As promised, here is an update on our legal battle with Proper Media and its principals, Chris Richmond and Drew Schoentrup — a battle that has severely hindered the operations of Snopes.com for over two years now and still very much poses an existential threat to our fact-checking efforts.
Legal expenses consumed a substantial portion of Snopes’ entire budget in 2018, and those expenses will grow as we head to trial later this year. Recently, the opposition has even expanded their litigation by suing us over this very GoFundMe campaign. It is heartbreaking to think how much more Snopes could have accomplished over the last two years if we had not been forced to exhaust so much of our resources in court.
Fortunately, with your help we have prevailed in many critical aspects of this case that have been adjudicated so far, and we remain very optimistic of an overall victory. But the fight isn’t over yet — we need to obtain a final verdict and recoup damages suffered.
The future of Snopes depends on our ability to continue fighting, and for that we must turn to you once again. Please help us reach our goal so we can continue to seek justice in court.
The funds raised from this effort will be used to pay operating expenses so we can continue our mission without disruption, and to cover legal fees for both Snopes Media Group and Snopes employees.
Thank you for your continued support,
Keep Up with the Case
If you would like to keep up with the case, you can view the public records by visiting the San Diego’s registrar of actions using court number 37, year 2017, and case number 00016311. For your convenience, we have summarized notable updates below and have provided a link to our latest cross-complaint against Proper Media, Publife, Drew Schoentrup, Chris Richmond, and Tyler Dunn, which includes the following causes of action (PDF ):
– Breach of Contract
– Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
– Violation of the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act
– Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage
– Violation of Penal Code § 496
– Breach of Fiduciary Duty
– Aiding and Abetting
– Fraudulent Conveyance
– Violations of California Business & Professions Code Sections 17200 et seq.
Snopes Media Group’s (SMG) executive management team has also individually filed cross-complaints against Proper Media and its principals. David Mikkelson’s latest complaint can be viewed here , and Vinny Green and Ryan Miller’s latest complaint can be viewed here .
The following are among the material matters that have occurred or been decided in the case thus far, with the most recent updates appearing first. These victories would not have been possible without your support.
On 20 May 2019, the Superior Court denied Drew Schoentrup and Christopher Richmond’s request for a preliminary injunction that would have compelled SMG to stop advancing the legal fees of Snopes employees involved in this litigation. (PDF )
On 8 May 2019 the Superior Court granted David Mikkelson’s Motion for Summary Judgment, holding that a contract between Drew Schoentrup/Chris Richmond and a former SMG co-owner was unlawful, thus granting a request for a judicial declaration that Drew Schoentrup/Chris Richmond do not have any rights to a disputed percentage of SMG shares. (PDF )
On 14 January 2019, the opposition’s cause of action seeking an involuntary dissolution of SMG was dismissed. (PDF )
On 5 June 2018, the Superior Court granted SMG’s application for an Order to Show Cause regarding contempt against Drew Schoentrup and Proper Media over their continued failure to comply with the 22 August 2017 preliminary injunction granted in favor of SMG, as described below. (PDF )
On 26 April 2018, SMG filed an ex parte application for an order to show cause regarding contempt against Drew Schoentrup and Proper Media. (PDF )
On 22 February 2018, the Superior Court entered a judgment in favor of Snopes CEO David Mikkelson, dismissing all causes of action brought against him by Proper Media. (PDF )
On 15 February 2018, the Superior Court ruled that Proper Media is not an SMG shareholder, and upheld the appointment of Brad Westbrook to SMG’s board of directors. (PDF )
On 18 October 2017, we successfully migrated Snopes.com to a new hosting provider and regained control of our advertising revenue stream.
On 22 August 2017, the Superior Court granted our request for a preliminary injunction against Proper Media and its principals ordering Proper Media to transfer the hosting of the Snopes.com website back to SMG’s control and to cease withholding funds from SMG. On the same day, the court denied Proper Media’s request for an order that would have forced SMG to continue a business relationship with Proper Media, and denied Proper Media’s request to remove David Mikkelson from SMG’s board of directors. (PDF )
On 12 July 2017, the Superior Court granted our request for a Temporary Restraining Order in favor of SMG and against Proper Media. (PDF )
These updates are made as of 4 June 2019, and are intended to reflect the status of our ongoing litigation and fundraising efforts as of that date alone.