Ken White at Popehat has lit the Popehat signal again. If you are familiar with the Popehat signal, then you know that Ken only brings it out when someone is being frivolously sued by corporations who get butt hurt because of bad reviews.
I am not a lawyer, but this is my small part in bringing this case to everyone’s attention because it effects us all. It’s a first amendment issue. Let’s let Ken explain:
It’s time to light the Popehat Signal to find pro bono assistance for citizens threatened with a bogus and censorious lawsuit.
The cartoonish villain of this story is Roca Labs, whose belligerent attempts to silence critics inspired my post last month. Roca Labs, you may recall, produces a pink slime that one is supposed to eat to suppress the appetite. Roca Labs is pathologically adverse to criticism, and therefore has hit upon an increasingly familiar tactic — they require at least some of their customers to sign contracts promising not to criticize them at all. Based on those contracts, they filed a lawsuit against Pissed Consumer.com, a gripe site that printed complaints by their customers. Their quasi-legal flailing became more desperate when First Amendment heavyweight Marc Randazza took up PissedConsumer.com’s defense.
Now Roca Labs has crossed the Rubicon from mildly entertaining legal buffoonery to outright despicable abuse of the system calculated to suppress not only the right to free speech but the right to petition the government. As TechDirt first reported, Roca Labs has now sued — in Florida — three of its customers from other states. What’s notable about these three customers? One of them provided witness testimony in Roca Labs’ lawsuit against PissedConsumer.com. Roca Labs has previously complained aboutmany different customers exercising free speech, but now wantonly targets just these three consumers, one of whom just happened to be a witness against them.1 Roca Labs is demanding damages, attorney fees, and an injunction prohibiting these consumers from criticizing Roca Labs. As Techdirt points out, Roca Labs’ attorneys rather comically assert that the defendants’ criticisms are “defamation per se” because they agreed in advance contractually that they would be. That’s not how it works, dipshits.
Roca Labs isn’t a full Prenda yet, but by God, it’s trying.
You can help. If you are a lawyer admitted in Florida, you can act, at least, as local counsel. If you are a lawyer in another state, you can help Florida counsel. If you’re just someone with a voice on the internet, you can help get the word out about Roca Labs and its contemptible behavior, and help these people find pro bono legal assistance.
Like I mentioned at the top, this is an issue that can eventually affect us all if we don’t nip these vexatious and frivolous lawsuits in the bud and make the perpetrators pay for their foolishness.