Specialty Publications Sued Over Unsolicited Mail Advertising

Joanne Cachapero
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee man has filed suit on behalf of his under-aged daughter and himself, in U.S. District Court against gay publisher Specialty Publications, alleging that he received unsolicited mail advertising that contained sexually explicit material without required warnings on the outside of the envelope.

Apparently, on May 28, an envelope addressed to Kent Blackwelder was inadvertently opened by his 12-year old daughter, who said she was tempted by the promise of a “free DVD” on the outside of the envelope.

Once opened, the girl discovered an offer to receive a TitanMen “Farm Fresh” adult DVD with paid subscription to adult publication Freshmen Magazine.

Blackwelder is asking for $350,000 in compensatory damages and another $3.5 million in punitive damages, alleging that negligence by Specialty Publications has caused “great pain of body and mind and emotional stress, including shock, horror, humiliation and embarrassment as well as anxiety" to himself and his family.

The suit was filed on Oct. 29 and is currently in litigation.

U.S. Postal Service regulations state that “in the right portion below the postage stamp and above the addressee designation, there must be placed ‘Sexually Oriented Ad,’” on mailings contain adult material.

Blackwelder’s attorneys, David A. Burkhalter II and Ronald A. Rayson, allege in the suit that no warning was placed on the outside of the envelope. They have also asked that the judge issue an injunction that would require Specialty Publications to mark all envelopes containing advertising materials as such.

Blackwelder has said, also, that he has never done business with Specialty Publications.

It should also be noted that Blackwelder was a one-time contestant on the 2001 season of TV reality show “Big Brother 2.”

Representatives at Specialty Publications were not available for comment.

The company’s attorney Richard Hollow reserved comment, saying only, “Without testing the allegations of the plaintiff, it is impossible to say if they are accurate or inaccurate.”