Plaintiffs, Huffington trade barbs after judge refuses to dismiss HuffPo ownership lawsuit

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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This week a judge in New York ruled that one key claim in an ownership lawsuit from two former staffers for Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign could proceed against Arianna Huffington and the Huffington Post.

Peter Daou and James Boyce claim that following the 2004 election, they collaborated with Huffington to lay the groundwork for The Huffington Post. Huffington, they say, later dismissed them and replaced them with conservative Web entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart.

According to the ruling isued Tuesday by New York Supreme Court Judge Charles Ramos, the suit filed by Peter Daou and James Boyce was allowed to proceed because “factual assertions establish that the misappropriate [stolen] ideas were both novel and concrete.” Meeting that standard qualifies the claims to be heard in New York. However, Ramos dismissed other claims, includin breach of contract, fraud and unjust enrichment.

In response to the ruling, Huffington Post spokesman Mario Ruiz the told Jeff Roberts of Paid Content in a statement that “Seven out of the eight claims were thrown out. To describe this as any kind of victory is as laughable as their lawsuit.”

Partha Chattoraj, the attorney for Daou and Boyce, fired back with his own statement.

“Arianna Huffington and [Huffington Post co-founder] Ken Lerer may say that they find ‘laughable’ the court’s decision to uphold our claim that they stole my clients’ ideas for the Huffington Post, but we are gratified to have the opportunity to bring the truth to light.”

A February Vanity Fair story chronicled the whole ordeal, likening it to a “kind of gossipy soap opera among onetime friends.”