A Bradenton homeowner embroiled in a legal battle with one of the nation's largest home builders, KB Home, now has a lawyer and is fighting back.
Andy Smith says his website, www.thekbhome.com, is a place where homeowners can vent and view news stories about shoddy KB Home construction. He says the pressure worked because KB is now spending millions to fix the Willowbrook condos, where he lives. Leaks and mold were so bad in Willowbrook that the county health department cited dozens of balconies unsafe. Some balconies actually fell off.
Related content: KB homeowners say builder won't fix their homes
In October, KB sued Smith in federal court and said it wants the website down. KB says it's a trademark infringement and confuses potential customers.
Related content: KB Home sues homeowners in federal court
Smith has refused to take down the site and now, lawyer Paul Levy, of Washington D.C.-based Public Citizen has agreed to represent Smith.
"KB Home doesn't like what's being said on the website and they're entitled not to like it," Levy said. "If they think there's something false, they should sue for defamation. What they can't do is say, "oh you can't use our name because it's Trademarked," because trademark law doesn't prevent someone from telling the truth. And the truth in this case is that the website is about KB Home."
Levy's firm defends citizen in legal battles with corporations. His fees are covered by public donations. Levy has asked a judge to dismiss Kb's case against Smith.
A KB spokeswoman said she had no comment on this story.