While nobody was paying attention last month, the U.S. District Court in Virginia overseeing a lawsuit filed by the former top creative at The Martin Agency against Diet Madison Avenue, some its alleged participants, Adweek and its former reporter was closed.
Judge John A. Gibney tossed the charges against Adweek and reporter Patrick Coffee (now with Business Insider), ruling the court didn’t have jurisdiction over the publication, now part of a Delaware-based company or Coffee, who resides in New York.
The plaintiff, former TMA Chief Creative Officer Joe Alexander, had alleged Coffee and the publication had engaged in a “conspiracy” to defame him, possibly in cahoots with DMA or with people at his former agency, which showed him the door in 2017. (Officially, he resigned.)
He was forced out after a number of widely reported sex harassment allegations were made against him. The allegations first appeared on the DMA site, created in 2017 as an anonymous Instagram account dedicated to outing Adland sex harassers.
The judge said the conspiracy charges amounted to so much poppycock. His actual words on the matter: “The defendants’ behavior amounts to conduct typical of news organizations and their reporters: news-gathering, fact-checking, and publication.”
As for the DMA and alleged participants in the group, Alexander failed to properly serve papers to them within the prescribed time period, probably because he couldn’t find them. When the judge called him on that, he voluntarily dismissed them from the case.
Separately, Alexander is suing his former employer in Virginia state court in Richmond.