Last week, I received an odd-looking mail from “Claims Administration Center” ClaimsAdministrationCenter /at/ enotice.info, sent to my private email address — the one listed in an image on http://jmason.org/ (it never gets spam).
The mail reads:
Mittlholtz v . International Medical Research, Inc., Sophie Chen, John Chen, and Allan Wang (“IMR Defendants”), aka Meco, et al. v. IMR, et al., case No. GIC846200.
We are requesting by order of the Court filed with the Superior Court for the County of San Diego, CA, that you post the attached Summary notice as a Public Service Announcement on your web-site.
Below is a link to the PDF Summary Notice (Note: The document is in the .PDF format. To view the documents you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader)
This message was intended for: [email protected] You were added to the system January 17, 2007. For more information please follow the URL below: http://echo.bluehornet.com/subscribe/source.htm?c=…
Follow the URL below to update your preferences or opt-out: http://echo.bluehornet.com/phase2/survey1/survey.htm?CID=…
Googling for GIC846200, I find it on a cached “civil new filed cases index” page at sandiego.courts.ca.gov:
CASE NUMBER FILE DATE CATEGORY LOCATION
GIC846200 04/21/2005 A72120 – Personal Injury (Other) San Diego MECO vs INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL RESEARCH INCORPORATED
So the case exists. I have no idea who either of the parties are, however.
The URLs in the message were all web-bugged; but bluehornet seem legit in general.
The URL http://www.enotice.info/ times out. Seems to have no spam-related Google Groups hits, although there are a lot of discussions about some iffy-looking class-action suit about Google Adsense.
After quite a bit of discomfort and asking around about the reputation of both bluehornet.com and enotice.info, I eventually succumbed and clicked through. The Summary URL above, after logging my click, redirects to this PDF file, which reads:
This case, called Mittleholtz v . International Medical Research, Inc., Sophie Chen, John Chen, and Allan Wang (‘IMR Defendants’), et al., case No. GIC846200, is a class action lawsuit that alleges that the IMR Defendants unlawfully distributed a product containing synthetic chemicals, the presence of which was also concealed from the public as a result of the IMR Defendants’ alleged failure to conduct any testing for adulteration by synthetic chemicals, including but not limited to diethylstilbestrol (DES) and warfarin (or coumadin), which is the active chemical in bloodthinners. Defendants deny the allegations. The Court has not formed any opinions concerning the merits of the lawsuit nor has it ruled for or against the Plaintiffs as to any of their claims. The sole purpose of this notice is to inform you of the lawsuit so that you may make an informed decision as to whether you wish to remain in or opt out of this class action.
You have legal rights and choices in this case. You can:
Join the case. You do not have to do or pay anything to be part of this case. And, you have to accept the final result in the case.
Exclude yourself and file your own lawsuit. If you want your own lawyer, you will have to exclude yourself as set forth below and pay your lawyer’s fees and costs.
Exclude yourself and not sue. If you do not wish to be part of this case and do not want to bring your own lawsuit, please mail a first class letter stating that you want to be excluded from the Mittleholtz v IMR class action (Case No. GIC846200), or you may fill out the letter available at www.gilardi.com/mittleholtzsettlement. Make sure the letter has your full name, address and signature. Mail it to: PC-SPES Litigation, Class Administrator, c/o Gilardi & Co. LLC, P O Box 8060 San Rafael, CA 94912-8060 by March 23, 2007.
*This is only a summary. For complete notice and further information go to: www.gilardi.com/mittleholtzsettlement or call the toll-free number 1-877-800-7853.
So in other words, it’s hand-targeted unsolicited, but probably not bulk, email, flogging a class-action suit about ‘synthetic chemicals’ (presumably as opposed to the ‘organic’ variety). I suspect, given the phrasing in the initial mail, they probably googled for a keyword or company name, and found a hit somewhere in taint.org’s 5 years of archives — hence the PSA request.
In fact, I bet this forwarded story is what they found through Googling. Pity they didn’t include a URL for that!
Does sending legal notices like this through email not seem particularly risky, given the lack of reliability of the medium?
An odd situation, all told…