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December 7, 2001
To: ITeam@FoxInc.com
Subject: Taubman and the new Shops At Willow Bend mall...

Dear ITeam,

As a Dallas community resident I believe it is up to each of us to keep an eye on Texas. Things that may affect one individual may eventually affect many individuals. Such is the reason I am emailing this note to you.

During some recent travels within the Metroplex I noticed a new shopping mall being built in Plano. As it turns out, this new mall is known as Shops At Willow Bend and is owned by Taubman Centers (http://www.taubman.com/) which is a Michigan-based corporation. This company was founded by Alfred Taubman, Sotheby's former chairman. Yes, this is the same person who was recently found guilty in the commission-fixing scandal of the art-selling industry.

Anyway, in looking around on the web to find out what sort of stores this new mall would have I ran across a very nice website (http://www.shopsatwillowbend.com/) which was operated by Hank Mishkoff in Carrollton. The site was very well structured and very informative about what the mall was going to be about. Later, when I tried to go back to it, it wasn't there. I've since learned that Taubman Centers, via their law firm, has managed to get that site closed down saying that the URL violated their client's trademarks. While this has not actually been ruled on yet, the preliminary injunction forced the site to be closed.

The law firm and Taubman, are in Michigan, and they're suing Mishkoff in a Michigan court over a website that was homed and based in Dallas and provided information about a mall that will be here in Dallas. I'm no lawyer, but rather than ask him to remove it, they threatened lawsuit and filed with a Michigan judge before anyone could do anything about it. Wisely or unwisely as it may be, Mishkoff is defending himself in this case because he can t afford to hire his own lawyer, and since he's a significant distance away from the actual court, traveling regularly to that location is not likely to be within his means.

In response to the injunction, and to continue to keep the Dallas residents informed about the lawsuit and the future of his information site, he created www.taubmansucks.com which, by looking at the "sucks.com" registrations, is not an uncommon action. That website has been providing information on the court case, what motions have been filed, etc. It has since turned into a debacle of a lawsuit that has nothing to do with the original complaint of the trademark violation. At this time, the lawyers have been able to shut down all means by which Mr. Mishkoff was keeping his fellow residents informed.

So in the end what you have is a Dallas resident who was trying to help his community by providing information about a new mall being built near Plano but is now being sued in a Michigan court by a Michigan company with Michigan lawyers over a website that no longer exists. Something doesn't seem right here.

I am not involved with, nor do I personally know, Hank Mishkoff or Taubman Centers. I am simply a Dallas resident (Lewisville actually) who is watching a Michigan company pick on, and attempt to silence, one of my Dallas neighbors. Perhaps the ITeam can help.

    -- Bill Pogue

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