A lawyer for Liberty League International of Scottsdale wrote to us after our recent post about a $5 million lawsuit against the company. Not surprisingly, he rejects our gut-feeling theory that Liberty League has probably violated the terms of a 2005 settlement with Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.
We've pasted parts of that settlement following the lawyer's letter. If anyone knows whether Liberty League has violated these terms, feel free to write in.
Liberty League has forwarded me your message requesting a response for your June 16 article regarding the Arizona lawsuit filed last week. Liberty League has retained our firm to represent it in this new lawsuit, which is nearly identical to a lawsuit we're already handling for them in Southern California. As we do in most cases, we've advised Liberty League not to comment on pending litigation. That advice is particularly vital in cases like this, where a few disgruntled individuals are obviously intent on damaging Liberty League's business through their inflammatory internet postings (including posting a comment to your article of mostly irrelevant and outdated traffic violations for one of Liberty League's managers).
While you are certainly entitled to print your opinions, however, we would advise you against rushing to judgment on Liberty League's business practices. For example, you clearly reviewed the October 2006 Revised Consent Judgment between the AG's office and Liberty League in preparing your story. Based on the allegations raised in the new Arizona lawsuit, you conclude that "Chances seem low, at this point, that the company adhered to these rules [laid out in the consent decree]." But your timing is way off, since each of the plaintiffs in this new lawsuit purchased products and services from Liberty League long before the company reached its deal with the AG's office in 2006 (after which Liberty League implemented several new measures to ensure compliance with the settlement's terms).
We are hopeful that interest in this story dies down since it really is old news. But should you be interested in reviewing more federal court records, you'd see that these lawsuits are driven mostly by plaintiffs' lawyers who, to date, have had no success parlaying the earlier Arizona settlement into civil liability. In 2007, for example, an Ohio federal judge threw out similar civil RICO and pyramid scheme claims against Liberty League before the case got rolling. A few months ago, a California federal judge dismissed similar class action claims and ordered that the former associate pursue her remaining claim in a private arbitration setting. Unhappy with these results, the lawyers are no doubt hoping for more favorable treatment from the new judge in Arizona. Forum shopping 101.
Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions on the pending litigation.
David R. Burtt RAO ONGARO BURTT & TILIAKOS LLP 595 Market Street, Suite 610 San Francisco, CA 94105 Direct: 415-433-3902 Fax: 415-433-3950 firstname.lastname@example.org www.rao-ongaro.com
If you listen to some folks, you'd think this settlement was a badge of honor:
Having undergone a complete review by the AG office and only receiving a minor fine actually verifies that Liberty League is a legitimate home business opportunity. But what resulted from the AG's actions was that it allowed the competitors to use the AG findings to convince opportunity seekers, through the message boards and web in general, that Liberty League International was a scam. Although Liberty League is still in business they have never recovered from the negative publicity.
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After we obtained a copy of the 2005 settlement, we noticed that Liberty League was told to pay more than just a $115,000 fine -- the company apparently had to pay another $225,000 or more in restitution to the people who felt ripped off. We imagine that would have been most of their customers.
Liberty League's "products" are little more than a few CDs, DVDs, and the privilege of listening to some guest speakers -- at a cost approaching $20,000.
A trip to the library for self-improvement books would be a whole lot cheaper.