This House Protected by Lawyers

Life hasn't been the same for J. Stewart Jackson IV since 1996, when he sold Denver Burglar Alarm, the business his family had run since 1917 ("Who Stole Denver Burglar Alarm?" September 17, 1998).

An effort to start a new company last summer--Jackson Burglar Alarm--has resulted in a lawsuit filed by Ameritech, which bought Denver Burglar Alarm from the company Jackson sold it to. The suit follows a complaint by Ameritech that Jackson's new logo was too much like his old one. The DBA logo, a squat, dark-red shield with yellow trim, has been around since 1952, and when Ameritech bought the company in 1997, it received the rights to the logo as well. Jackson's JBA shield was a close knockoff: Both were the same size, with virtually the same colors, and featured the same layout. Both logos even state the founding of their companies: "Established--1892."

Jackson says that Ameritech's trademark on the DBA logo had expired before he unveiled the near-duplicate JBA logo. But when Ameritech ordered Jackson to change his logo, he complied and issued a modified shield design that was more elongated and featured different type and a different layout. That design remains as the company's logo.

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Despite the changes, last November Ameritech filed a lawsuit against JBA in U.S. District Court. In its complaint, Ameritech argued that the new design remained "confusingly similar" to the original. The suit also alleges defamation and interference with contractual relations.

Jackson's attorneys filed a counterclaim alleging that Ameritech's suit was designed solely to impede competition with JBA. "He started a new company that may prove to be a substantial competitor," says Mark Macy, Jackson's attorney. Jackson, however, believes the suit is more about the defamation charge, which stems from a series of ads JBA has run in a daily newspaper since last June. Many of the ads accuse SecurityLink, Ameritech's security division, of bad service. If the ads went away, the suit would as well, Jackson says. "My lawyers say that means [SecurityLink] wants me to quit advertising. That's the bottom line."

One of Jackson's regular ads claims that a "major retailer" experienced an armed holdup and SecurityLink failed to call the police; and when a "major shopping center" experienced a serious water-flow problem from a fire-alarm sprinkler system, SecurityLink did not call the fire department. Another ad accuses SecurityLink's service of deteriorating "past the point of being absolutely unacceptable" and that more than 1,000 disgruntled customers had called Jackson to complain.

In its suit, attorneys representing Ameritech claimed that these ads were "false and defamatory and...part of a campaign by the defendant to harm plaintiff's reputation."

The two companies are also squabbling over whether JBA is illegally stealing customers from Ameritech. Jackson estimates that about 450 customers have switched from SecurityLink to JBA. SecurityLink believes that at least thirty of those were switched illegally and estimates the value of the resulting lost accounts at $25,000. One JBA employee actually did provide six or seven SecurityLink customers with form letters that terminated their contracts with SecurityLink at the customers' requests.

"Once we found out, we stepped on her head," Jackson says of the employee in question. "She's not here anymore." Other than that, Jackson says, unhappy SecurityLink customers have contacted JBA first, not the other way around. "Our position is, customers of SecurityLink have made the decision to leave the company because they were unhappy with the service," Macy adds. "It's up to customers to make a decision whether they're dissatisfied."

JBA has also fired back its own charge of interference against DBA. In Jackson's affidavit, he claims that Ameritech employees have been harassing JBA customers, threatening to come by and rip out their security systems. He also says that Ameritech has threatened current JBA customers who have contract disputes with SecurityLink to pay up or be sued. "It's harassment," Jackson says. "From a public-relations point of view, it's a disaster to treat people that way."

No trial date has been set.
--T.R. Witcher

Squashing a Black Widow
Ever since she'd been arrested and charged with paying a fellow barfly $10,000 to kill her ex-husband in the tiny plains town of Haswell, Colorado, Cynthia Phillips's friends and family had proclaimed her innocence ("Love on the Rocks," October 22, 1998). A jury didn't buy her story, however, and two weeks ago she was sentenced to 24 years in prison, the maximum penalty possible for solicitation to commit murder.

Phillips, a loud-dressing blonde, was a colorful arrival to tiny Haswell, a speed-bump of a town midway between Eads and Ordway. Soon after moving there with her husband and buying a meat-processing business in 1994, she began frequenting Opal's Pub in Lamar. It was there that she met a man named Toby Mathews, who would become her lover; she also made friends with a bouncer named Billy Michael "Bear" Slaughter. In June 1995 she paid Slaughter $10,000 to kill her husband.

Slaughter took the money and ran, though, and Ron Phillips was never harmed. Ron and Cynthia later divorced. In fact, the whole episode might have passed unnoticed if it hadn't been for Mathews's murder in Corsicana, Texas, three years later; he was gunned down outside his car on April 14, 1998. When word of the shooting reached Opal's Pub, friends of his went to the police with the Haswell murder-for-hire story. Tracked down in Indiana, Bear Slaughter agreed to testify that Phillips had paid him to kill her husband.

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3 comments
megscoffeecorner
megscoffeecorner

who's the 1 person listening? Don't you have anything to say?

 

megscoffeecorner
megscoffeecorner

I'm still waiting for a response, but all I have to say is this....If a guy was obsessed and wanted a girl, but knew he couldn't have her, at what lengths would he go to insure no one else would either? It's a simple stocking profile in where he views the object of his attention, in this case, Cynthia, He  follows her, learns her life pattern and those closest to her, and plans his moves, slowly to make sure he gets them right. She was a young girl throughout her relationships, not ready for commitment, and in hill billy, red neck towns( no offense, but you know it's true!) was judged harshly for being a cute city dresser!  Really? This was the basis for the defense team. She was a cute hair died, wanna be blonde up to times and a styling  dresser?! Omg! She must be a killer, right? Too many haters out there is all. Too many old fashioned, small town minds that judge anything changing......ever!!!! He couldn't have her, so one by one he eliminated the men who did. And framed her, for murder, and got away with it.  He gave the police, detectives and judge stories they wanted to hear because he was a criminal mastermind, and Knew Cynthia couldn't compete. He threatened her and kept her scared for her daughters safety and it's why she never stood up. If she kept quiet, he wouldn't kill them too. After her arrest, how could he? It would prove she was innocent and he was guilty,, his hands were tied.Now, he is living the high life while poor Cynthia spends her days praying, alone in a cell, with no window. I don't claim to be a psychic, just empathic. I was there once, and for five months I got to know her. She was no killer, just an innocent, uneducated girl who got the short straw! I wish the courts would have done the same investigation I have. They would have found the correct answers. I've been system free for 12 years now, but that cross over, taught me so much. I can tell you, Cynthia AKA Cindy, is innocent! "Bear", is a scandalous conniving thief and murderer in many ways, and he almost got away with it, but I figured him out! Now, the question is, where is  the law? Are they still pursuing  Hypotheticals? What grounds then, do they have on a conviction to take away a life, based on theories?  Cynthia, being a young women, like many others out there, met many young men. She didn't really fall in love with or want to settle down with one man, she was young! You test the waters before you commit to a boat right?! So, she was doing just that when a stalker took over and claimed her as a prize. But, he lost her and won his prize at the same time. He put her in prison for the rest of her life because he couldn't have her is all. Now he can keep tabs on her from the cage and he is moving on to his next target. .I'm finding out what I need to do on the outside, for my friend that is innocent on the inside, all I have to say, is "God" please shine your light. Right is right and I am tired of seeing wrong in place of the truth.

 

 

megscoffeecorner
megscoffeecorner

Our laws as United States citizens are broken. Our constitutional rights have been altered by mere actors telling a grand story that sounds entertaining. As a society we thrive on a good story to captivate us and we forget to look for the facts. If it sounds good, forget investigating, we are sold! SAD!!  Fact is, if the "law" did there research correctly, Cynthia Phillips, wouldn't be a murderer, just a victim of circumstance. What I feel from reading this whole story that makes you think the evidence is all against her, is this.... "BearSlaughters" doesn't the name say enough? Is the guilty party. Ask me why if you care, I will give you answers. He framed her for everything and now he is living the free life! Really?!!!!

 

 
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