You have to laugh. The whole idea that any food writer might have $4 million dollars…well, you know.
But the lawsuit wasn’t very funny at all to John Mitzewich, except at first, when he thought it was a joke, like the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and George steal a limo.
Mitzewich writes for About.com as the American Food expert. The New York Times owns About.com, a fact that gives Mitzewich excellent press credentials.
A few years ago, Mitzewich accepted an invite to attend Toast to the Coast, a food and wine event in Atlantic City. He took a red-eye to Philadelphia, where a limo driver was supposed to pick him up and drive him to the event. Except when he arrived, he couldn’t find a guy in a uniform holding up a card with his name on it. Instead, Mitzewich found was a guy holding up a card with the name of the managing editor of Wine Enthusiast.
Mitzewich knew that he was the only invitee flying into Philadelphia. Everyone else, including the Wine Enthusiast editor, was flying into New York. So he took the limo, and off they went. Mitzewich wrote a nice story about the event, and everyone seemed happy.
Mitzewich, also a video blogger on You Tube and on his own blog, Food Wishes, filmed the limo driver and the limo with a good-natured voiceover, and put the video on his blog. (Don’t look for it because it’s no longer there.)
Soon afterwards, Mitzewich received a letter from the limo company, alleging he stole the limo and asking him to pay $385 for the ride, plus $4 million for defamation of character, interference with the limo contract, and invasion of privacy. He took down the video.
Two years later, after hiring an attorney, Mitzewich settled. He had told the limo company, over and over, that he did nothing wrong, and they weren’t ever going to get a dime. And they didn’t. So here’s what they agreed to: Mitzewich will run an ad for the limo company on his blog for six months. So far, the limo company has not sent the materials.