Class A motorhome and fifth-wheel manufacturer Alfa Leisure Inc., Chino, Calif., and RV Consumer Group (RVCG) have reached an out-of-court settlement of the trade libel and defamation suit that Alfa Leisure filed against the nonprofit, membership dues-supported organization earlier this year.
“The parties are pleased that they have been able to resolve their misunderstanding amicably through the posting of this press release,” said Mark Schwartz, a spokesman for Alfa Leisure.
Alfa Leisure sued Quilcene, Wash.-based RVCG in San Bernardino (Calif.) Superior Court over certain comments made by Margo Crawford, a disgruntled Alfa Leisure customer, that RVCG posted on the “Court of Public Opinion” portion of its website.
The lawsuit arose over language on RVCG’s website that RVCG “will determine the validity of the issues” presented in complaints posted in the Court of Public Opinion and that it would be “diligent in attempting to verify the accuracy of the claims.”
Alfa Leisure interpreted that language to mean RVCG researched and verified that the claims had merit prior to actually posting them on its website, and, thereby, had adopted and accepted the conclusions contained in the complaints posted on the Court of Public Opinion,” Schwartz said.
RVCG spokeswoman Connie Gallant replied that, “The Court of Public Opinion is intended to be a forum for consumers seeking resolutions to complaints they have against RV manufacturers or dealers. Before posting Ms. Crawford’s complaint on the Court of Public Opinion, RVCG required, consistent with its policy, that she provide such items as correspondence, receipts and photos to demonstrate a good-faith effort to resolve the dispute with Alfa Leisure and to support the allegations contained in her complaint. Also pursuant to its policy, RVCG notified Alfa Leisure of the complaint after the complaint had been posted, and, at that time, RVCG provided Alfa Leisure with an opportunity to respond to Ms. Crawford’s allegations.”
RVCG has made no determination that Alfa Leisure bears legal responsibility for the allegations in Ms. Crawford’s complaint nor has it verified the complaint other than following its standard policy, Gallant said.