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January 2004 Vol. 19, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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PADI Takes on Website

from the January, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In 2001, the scuba website Diverlink (http://diverlink.com) ran a couple of essays that compared PADI's training standards to NAUI and YMCA. While stating that "All three agencies have room to improve," the site was particularly critical of PADI, offering opinions like: "If you want to learn to be a good diver as opposed to just being certified to be a diver, then most responsible divers would suggest getting trained by the higher standards that agencies like the YMCA and NAUI have maintained over the years."

PADI objected to that and other statements on the site as "full of inaccuracies, half-truths, and outright misrepresentations regarding PADI's business, instructional materials, instructional methods, and policies," eventually suing Diverlink for defamation.

Diverlink countered that it was protected by a unique California law prohibiting suits brought to silence legitimate public debate by using the legal system for intimidation. According to court documents, in November a California federal judge granted Diverlink's motion to strike PADI's complaint, awarding Diverlink, as the prevailing party, $196,000 in attorney's fees and costs.

Diverlink attorney Dotty Vidal of Dallas told Undercurrent that PADI has appealed the California ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (last stop before the U.S. Supreme Court), and the matter probably won't be decided until fall or winter 2004. PADI public relations and legal executives did not reply to Undercurrent inquiries regarding this case.

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