Nevada Anti-SLAPP Law Threatened

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In 2013, Nevada enacted an anti-SLAPP law… something all states should have, but only 28 do (and those laws vary in quality). SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation.” It’s basically the type of lawsuit that is filed in order to get people to shut up.

I am no stranger to such suits. I was sued in this fashion by Medifast Inc. (aka Take Shape for Life) in 2010, and it took over five years for me to be dismissed, have the dismissal affirmed, and have the court order Medifast to pay my attorneys’ fees. The whole point of the Medifast lawsuit was to make me stop saying unflattering things about the company. And to scare anyone else who might dare to say bad things about the company…. the cost of litigation is tremendous, and companies like Medifast use the threat of litigation to shut up their critics. Continue reading

Crystal Cox Complaint Dismissed Again

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crystal-cox-compliant-dismissedI realize this is getting repetitive, but it is important for the public to be aware of the activities of vexatious litigant Crystal L. Cox.

Extortionist Crystal Cox has sued a group of defendants in at least ten federal courts (you might call this Cox v. The Internet), with crazed allegations of a massive conspiracy to ruin her life and to steal the iViewIt technology (which was thoroughly litigated years ago).

Cox has already been laughed out of federal district court in Arizona, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, and Pennsylvania. In Nevada, she has had her motions denied and her electronic filing privileges revoked.

But “try, try again” must be Cox’s motto, because she filed (an equally laughable) amended complaint in Arizona. Unsurprisingly, that complaint has been dismissed too. Notable tidbits from the order include: Continue reading

Crystal Cox v. The Internet Dismissed in Eastern District of Wisconsin

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extortionCrystal Cox, extortionist and vexatious litigant, has been slapped down by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. On May 13, 2013, Cox filed a complaint in federal court against me,  and against a bunch of fine people (WIPO, Peter Michaelson, Marc Randazza, Kashmir Hill, Forbes, Kevin Padrick, David Aman, David Carr, New York Times, Jordan Rushie, Jason Jones, and many others).

The incomprehensible complaint in the case of Crystal Cox v. The Internet alleged defamation, civil rights violations, copyright infringement, civil conspiracy, racketeering (RICO), causation and remoteness, duty of care, negligence tort, tampering with a witness, tortious interference with business, anti-trust laws. Crystal Cox took 124 pages to ramble about vast conspiracies involving trillions of dollars and many bad, bad acts by many bad, bad people.

Most notably, Crystal claims that THE INTERNETS DEFAMED HER when they referred to her as an extortionist. Because who could possibly get the idea that Crystal Cox was extorting people when she flooded the internet with defamatory material about them, and then offered to remove the material (reputation management services, people!) for a nominal fee of $2,500 per month into infinity???? Continue reading

mArc RaNdaZza tAkeS bACk His NAmE

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First Amendment lawyer Marc Randazza is amazing. He is truly a “First Amendment Badass.”  Last year, he had an unfortunate incident occur, which proves that no good deed goes unpunished. Marc Randazza briefly agreed to represent “investigative blogger” Crystal Cox in an appeal of the lawsuit against her for defamation of Kevin Padrick and Obsidian Finance.

The problem was that the judge declared that Crystal Cox is not a journalist. First amendment lawyers worried about the effects that decision might have on other bloggers, who might be journalists. Crystal Cox is not a journalist, but is an extortionist. Still, Marc worried about whether this decision could have unintended consequences. Continue reading

Right to Free Speech Wins Again

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Popehat points us to a nice victory by SOCNET in a lawsuit filed by John Giduck, the man who claims he was defamed when a SOCNET user stated that he was fraudulently posing as a Special Forces veteran.

The court granted SOCNET’s motion to dismiss (even with no anti-SLAPP statute in Colorado), saying:

It is this tension that has generated numerous cases addressing the first element of a defamation action, i.e. is the statement defamatory. Not every untrue, uncomplimentary or offensive statement concerning an individual is defamatory. Continue reading

Medifast Lawyers Lie to the Court (Again)

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UPDATE: On February 17, 2010, Medifast Inc. filed suit in US District Court, Southern District of California, alleging defamation, violation of California Corporations Code, and unfair business practices. On March 29, 2011, Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed all of Medifast’s claims against me in her ruling on my anti-SLAPP motion.

In the never-ending saga of Medifast Inc’s $270 million lawsuit against me for defamation related to their Take Shape for Life division (TSFL), the company and its lawyers have repeatedly lied to the court about what I have said, written, and done. Apparently, this is the only way they think they might win their case. Thankfully, the judge saw through their lies and dismissed me from the case under California’s anti-SLAPP legislation.

That hasn’t stopped Medifast from continuing the lies, however. And the company appears to be upset over my writings about the lawsuit. Management and the attorneys have falsely stated that I am writing about this case to get publicity for myself. The truth is that I write about this case to expose the lies and shady litigation procedure employed by the company.

I do not believe a company like Medifast should be allowed to commit these acts in the dark of night. I want to expose management and the attorneys for the liars that they are, so the whole world can see it. Continue reading

Defamation and Statements of Opinion

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A couple of months ago, a ruling on an anti-SLAPP motion in a defamation case against Gawker Media (owner of website Gizmodo) got my attention. Scott Redmond, with his service called Peep Telephony (or Peep Wireless), was upset because Gizmodo posted a negative review of the service. More specifically, Gizmodo called the service a scam, saying that it offers “free” cellular service for phone calls, texts, and data access. A look at Peep’s website produced this criticism:

To be frank, this all sounds like bullshit. In fact, the combination of everything described was so strange, it almost made the company seem like a larger-than-life prank on the tech world. The closest thing to a technical explanation for Peep is this: Continue reading

Crystal Cox, Extortionist? You Decide.

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For the last several days, a variety of bloggers and news outlets have been talking about Crystal Cox and her attempted shakedown of people she has smeared on the internet. If you want the whole sordid story, read this engaging summary of the antics of “altruistic investigative blogger” Crystal Cox.

Poor Crystal Cox has a problem. She used the internet to smear people she perceived as doing wrong. (I have yet to find any actual evidence of wrongdoing, but apparently Crystal thinks if she yells long enough and loud enough, someone will believe her.) Now the internet is fighting back, and shining a light on her shenanigans, and Crystal is none too happy about it. Continue reading

“Investigative Journalist” Crystal Cox Attacks Attorney Kevin D. Padrick

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Attorney Kevin D. Padrick

Attorney Kevin Padrick

I am no stranger to defamation lawsuits for writings on a blog. I have been threatened multiple times for writing my opinions and the facts as I know them about various companies. I have even been wrongly sued, with a judge dismissing me from the case, but not until after substantial legal fees were incurred to defend my good name.

So when it comes to allegations of defamation launched against bloggers, I take the matters seriously. Crystal Cox bills herself as an “investigative journalist,” but has done a whole lot of things that don’t have anything to do with investigation or journalism. Continue reading

Medifast “Take Shape For Life” Lawsuit: Total Vindication for Tracy Coenen in SLAPP Suit

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More than a year ago, Medifast Inc. (NYSE:MED) sued me, my company Sequence Inc, Barry Minkow, his company Fraud Discovery Institute, Robert FitzPatrick, William Lobdell, and an anonymous message board poster for defamation. Barry Minkow and FDI initiated an investigation of the company in 2008, and the rest of us researched the company and contributed our opinions to FDI’s reports on the company and its multi-level marketing division Take Shape For Life (TSFL).

We criticized the company and its MLM business model. We expressed negative opinions about the disclosures Medifast makes about this “business opportunity.” I dared to suggest that Medifast might be a weight loss pyramid scheme.

A year after the first report on the company was released by FDI, Medifast sued us for $270 million, alleging defamation, criminal conspiracy, unfair business practices, and market manipulation. The defendants each filed anti-SLAPP motions, basically saying that Medifast was attempting to silence critics in violation of our First Amendment rights. Continue reading