009, Boston Globe article.
61. On February 10, 2009, in its "Names and Faces" column, The Boston Globe (and its website Boston.com) published the following:
Banned by Boston
No good deed goes unpunished, Just ask George Gouldsmith, The LA-based IT manager has been a big fan of the band Boston since "More Than a Feeling" ruled the radio in the '70s, In 2005, Gouldsmith started a Yahoo message board called "Boston Rocks," but he bagged it last year after the site's members began squabbling and Boston mastermind Tom Scholz took exception to some of the posts, So Gouldsmith created another Boston fan board called "CoolTheEngines." But before long, the members were at it again, badmouthing Scholz for his treatment of late singer Brad Delp and other former band members, The result? Scholz and wife Kim enlisted Burns & Levinson attorney Lawrence Green to send Gouldsmith a cease and desist letter. [ ...] [Underlining added].
62, It is untrue that Scholz or anyone on his behalf stated that he took exception to some of the posts,
63, It is untrue that the members of CTE were badmouthing Scholz for his treatment of Brad Delp and other former band members, or that the Scholzes sent the cease and desist letter for this reason or stated anything in the letter so indicating,
64. The members of CTE had no firsthand knowledge of the relationship between Scholz and Delp, and their comments on CTE concerning any treatment of Delp by Scholz were in response to false allegations made by Gouldsmith himself, not in response to any actual mistreatment.
65. The Scholzes had the letter sent because Gouldsmith himself was stating numerous and varies false statements about them, many of which are detailed above. The Scholzes' letter was directed at no one except Gouldsmith.
Extensive republication of the February 10. 2009. Boston Globe article.
66. On February 9, 2009, Blabbermouth.net (a website with daily updates of heavy metal and hard rock news and reviews) picked up the Globe story with the headline: "BOSTON Mastermind Threatens Legal Action Against Fan Message Board" (Although the Globe story first appeared in the newspaper on February 10, 2009, it was available online at Boston.com the evening before.)
67. On February 10, 2009, Rolling Stone picked up the story and put the following on its website:
Boston's Tom Scholz has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the administrator of Boston fan message board CoolTheEngines after boarders railed against Scholz's treatment of late Boston singer Brad Delp, the Boston Globe reports." [Emphasis added].
68. Gouldsmith's statements to the press and the wide republication of those statements wrongly and unfairly state Or imply that Scholz mistreated Delp, and that fans were upset over this alleged treatment. In fact, Scholz did not mistreat Delp and the fans were responding to Gouldsmith's untrue allegations that Scholz had mistreated Delp.
69. On February 11, 2009, the website www.antimusic.com picked up the story, stating:
"Boston Leader Vs. Fans"
Being a Boston fan can be more than feeling. It can lead to litigation! According to Boston.com, no good deed goes unpunished at least in the world of Tom Scholz. [...]
70. Gouldsmith's statements to the press and the wide republication of those statements wrongly and unfairly state or imply that Scholz takes action against fans who criticize him or BOSTON. That is not true. Fans and others are free to express opinions about Scholz and BOSTON, but they do not have the right to repeatedly publish lies.
Scholz v. Gouldsmith
25. Scholz repeats and realleges herein all the foregoing paragraphs.
26. As set forth above, Gouldsmith made defamatory statements, orally and in writing, regarding Scholz and caused them to be published to third parties.
27. All of Gouldsmith's defamatory statements against Scholz were published with knowledge that they were false or with a reckless disregard of their falsity.
28. As a result of Gouldsmith's defamatory statements, Scholz was exposed to public hatred, ridicule, and/or contempt by a considerable and respectable class in the community.
29. As a result of Gouldsmith's defamatory statements, Scholz's reputation was harmed so as to lower him in the estimation of the community and/or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him.
30. As a result of Gouldsmith's actions, Scholz has suffered damage to his reputation and has suffered emotional distress damages.
Requests for Relief
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Donald Thomas Scholz ask this Honorable Court to:
i. Issue an Order of Notice On a hearing for preliminary injunction.
ii. Issue a Preliminary Injunction enjoining Defendant George Gouldsmith and his agents and employees from transferring, secreting, destroying, erasing, deleting, or altering any evidence in this action, including but not limited to his computers and hand-held devices (and those of his employer or other third parties from which he sent any communications complained of in or concerning the allegations in this complaint) and any or all documents and communications that are the subject of this Complaint or that otherwise refer to Donald Thomas Scholz (a/k/a/ Tom Scholz), Kim Scholz, Brad Delp, and/or BOSTON, including but not limited to any and all documents and communications maintained on any business or personal computer or electronic file in their possession, custody, or control, maintained or sent under any name Or alias, and ordering them to preserve all such computers, hand-held devices, documents, and communications.
iii. Under Count I, enter judgment in favor of Scholz and against Gouldsmith, and award Scholz his damages for harm to reputation and for emotional distress and for all special damages proven;
iv. Award Scholz his costs and attorneys' fees reasonably incurred in pursuing these claims; and
v. Grant Scholz any other relief which this Court deems appropriate.
Plaintiff Donald Thomas Scholz hereby requests a trial by jury on all claims and issues so triable.
I, DONALD THOMAS SCHOLZ, have read the foregoing complaint and hereby declare the allegations therein to be true based upon my personal knowledge and/or upon information which I believe to be true.
Signed under the pains and penalties of perjury this 27th day of March 2009.
DONALD THOMAS SCHOLZ
DONALD THOMAS SCHOLZ,
By his counsel,
Lawrence G. Green
BBO No, 209060
Susan E. Stenger
BBO No. 555552
BURNS & LEVINSON LLP
125 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02110