Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is the SLAPP Back - Take Two

If you recall, just a couple of days after Heidi Diaz, founder and fraudulent promoter of the dangerous, nutritionally bankrupt Kimkins Diet, had her calculated attempt to derail the Class Action lawsuit, better known as her bankruptcy case, dismissed her attorney, Mr. Peabody (in the Library with the Candlestick), posted a scathing comment (try to keep a straight face here, k?) on Melting Mama’s blog, threatening dire consequences if she didn’t cease and desist in publishing the God’s honest truth about his client on her blog and impeding his client’s attempts to lure even more people into her snare, er, website. (If you missed it the first time, read about it here.)

Well, here we are, just a couple of short days after the court gave a resounding spanking to Heidi and her divorce lawyer – okay, maybe not a spanking but certainly a defeat, when they granted the petition by the plaintiffs – in English, they certified the Class Action status of this lawsuit. Anyway, Mr. Peabody (in the Kitchen with the Rope) has sent another confrontational comment to another blogger.

**BTW, Mr. Peabody, I know that it is Mrs. Peacock in the game of Clue, but I just can’t help myself. It is just how my mind works. It is no way an implication that you run around with revolvers, candlesticks or rope! This case is sort of like a whodunit, except we know whodunit, the culprit has confessed and all that. So, you see, saying things like she is a liar, she is a shyster, she is a con artist, and … well, the list is long, but saying those things is an expression of one’s First Amendment rights because those statements are TRUE statements. In case you aren’t quite up to speed yet on all that, I’d invite you to simply read chapters one, two, three and four of the Heidi Diaz Deposition Compilation.**

First of all, it is very apparent that Mr. Peabody isn’t nearly as familiar with this case as are the rest of us. If he was he would know that the information he keeps demanding (name, address, etc.) is right in front of him. In this case it is actually in the court documents. In fact, his predecessor served this most recent person not once, but TWICE. Surely he knows that, right? If not, his client sure does. So, the threats of contacting IPs and all that are simply that – threats. Empty threats but threats just the same.

And when has anyone ever heard of a lawyer – one who HAS the name and address of the party he is trying to intimidated into surrendering their First Amendment rights of free speech – delivering a Cease and Desist letter … via a blog comment … Let that thought just sink in a moment. A blog comment. Not a certified letter. Not even an email. But a blog comment. Was that enough to compel Heidi Diaz to cease and desist in the matter of using before and after photographs of some of the witnesses in this case in her advertising? No. Come to think of it, the certified letters to her and her attorney weren’t effective either.

Just as with the last blog comment he posted, this one also threatened that if the blog posts didn’t cease immediately that he had been instructed by his client to vigorously pursue this person in a court of appropriate jurisdiction. Now, I have a pretty good idea how much of a retainer Heidi paid him, and I’m really sure that it isn’t enough for him to go hiring lawyers licensed to practice in different states and working with them to bring these flagrant bloggers to justice. We all realize that he isn’t able to practice law anywhere other than California. I doubt he is foolish enough to attempt to sue all these folks in the State of California after it was shot down when Mr. Cottle tried it. Heidi certainly could be paying him more money, of course. I’m just thinking that he likely has a whole lot of work to do on this case right there in Riverside County. And we all know that with lawyers, time is money! So, Mr. Peabody, are you simply doing this to satisfy the whims of your client? You do realize that you wouldn’t be the first person she has led down the path that doesn’t end anywhere good, right? We all know she is VERY convincing, with her sweet voice that belies the cold, calculating person she really is. We know how she can make the most absurd statements and spin them in such a way that you actually start to believe it – you really WANT to believe it, in fact. We KNOW how she can tell bold faced lies all while being shown the proof that she is lying – and how once she realizes that you aren’t buying into what she is saying she will turn on a dime and suddenly be telling a completely different story. I assure you, Mr. Peabody – you will never know when she is telling you the truth and when she is not.

Ah, well. Obviously he recognized the risks in going forward with Heidi’s last efforts to send the witnesses in the case against her scurrying into the shadows. This new tactic is interesting, to say the least, but I’m pretty certain it will be just as likely to backfire. I promise you that the witnesses are totally committed to seeing this thing all the way through. They are not going to go away.

You want to know what is really funny? This blogger, just like the last one, really doesn’t blog much about Heidi Diaz, Kimkins or the lawsuit. This one doesn’t blog much, period. This one certainly is a very big thorn in Heidi’s side, but still is not very active online.

I have to wonder just what Mr. Peabody, or Heidi, hopes to accomplish with these types of tactics? Surely there isn’t a class on legal bullying at whichever fine law school Mr. Peabody attended. And that’s what this boils down too. Legal bullying. Eventually one of those blog post comments might find themselves in the inbox of someone from the California Bar Association. While there was no class on legal bullying, I bet there was a class (or two) on ethics. As my really good friend, John Tiedt, likes to say – there is SO much good that can be done with that law license. So much good. Like pretty much everything else it is all about choices, isn’t it? May we all choose wisely.