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Rodgers vs. Herbalife (docket)

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

Case No. 1:17-cv-23429

Interactive case docket regularly updated with: words, pictures, documents, videos, and maybe a light sprinkling of jokes.


the complaint

September 18, 2017, a class action lawsuit against Herbalife and forty-four of its top distributors was filed in federal court.

The complaint alleges that the parties conspire to produce and sell a mandatory event series to which Herbalife business opportunity participants lose millions of dollars per year.

Eight plaintiff’s have bravely agreed to represent a class of tens (potentially hundreds) of thousands of victims. Plaintiffs–who hail from Florida, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Ohio–were all Herbalife business opportunity participants who spent between twelve and forty-eight months doggedly pursuing the success guaranteed at Herbalife “Circle of Success” events.

Truth in Advertising’s summary of the complaint included a video compilation of Herbalife distributors touting these events in fantastical terms.


service

After a complaint is filed the court issues a summons. A copy of the summons, along with the complaint, is personally served on each defendant by a process server. Documents 6 – 29 on the case docket are notices that service was effected.

At the time of service recipient refused to provide his name. Server first spoke with defendant daughter and she stated her mother was out of town and refused to accept service and left. There was a gardener on the property and he advise defendant spouse was inside the house. Server knock on the door and a white male came outside with attitude and refused to accept service.

Too bad… ya served!

On October 10, 2017, we received notice that Quarles & Brady would be representing all of the individual defendants as a unified block. Q&B said they were authorized to accept service for all defendants and continued attempts at personal service ceased.

A month later Q&B changed their mind and decided they had not been authorized to accept service for defendant Arquimedes Valencia. This was (sort of) detailed in the first footnote to the mandatory Joint Scheduling Report. Eventually Q&B decided they were authorized to represent Valencia, but the hiccup was #interesting.


motion to compel arbitration

Herbalife’s complex and ever-changing contract with its distributors has sometimes contained a mandatory arbitration provision which aims to strip Herbalife’s victims of their right to seek redress in court.

Herbalife and its President’s Team distributors seek to enforce the arbitration provision contained in some of these contracts against all Plaintiffs, including those who did not sign the arbitration provision as well as those who did not sign any contract with Herbalife.

We are currently awaiting a ruling from the court on this issue.


motion to transfer venue

Herbalife seeks to transfer the case to California.

That sounds lovely. If you wouldn’t rather be in Los Angeles than in Miami–then you are wrong. There’s something not right about how ugly hot and oatmeal sticky it is in Miami. Also, two words: reptile predators.

Those are insurmountably great arguments for moving the case to California. But they are not legal arguments. The legal arguments aren’t as good.

We are currently awaiting a ruling from the court on this issue.


motion to dismiss

Civil actions almost always start with a motion by the defendants to have the whole case dismissed. Many different issues must be raised in these preliminary motions or they are considered waived.

Herbalife and the individual defendants make some standard arguments for why the case should be dismissed.

We have postponed our response to these motions while we await a decision on the preliminary matter of the motion to compel arbitration.


motion to stay discovery

Generally, the evidence gathering phase of a lawsuit does not begin in earnest until after resolution of the preliminary motions. Herbalife would rather that we never talk about anything, ever… forever.

While we await a ruling from the court, all parties have agreed to limit discovery to matters concerning arbitration.


discovery

To date, discovery has been limited to the extremely boring subject of Herbalife’s spiderweb of confusing (even to themselves) and unfair contracts.

  • Deposition transcript – Mr. Mark deposes Herbalife’s Senior Director of Member Policy Administration, Roxane Romans

  • Deposition transcript – Mr. Mark deposes Herbalife’s Vice President of Member Operations, Silvia Ramirez


hearings

The first hearing is scheduled for August 22, 2018.

the lawyers

Herbalife is represented by:

Mark Drooks, et. al., of Los Angeles’ Bird Marella Boxer Wolpert Nessim Drooks Lincenberg & Rhow. It’s a too fancy big firm that should obviously change its name to Bird Boxer… waste of a brilliant branding opportunity.

Individual defendants are represented by:

An Arizona based team from Quarles & Brady that has long experience attempting to defend dubious MLMs against all comers.

Both Herbalife and the individual defendants are represented locally in Miami by Todd Lavine, et. al., of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine. A firm that should also change its name to Bird Boxer.

Plaintiff’s are represented by:

Etan Mark, Donald Hayden, and Lara O’Donnell Grillo, of Miami’s Mark Migdal & Hayden.

And by me, Jason Jones, of the internet’s totally not a normal lawyer dot com.

Etan (pronounced however you see fit) and I are old friends. He’s an amazing lawyer to bring to a plaintiff’s side case. I sweet talked him into getting involved without using any sweet talk.



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