The Lawsuit Has Ended in a TKO

On September 21, 2015, I was informed that I was being sued by Sovereign Health of California for publishing a link on the August 25, 2015 edition of the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin that I found on the OC Register’s website.

On August 25, 2015, the day the link was republished on the Addiction Recovery eBulletin, I was contacted by Sovereign Health’s Sr. Director of Strategic Development, who I had worked with during the REEL Recovery Film Festival in 2009. I was threatened with legal action if I did not immediately send out a retraction and apology for publishing a link to the old article.

Hi Leonard

We need to discuss this immediately – your newsletter goes out to thousands of people and thereby can do us substantial harm.  To avoid any further action on our part, please contact me on my office line.

 I WAS SCARED.  They claimed the information in the article was not true.  I told the gentleman from Sovereign Health that a retraction and apology would bring additional unwanted attention to the article, which was and still is on the OC Register’s website.  I called the OC Register and ask them if they were ever asked to correct or delete the article in question.  They said they had not been asked to correct or delete.  I called back my contact at Sovereign Health and was told the OC Register article didn’t matter to them, but the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin did, because everyone in the treatment industry and thousands of clinicians read it.  I asked the their Sr. Director of Strategic Development if he would have Sovereign Health legal department write the retraction and apology from me, so I would “get it right”.  This is what was sent to me.

“Leonard,

Here is the text of what we need to prevent legal action.  We further expect that when the retraction is issued on your masthead that this be the only article in the “Special Addition”(sic) – please call me as I forgot to note your telephone when you called the first time “ Link to Retraction and Apology

Now I do want to apologize to our readers for being a putz and sending out something that I did not write or agree with. I was frightened and naïve and did not have “publisher’s libel insurance”.  I do now! I did what was demanded of me out of fear of legal persecution. Point in fact; three times as many people opened the retraction, as did the original posting. That afternoon I received a thank you note from their Sr. Director Of Strategic Development, which basically said, I’m glad at the end of the day we can still work together as colleagues.  I even went so far as to tell him that I would print all future positive articles about Sovereign Health, of which there have been NONE.

I thought that was the end of it, and it seemed to be until September 21, 2015 when I found out Sovereign Health was coming after me. Shortly thereafter I retained the brilliant legal service of Mick Meagher, Esq.

The ensuing 2 ½ years of legal posturing, motions, defeats (lost our anti-SLAPP suit), lots of briefs, compiling of evidence, financial insecurity, meetings and miles on the odometer will soon be more precisely documented by Mick Meagher for this publication.

It is suffice to say, that on Friday at high noon  one business day before the trial was to commence. Sovereign Health informed the court that they would not be showing up to court and asked for the case against me and Writers In Treatment, publisher of the renowned Addiction/Recovery eBulletin, to be dismissed.  The ordeal had come to an end, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Theirs not mine. I grew up in Philadelphia playing a lot of poker. They bluffed the wrong guy.

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