Medifast Lawsuit: Anti-SLAPP Motions Filed

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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.

Anti-SLAPP motions have been filed in the Medifast lawsuit by me and by my co-defendant, Robert FitzPatrick. My motion can be read in its entirety here, and Fitzpatrick’s can be read here.

SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.  It’s basically when a big company tries to shut up a little guy with expensive litigation. In my opinion, Medifast sued me and others in an attempt to get us to stop publicly analyzing or criticizing the company and it’s multi-level marketing business model. Continue reading

Medifast Lawyers Continue to Lie to the Court

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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.

The Medifast (NYSE:MED) lawsuit against Barry Minkow, Fraud Discovery Institute, me, Robert FitzPatrick, William Lobdell, and others marches on. Yesterday, the Medifast lawyers filed an amended complaint in the case. The passage of time has not made Medifast or its lawyers more honest, however, as the amended complaint repeats factual inaccuracies (those are called lies in my world) and even expands on them.

Grab a cup of coffee and kick up your feet while you read the amended complaint. The document now alleges a civil conspiracy related to Medifast’s Take Shape for Life (TSFL) division, and repeatedly refers to the defendants as co-conspirators. I can’t speak for the other defendants, but I certainly know that I conspired with no one. I simply performed services for a paying client, and I wrote about Medifast on this blog in a continuing effort to advance the discussion of the pitfalls of multi-level marketing. Continue reading

Mona Vie: Don’t Use Our Name in Your URL, Unless You’re Wikipedia (and We’re Doing the Editing)

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Earlier this week I wrote about the MonaVie lawyers going after bloggers who do unflattering critiques of the company. Their premise was silly: You can’t use our name in a URL. Here’s exactly what they said in their threatening letter to blogger “Lazy Man”: Continue reading

Here Come the MonaVie Lawyers…

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When will companies learn? Trying to silence critics of them with bogus threats of legal action just isn’t effective. We have something called “freedom of speech” here which guarantees us the right to speak our minds, so long as we’re being truthful. Yet that doesn’t stop multi-level marketing companies from trying to bully their critics. Continue reading

Shop To Earn Lawyer Ups the Ante with Financial Blogger

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ShopToEarn is a multi-level marketing company recruiting new members who can receive a small percentage of cash back on their internet purchases. If they recruit enough new people into the scheme, who pay the $450 fee and do some shopping of their own, they can make a little more money.

I have a dim view of this program, and so does Everyday Finance. The blogger at Everyday Finance was threatened by MLM attorney Gerald Nehra about posting his opinions on the company. The blogger amended parts of his original article, making it very clear that he was citing personal opinions (both good and bad) about the program. I got my own cease and desist letter this week from Gerry Nehra and Shop To Earn. Continue reading

More Bullying of Bloggers by Shop To Earn Attorney Gerald Nehra

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Earlier today I reported that I had been threatened by Gerald Nehra, attorney for multi-level marketing company ShopToEarn for writing about my opinions on the company here. I am not the first blogger that he and Shop To Earn have threatened, and the threats continue.

The blogger writing Everyday Finance has been threatened more than once by Gerry Nehra because he posted his personal review of Shop To Earn and the ShopToEarth program. He had some concerns about the program, the Shop To Earth products, how commissions are paid out, and the MLM structure. I quoted from his analysis here. He found some positives and negatives with the program.

More threats have been issued to this blogger, so he now has this posted on his blog: Continue reading

Usana Health Sciences Loses Big in Court

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Consequently, the evidence now indicates only that Defendants engaged in the lawful trading of securities. Because USANA did not meet its burden, the court strikes the second claim for relief under California’s anti-SLAPP statute.

A ruling yesterday in the Usana Health Sciences (NASDAQ:USNA) v. Barry Minkow & Fraud Discovery Institute case in United States Court for the District of Utah is a big blow to Usana.

The judge’s order essentially grants FDI’s anti-SLAPP motion and dismisses all but one of Usana’s claims under state law (the bulk of what Usana was claiming in their complaint).

But here’s the best part: Usana cannot pursue money damages under federal securities law (Rule 10B-5). They could seek “injunctive relief”… but there’s really nothing for Usana to ask for an injunction on anymore. Barry has no current positions in Usana stock, so there’s nothing to claim there. And the First Amendment protects free speech, so Usana really can’t shut Barry up… our laws allow him to criticize Usana if he wants. Theoretically, Usana could still pursue a claim of unlawful stock manipulation, but they really have no case in that regard. (As a friend of mine says: NOPE-SORRY!) Continue reading

Usana Sues Barry Minkow

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UPDATE: The judge in this case quickly threw out all of Usana’s claims against Barry Minkow, except one. That final cause of action was settled with Usana paying Barry Minkow $200,000. In exchange, Minkow agreed to remove from the internet all materials about Usana under his control.

Usana Health Science, the multi-level marketing company investigated by Barry Minkow and team (that includes me!) has filed a defamation lawsuit against Barry in federal court. Naturally, the company is quick to point out that Minkow was a convicted felon who served time in prison for securities fraud. Barry has turned his life around, becoming a Christian pastor and assisting law enforcement in investigating and shutting down multiple investment scams. The FBI even has Barry train its employees on identifying and investigating white collar crime.

Usana is claiming that Barry misrepresented details in his report in order to make a profit off a drop in stock prcie, since he holds put options for Usana stock. (Incidentally, the stock did fall 15% yesterday to $49.85.) Continue reading