UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
|THE TAUBMAN COMPANY|
| ||Civil Action No. 01-72987|
| ||Honorable Lawrence P. Zatkoff|
|WEBFEATS and HENRY MISHKOFF,
||Magistrate Judge Komives
AFFIDAVIT OF HENRY MISHKOFF
My name is Henry Mishkoff. I am the main defendant in this action. I make this affidavit in
support of my motion to have the complaint against both defendants dismissed for lack of personal
I live and work in Dallas, Texas. I have lived in the Dallas area for more than 20 years.
Before that, I lived in Hartford, Connecticut; Birmingham, Alabama; and Lubbock, Texas; I also spent
a summer in school in Colorado. I was born and raised in New York City and its suburbs. I have never
lived in Michigan.
I do not own any property in Michigan, I do not do any business in Michigan, and so far as I
am aware I do not have and have never had any investments in Michigan companies.
I work as a computer programmer, database consultant, and website designer. I work under the
name WebFeats, which is not incorporated, and of which I am the sole proprietor. I have my one and
only office in my home. I have no customers in Michigan and do no business there.
This lawsuit has been filed over a website that I created in my spare time to express my
admiration for a shopping mall, The Shops at Willow Bend, that was being built near my home. The
mall is located in Texas. The website was placed on a server in my home in Texas. All of the work
performed to create the website was done in Texas. None of it was done in Michigan.
The website was a completely passive website. There were and are no goods sold on the
website. There was a "mail-to" link on the website whereby viewers could communicate with me, and
also a link to my WebFeats company website. At one time, there was a link to a website maintained by my girlfriend at www.shirtbiz.com for her business of selling shirts (the link is displayed in Exhibit B to the Complaint). That website is also not interactive; there was and is no way for my girlfriend's customers to buy shirts from her over the website. Nor did I earn any revenue by providing that link for my girlfriend (indeed, I do not earn any revenue from the website in any other respect); it was something that I did for her as a favor. However, when I learned that plaintiff objected to the presence of that link on my Shops at Willow Bend website, I removed it immediately.
After I was sued, I decided to register some new domain names, including TaubmanSucks.com and
several variations on ShopsAtWillowBendSucks.com, to tell the story of the litigation that had been
brought against me. Once it became clear that plaintiff was going to pursue this litigation, I
created a new website, which I posted at those addresses. That website republishes the documents
that pertain to the threats of litigation against me, my responses to those threats, and the
documents actually filed in this Court, including the Court's own orders, along with my commentary
on the litigation. The TaubmanSucks.com website is completely noncommercial, and it exists solely
for the purpose of recounting the facts about the litigation and my opinions about the litigation
and the main actors in the litigation. The site is also passive; there are no interactive features,
with the sole exception of a "mail-to" link that allows readers of the site to communicate with me.
I have published a number of the communications that I have thus received on the "feedback" portion
of the website.
Like any website, both my original website and my current "protest" site are theoretically
accessible to any person anywhere in the world (except in those totalitarian countries which
actively censor Internet content and punish people who express forbidden opinions). However, my
original site, about the mall itself, was primarily of interest to persons who were living in Texas
or thinking about visiting Texas. It was of no substantial interest to anybody in Michigan except
the leaders of the Taubman Company and their lawyers who took exception to its existence. And the
impact of the website, if any, was felt in Texas. It is hard for me to imagine any reason why
plaintiff would have sued me in Michigan except for the fact that they know I live and work in Texas
and it would be extremely inconvenient for me to have to defend myself so far from home.
I have to assume that, as the developer of a shopping mall in the Dallas area, plaintiff has
ample contacts with lawyers here and would have suffered no inconvenience had it sued me here. This
is a matter of trying to suppress my free speech by making it too difficult to defend myself. I hope
that the Court will not allow that effort to continue.
I hereby certify under penalty of perjury, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, that the foregoing
is true and correct. Executed on November 12, 2001.