Higher Balance Institute v. Signs of the Times

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

02/25/2008

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

Oregon

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
On March 13, 2008, Higher Balance Institute (HBI), which markets metaphysical products and education programs, filed a defamation lawsuit against the alternative news website Signs of the Times and its operators, the Quantum Future Group and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. Only Quantum Future... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Quantum Future Group, Inc; Quantum Future School; Signs of the Times; Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • Oregon

Location of Party: 

  • California
  • Colorado
  • France

Legal Counsel: 

Walter Hansell; Stephen Kaus
Description

On March 13, 2008, Higher Balance Institute (HBI), which markets metaphysical products and education programs, filed a defamation lawsuit against the alternative news website Signs of the Times and its operators, the Quantum Future Group and Laura Knight-Jadczyk. Only Quantum Future Group has been served. HBI claims that employees of the Quantum Future Group posted defamatory statements about it on one of the website's forums. According to the complaint, these statements include allegedly false claims that HBI is a "front for pedophilia," that HBI is "conning the public," that meditation, as sold by HBI is an act of "falling into confluence with a psychopathic reality," and that HBI is a "cointelpro" organization. Cmplt. ¶23. (The Signs of the Times website uses the term "cointelpro" to refer to organizations that it claims perpetuate the ethos of a 1970s FBI counter intelligence program designed to quell domestic dissent.)

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Oregon, contains claims for defamation, false light invasion of privacy, and intentional interference with business relationships and prospective economic advantage. HBI seeks over $4 million in damages and an injunction. On April 25, 2008, Quantum Future Group moved to strike the complaint pursuant to Oregon's anti-SLAPP statute, Or. Rev. Stat. § 31.150.

Update:

4/25/2008 - Quantum Future Group filed motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted and for lack of personal jurisdiction.

5/19/2008 - Quantum Future School, Signs of the Times, and Knight-Jadezyk filed special motions to strike the complaint under Oregon's anti-SLAPP statute and joined Quantum Future Group's motion to strike. 

12/18/2008 - The district court granted the defendants' motions to strike the complaint under Oregon's anti-SLAPP statute. The court's decision relied in part on section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

06/18/2009- The court granted in part the defendants' motion for attorney's fees. The court found the request of over $135,000 to be excessive, and so awarded $51,500.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
  • SLAPP
  • Third-Party Content
  • False Light
  • Section 230
  • User Comments or Submissions
Court Information & Documents
CMLP Information (Private)

CMLP Notes: 

Source: User submission (both Contact form and in a blog comment); Google Blog Search

Status updated on 1/5/2009 (SB)

Updated 6/24/09 AVM - I added information about award of costs.