Couple express displeasure by allegedly sending thousands of e-mails

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) -- Three securities firms have sued a couple who allegedly expressed their displeasure with the companies by bombarding them with thousands of e-mails and voice messages.

The lawsuits say Neil and Penelope Wotherspoon flooded the companies with 80,000 e-mail and countless voice messages in March alone.

The firms -- Prudential Securities Inc., Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp. -- say the correspondence has clogged their computers, and they're asking the court to order the couple to stop.

Neil Wotherspoon, an engineering professor at New York City Technical College, could not be reached at his office for comment Wednesday and the couple's home telephone number in Brooklyn is unlisted.

According to the lawsuits, the Wotherspoons allege their money was stolen from investment accounts by employees at the three firms.

In one case cited in the lawsuits, the couple claimed they had been robbed of more than $1 million. Court papers, however, allege that their accounts never contained more than about $26,000.

In e-mails and letters included in court papers filed this week in Manhattan's State Supreme Court, the Wotherspoons refer to securities employees as ''larcenous,'' ''lying'' and ''goons.''

The firms tried to block the electronic missives. However, the couple were able to detect the blocks and avoided them by changing their e-mail address as many as five times a week, court papers say.

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