Property owners Michael Glassic and Noreen Gorka filed a Dragonetti action (Malicious Prosecution) against the Stillwater Lakes Civic Association and the law firm representing them, Young and Haros LLP, & their individual attorneys Nicholas Haros & Gregory Malaska, for filing a frivolous lawsuit, claiming seven (7) violations of the Lanham Act against the Plaintiffs including Trade Name Infringement, Cyber Squatting, Pennsylvania Anti-Dilution of Trade Name, Misappropriation of Corporate Name, Unfair Competition, Common Law Trade Name Infringement, and Anti-Dilution of Trade.
The lawsuit was filed without any reasonable basis, probable cause, or pre-filing investigation, but rather was commenced and/or continued against the Plaintiffs in an effort to harm and harass them for a website Glassic created that was critical of Stillwater Lakes Civic Association, and because Glassic filed complaints with the FBI and Attorney General against the Association and their management company. Gorka, having no ownership of the website, was named so that the association could attempt to take the couple's house.
The lawsuit was filed because the Association and law firm contended that Glassic's website diluted its mark and created a likelihood of confusion with the goods and services it marketed in commerce. Contrary to these allegations, the Association did not sell or advertise goods or services in commerce nor are homeowners considered consumers. The Association is a property owner's association, which administers the common areas for the Stillwater Lakes and Stillwater Lake Estates developments. As a planned community, the Association, in its administrative capacity, manages the Stillwater Lakes and Stillwater Lake Estates roads, common areas, and recreational facilities and performs other responsibilities described in its By-Laws and the Uniform Planned Community Act. Thus, its functions do not involve the sale of goods and services in commerce, and its property owners are not consumers because they are required by law to pay their proportionate share of common area expenses.
The Association and its attorneys filed the complaint with false and misleading information in order to deceive the courts into believing that Glassic’s website violated the Lanham Act when in fact it did not. The complaint was filed using screen shots and information that Glassic changed or ceased using weeks and in some instances months before the underlying action was filed in order to make their false and misleading complaint look like it has merits when in fact it did not.