Stolen Value: Former Seal Sues Fake Seals Over Selling Seal Experience

Former Navy SEAL Don Shipley is outraged. Barry “Bear” Silverman has been running a business called “Tactical Deterrence” in Broward County that allegedly sells SEAL training by people who falsely claim to be former SEALs. Such profiteering on the SEAL experience should go to . . . well . . . Shipley who runs his own faux SEAL training camp in Virginia. Shipley has filed a lawsuit that is basically Stolen Valor meets Stolen Value on who gets to sell the SEALS.

Shipley runs Extreme SEAL Experience, which pretends to train weekend warriors like SEALs, but not quite. Here is the description of the “hell” to mimic the long-training of a SEAL:

They run more than eight miles, carry a 200-pound log above their heads, get sprayed in the face with cold water and have someone scream in their ear that their “man card” is being taken away because they are “doing push-ups like a girl.”

Wow, so that is what gets you into SEAL Team Six. This article describes who guys in their fifties take their midlife crisis to an absurd point — and give Shipley roughly $2000 for the abuse.

Yet, Shipley is disgusted by the likes of Silverman. He is quoted as saying “There are guys out there who climb ladders at work, based on SEAL credentials they don’t have.” Hmmm.

Shipley is being assisted in this effort by Tampa attorney Gene Odom who is filing other lawsuits of this kind. The lawsuits read like the civil version of the Stolen Valor Act.

Shipley claims Silverman is hurting his business by devaluing the status of being a former SEAL and even claims that Silverman is using the likeness of the SEAL trident without permission. He has filed claims under interfering with a business relationship, violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act and Unauthorized Publication of a Likeness for Advertising Purposes. I have no problem in people being sued for fraudulent representations that they are former SEALS, though it should be the customers not competitors who should sue over such claimed injury. I would applaud such lawsuit from customers and there are criminal fraud charges that can often be brought in such cases.

The lawsuit claims that “[t]he number of new customers has decreased as a result of prospective customers associating the quality of plaintiff’s business with the Defendant’s illegitimate knockoff.” That is a pretty speculative claim. It may be that people are realizing that all of these camps are cheap “knockoffs.” It reminds me of Disney’s proposal to have a theme park where visitors “experience slavery” by going into a field briefly while white men yell at them.

Odom argues that, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in the Stolen Valor Act case this term, he is doing more to protect the value of being a SEAL by helping those who want to market its name and training. He has also filed a questionable defamation lawsuit against William Brockbrader for writing an article titled “More Truth Revealed.” In the article, Brockbrader stated that Extreme SEAL Experience “only pretends to provide actual SEAL instructor training.” Odom reportedly admits that he is using defamation to punish Brockbrader for falsely claiming to be a SEAL. That raises the question of whether this is not a real lawsuit but a cheap knockoff of a lawsuit that devalues all lawyering.

The NAVY has denied that Brockbrader was a SEAL from 1992 and 2000 as well as his claim that there are no records because he worked on classified programs. If true, that would make Brockbrader a terrible person and a liar. However, the claim of defamation is basically an absurd claim that his alleged lie is harming SEALs everywhere in a legally cognizable fashion. I fail to see the good-faith basis for such a claim under defamation.

I confess to an obvious lack of sympathy for Shipley marketing the SEAL experience as a private venture. It certainly brings a new meaning to the SEAL motto “It Pays to be a Winner.”

Source: TBO

24 thoughts on “Stolen Value: Former Seal Sues Fake Seals Over Selling Seal Experience”

  1. Ok mr area 51, I pose a real challenge. I’m just an ordinary scout trained at ft knox ky. No bullshit no secret training. No SEAL training. Just hardened from the actual crucible of war in southern Afghanistan. We should meet. And if your mindcontrol “101” can stop me from stomping a mud whole in your child molesting ass then I will believe you. By the way I’m only 5’8″

    Ask me why I would do this?, Simple. Everytime you open your mouth and make it sound like your the damn secret weapon of our country makes me want to gather up every family member of real fallen heros and have them watch me whip your pathetic ass.

  2. Does the Stolen Valor act apply to the current President, cuase I can’t find anything in the records that he was ever a citizen either. This means the american people can sue his ass for millions too?

  3. Dredd – its easy not to change your position when you never had one to start with. I lived in MN when he was Governor and he stood for nothing except helping Jesse.

    He SAYS a lot of things but he did nothing of value & had no clue.

  4. There sure is a lot of chest thumping for no good reason that I can see. And please don’t go on and on about defending my freedom. We have a president/dictator that has taken away almost all the freedoms of the American people and I haven’t heard a peep out of any of the chest thumpers. The US hasn’t been attacked in over 60 years and most of those soldiers are now dead. The rest have been led to believe they have been defending the USA and all they’ve been defending is the elite’s agenda to kill for money. Some are waking up. Most aren’t. It’s all about greed. Grow up and accept that. The rest of us are.

  5. Bill, this page is not pulling up that I can find. Glad you’re ok; hadn’t heard a peep out of you since 3/1/12, was worried. More interviews, please!

    I really don’t give a flip what Jesse Ventura was. I admire what he is. He is out there and he’s trying to get information out to people, and I don’t know if I have ever seen him back down. He was also a governor, or do you think he was lying about that too?

    I admire the spirit of people like Bill Brockbrader, Jesse Ventura and Ron Paul, who are out there walking the walk and risking their lives every day. Godspeed to you Bill!

  6. Frankly said “When he was in he was a frogman, which at the time meant he took the SEAL training.”

    Jesse Ventura’s rate in the Navy was Storekeeper Third Class.

  7. the students of this faux seal training should have known something was wrong when they got extra fish for balancing a ball on their nose.

    p.s. when ventura was in the navy they were called UDT (underwater demolitions team). frogmen are from “the creature from the black lagoon”

  8. Speaking of borrowed glory—
    Had former “collegue” from Hickam AFB in Hawaii, who had snitched his ID from there, and was running around Bangkok in ’65 flashing it and saying he was CIA. How naive. CIA doesn’t advertize in public.

  9. Frankly 1, March 22, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Jesse “The Boobie” Ventura says a lot of things but he never was a real SEAL. When he was in he was a frogman, which at the time meant he took the SEAL training. Because of the high casualty rates any frogman that wanted to would have immediately been made a SEAL at his own request. Because Frogs rarely if ever went in against armed opposition and SEAL almost always did 34 SEALs died in Viet Nam for every frogman . . . 34:1

    I do not blame him for not stepping up, why would a sane man take that risk? But I blame him greatly for pretending he did. He is a giant phoney, in his personal life, in his career as a “wrestler” and in his political life. There is not a single thing about him to admire.
    =================================
    I don’t admire. I like or dislike.

    34:1 … sounds like the froggies are harder to kill …

    Anyway, another Etch A Sketch Seal of approval I suppose.

    Holier than thou, Sealer than thou!, exceptionaler than thou.

    Don’t misunderstand me now, I likey.

  10. Jesse “The Boobie” Ventura says a lot of things but he never was a real SEAL. When he was in he was a frogman, which at the time meant he took the SEAL training. Because of the high casualty rates any frogman that wanted to would have immediately been made a SEAL at his own request. Because Frogs rarely if ever went in against armed opposition and SEAL almost always did 34 SEALs died in Viet Nam for every frogman . . . 34:1

    I do not blame him for not stepping up, why would a sane man take that risk? But I blame him greatly for pretending he did. He is a giant phoney, in his personal life, in his career as a “wrestler” and in his political life. There is not a single thing about him to admire.

  11. rafflaw 1, March 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

    This isn’t about outrage that someone else is lying about being a Seal. This is about the almighty Dollar. Sad on both parties part.
    ==============================================
    I guess a subtitle could be “Seal The Deal” …

  12. This isn’t about outrage that someone else is lying about being a Seal. This is about the almighty Dollar. Sad on both parties part.

  13. “They run more than eight miles, carry a 200-pound log above their heads, get sprayed in the face with cold water and have someone scream in their ear that their “man card” is being taken away because they are “doing push-ups like a girl.”

    Wow, so that is what gets you into SEAL Team Six. This article describes who guys in their fifties take their midlife crisis to an absurd point — and give Shipley roughly $2000 for the abuse.”

    Give me a thousand bucks and I will give them more abuse than that.

    People pay money for that type of thing?

    What is wrong with some men.

    Drum circle anyone?

  14. The clowns who run around thumping their chests proclaiming “I was a Navy SEAL” real or otherwise are all hurting the image of the SEALS. One of the easiest ways to spot a phoney is if I WAS A SEAL comes up in conversation without prompting or provocation. The few that do this that actually were probably need some help from the VA. The fakes need to be identified and laughed at.

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