The Microtech/KAI lawsuit drama continues. While Microtech has settled with blogger Anthony Sculimbrene of Everyday Commentary. they have amended their lawsuit against KAI to include allegations that KAI not only disseminated Sculimbrene’s defamatory piece, but that they played an active role in its creation. This comes after they discovered evidence of a closer relationship between Sculimbrene and KAI in their email correspondence which was turned over as part of the Sculimbrene settlement.
Microtech issued a formal statement of explanation to the knife community via their Facebook page Friday.
When, in the course of events it becomes necessary for a knife producer to file a lawsuit against another knife producer, a decent respect for the opinion of the community requires that it should declare the causes which impelled the litigation.
Microtech and Tony Marfione filed a lawsuit on February 10, 2017 against KAI U.S.A. Ltd and its Social Media Manager. The lawsuit seeks damages for the re- publication of a defamatory article written by blogger/ commentator Anthony Sculimbrene. Although KAI was served with the lawsuit papers on February 15, the proceeding remain in the preliminary phase. The Defendants removed the case from the State Court to the Federal Court and filed Motions challenging jurisdiction and whether a cognizable claim has been asserted.
While these Motions were pending, Microtech and Mr. Sculimbrene reached an amicable resolution of the separate lawsuit which had been asserted against him. Through that lawsuit, and as a part of the resolution, Microtech acquired several years of e-mail communication between Anthony Sculimbrene and Thomas Welk, KAI’s Director of Sales & Marketing. This record shows that Welk became Sculimbrene’s handler.
The record of communication between Welk and Sculimbrene has formed the basis of an Amended Complaint now filed in the Federal Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. That amended pleading, with several exhibits from Mr. Sculimbrene’s records, asserts that KAI played an active role in creating the defamatory article and that it was an intended aspect of the product launch for the Kershaw brand “Natrix” knife. Indeed, we believe that the very purpose of the knife was to provide the vehicle for a smear campaign directed at Tony Marfione and Microtech with KAI seeking the concomitant benefits of “victim” status and increased attention.
The Amended Complaint adds a cause of action by Microtech against KAI under the Lanham Act for false advertising and the use of false and misleading statements in commerce.
Microtech and Tony Marfione look forward to the facts being submitted to a candid world.
I am pretty well done in attempting to analyze the legal proceeding itself. It is both beyond my scope of knowledge and it has long-since exhausted my level of interest. However, there was one portion of the above statement that jumped out at me:
” Microtech acquired several years of e-mail communication between Anthony Sculimbrene and Thomas Welk, KAI’s Director of Sales & Marketing. This record shows that Welk became Sculimbrene’s handler.”
Since I do not know any of the parties involved personally, nor have I examined the emails in question, I am not going to render a verdict against Sculimbrene one way or another. I just wanted to take a minute to restate our disclosure policies here at TTAK.
Setting the table, here is some background for those who don’t know the history of TTAK publisher Robert Farago’s blogging career.
When Robert, a car enthusiast, recognized how the automotive media had become completely beholden to the car companies, he decided to found The Truth About Cars. Several years later, he sold this site and founded The Truth About Guns. He did so for many of the same reasons (case and point American Rifleman won’t publish negative reviews). In 2013, The Truth About Knives spun off of the Mothership, and I took the reins as Managing Editor in 2014.
As Editor, I try to conduct myself with the same spirit of independence that has made TTAG so successful. Part of that effort is that we try to be up front about our relationships and biases as we can possibly be.
We always disclose how a knife came into our possession, be it a loaner, a gift, or a personal purchase.
It becomes a bit more difficult when it comes to personal relationships, such as the friendships we have developed with knife designers and makers. Again, sunlight is the best antiseptic. I make no secret that I lunch regularly with Ethan Becker, and have visited him at his house on multiple occasions. I am fond of Doug Ritter, and am quite open that TTAK supports Knife Rights and the important civil-rights work that they do. I have taken Allen Elishewitz fishing, and am on the way to feeling comfortable calling him a friend. There are many others as well, as all of us do our best to disclose these relationships when we feel our readers should be aware of them.
We at TTAK do not have, nor will we ever have a “handler”.
If you, our readers, see unwarranted bias creeping into our writing, we actively encourage you all to call us to account.
Thank you for reading.