*This is an opinion blog*
The case in the Bankruptcy Court of the Middle District of Florida indirectly involves Dwight Schar and/or his employees/team who went out of their way to purchase the social media accounts of a Florida journalist who exposed Dwight Schar and the failing community of Bella Collina.
Dwight Schar and/or his team are trying to buy Don Juravin’s family social media accounts in bankruptcy court, which feature his wife and children. Judge Karen Jennemann initially ruled that personal social media accounts featuring the Juravin family can still be sold to Dwight Schar who only wants it to be destroyed. The accounts’ URL could be then somehow hijacked to people associated with Dwight Schar’s company.
Though Dwight Schar is not the front person, the billable legal hours of fighting the journalist and his family are mounting closer to one million dollars. This is an amount that only Dwight Schar himself can authorize or agree to.
It would seem as if the company plans on destroying the family pictures, the humor, and the personal nature of the accounts. The family feels that this is part of the satisfaction of revenge on Don Juravin for revealing the truth about Bella Collina. Even though the Consumer Protection Act of 2016 protects dissatisfied customers from the revenge of the companies they review, Dwight Schar and his team still thwart the act and its message in order to save face.
Dwight Schar Seeks Revenge Using Bankruptcy Court
Judge Jennemann originally allowed “Wilmington Financial Services LLC” (assumed to somehow be controlled by Dwight Schar because Paul Simonson, Dwight Schar’s CPA, is the representative) to purchase the social media accounts of the family. It appears to the family that Dwight Schar wants the social media photos of the Juravin girls and the Juravin family cats removed. It would seem as if he wanted them deleted out of revenge. Will Judge Jennemann allow revenge of the billionaire seeking to destroy and wipe the social media of the Jewish family?
Aldo Bartolone is interested in creating a more human court, instead of one that allows corporations to buy, sell, and destroy personal content or take their family URL. Why on earth would a millionaire want to take the photos of happy, smiling children and destroy them? What good could it do Dwight Schar to purge images of young girls holding their beloved pet cats?
The court should be more interested in justice and fulfilling the law, not allowing rich men and massive companies to do whatever they want with pictures of small children.
Bartolone’s Legal Argument
Aldo Bartolone, the attorney defending the case, wrote that “solely as it pertains to the sale of the Debtor’s personal social media accounts, in that such accounts are not property of the estate.” Bartolone is an Orlando attorney specializing in bankruptcy law. The request “seeks reconsideration of duke the Final Sale Order, or in the alternative, that the Final Sale Order be amended or altered to remove the Debtor’s social media accounts.”
Bartolone writes in the case that, “The issue of whether social media accounts are property of the estate is an issue of first impression in the Middle District of Florida, and nearly every other District in the United States.” Social media accounts are heavily used in the United States by almost every person. These accounts are meant to amplify a user’s voice and allow him to be heard across the internet.
According to Bartolone, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida has held that, under Florida law, an individual does not have a property interest in the “likes” on a Facebook pPage. Mattocks v. Black Entm’t TV LLC, 43 F.Supp.3d 1311 (S.D. Fla. 2014).
Is Dwight Schar Against Free Speech?
Dwight Schar has tried to stifle the voice of the Juravin family online using so far about $700,000 to $1,000,000 in legal billable hours against the family and their criticism of him. Using his freedom of speech, granted to him by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Don Juravin explained his positions online. His family believes that Dwight Schar’s Bella Collina is corrupt, they caused homeowners to lose money, and they engaged in the continuous harassment of the people they were supposed to be serving.
This will not be the first for Dwight Schar, whose businesses have been the subject of scrutiny from the press and from Congress over Ryan Homes and NVR Inc.’s practice of gagging criticism about their houses and communities.
The court in Florida where Dwight Schar’s lawyers have established a running relationship with the judges has dismissed most of the complaints filed by the homeowners. Schar and Randall Greene, his “enforcer,” filed a motion to ban Don Juravin from using the words “mafia-like,” “bully,” and the right to use hashtags online.
Dan Snyder accuses Dwight Schar of similar behavior, of dirty undercover tricks and manipulation that make the owner of the Washington Football Team look like a criminal.
Since hashtags on Twitter gather users and information together, for the purposes of assembly, not only was Don Juravin’s freedom of speech threatened, but also his freedom of assembly as well. Bella Collina does not own a trademark to the hashtags that were banned. In fact, even if they did, Don Juravin is a private citizen, with the ability to have a simple conversation online. The only reason a hashtag would sully the name of Bella Collina would be if Bella Collina already associated with the hashtag. Otherwise, there really would be no point in banning a hashtag with the argument that it is damaging to your ban.
The fight for social media accounts involves the First Amendment or the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. By treating Don Juravin’s family social media accounts as property to be bought and sold, the bankruptcy court and those offering to buy the accounts are treating the right to speech as a flippant measure.
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