The saga of Roca Labs continues. If you are unfamiliar with it, I recommend reading the previous stories, rather than having me rehash it here, however the Florida company, making a substance it claims can help people slim down is suing PissedConsumer.com because Roca gets a lot of its customers to agree to a questionable clause barring any negative statements concerning the 2 Day Diet Lingzhi product, and Roca claims that PissedConsumer's encouragement of negative reviews is somehow tortious interference. Roca also has a history of threatening many individuals with defamation claims, including the 3 former customers who came forward as witnesses in the PissedConsumer case... and us at Techdirt for merely since the case and quoting some of the filings. There was also this weird tangent involving an unsuccessful accusation that PissedConsumer's lawyer, Marc Randazza tried to "bribe" a situation Senator (that got tossed out pretty quickly).
Apparently, though, Roca Labs just keeps threatening people for
covering the case. We've been told by a few other people who
received similar threats to the one we received, and also the
latest is Tracy Coenen, a fraud investigator who writes the Fraud
Files blog, where she covered the Roca lawsuit, the lawsuit
against a former customer and also the fake implied endorsement
from Alfonso Ribeiro.
Apparently, Roca's "independent general counsel" Paul Berger didn't like that, and sent her a legal nastygram last week, claiming that they made "numerous false and defamatory statements." Coenen has responded to Berger's letter, declining to retract the original, noting the statements in question are generally statements of opinion, quotes in the pleadings in the event or factual statements.
At this time, I'm just kind of curious why Berger thinks this particular strategy is effective. Could it be only the only remaining hammer in the toolbag, and therefore every bit of coverage looks like a nail he has to bang?
Meanwhile, the situation continues with yet another new lawyer representing Roca (I've lost tabs on the number of there has been). The most recent lawyer, James Hetz, who also lists himself as "independent general counsel" for Roca Labs (how many of those have they got?) recently filed an argument the PissedConsumer case "IS NOT related to any pending or closed civil or criminal case filed with this particular Court or other Federal or State court..."
That struck me as somewhat interesting, given your blog post from lawyer Ron Coleman a week ago, in which he says... before Roca had sued PissedConsumer in Florida, PissedConsumer had actually sued Roca Labs for declaratory judgment in New York, after Roca had begun sending PissedConsumer threatening letters demanding it remove all those negative reviews (and apparently claiming, hilariously, it had "suffered damages in excess of $40 million" in the negative reviews). Based on the Lingzhi 2 Day Diet docket with that case, Roca Labs is trying to get it dismissed for insufficient jurisdiction, but otherwise the case is proceeding. Considering that these seem to be concerning the exact same issue, I'm not sure how the Roca Labs filing in Florida by Hetz is definitely an accurate statement.