Fight Frivolous Lawsuit by AVT, Inc.

$12,248 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 121 people in 60 months
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I have been sued by publicly-traded AVT, Inc., a pink-sheet company trading under the symbol AVTC, for $100mm.  The suit, which was filed in a California State Court, claims that I damaged the company with libel.  This is a frivoulous claim, and it's not the first time this company has resorted to such tactics to stifle criticism, as they filed a similar $100mm lawsuit in 2010 against Randall Lane, who is now the Editor of Forbes, which was dismissed. I have written about the details of my suit, and Vending Times Magazine also shared a perspective.  The bottom-line is that I shared some very serious concerns about this company that are based on publicly-available information provided by the company itself.  

My speech is protected by the 1st Amendment, and my only motivation has been to warn the public of the unethical practices of this company.  I have never traded in the stock, nor have I ever been compensated by anyone to share my views, which are based on publicly-available information.   My choices are to try to settle with them, which would be convenient but just wrong, or to fight the suit, which means I have to hire a lawyer in California with a retainer just to start of $10,000.  I am told that to file a counter-suit could cost $25,000 or more.

I am reaching out to the public for several reasons besides defraying my own legal costs.  First, I want to raise awareness for the larger issue of publicly-traded companies trying to stifle the criticism of independent analysts like myself.  If companies like AVTC succeed in silencing those who want to highlight red flags, the public loses.  There is no one looking out for investors in penny stocks. Second, I want to send a specific message to companies that seek to stifle my work on behalf of individual investors.  I have had to deal with threats of litigation from other companies.  If I were to settle with AVTC, then it would open the door to other companies trying to stop me from telling the truth.  At 420 Investor, I spend a great deal of time investigating the practices of many shady companies trying to take advantage of the public, and it would be impossible for me to do my job if I can't warn my subscribers.  Third, I am hoping to attract a California-based lawyer who wants to take my case on contingency, as I would like to file a counter-suit under California's anti-SLAAP law enacted in 1992 to stop frivolous suits like this.

Thank you for supporting this cause.

All proceeds beyond my actual legal costs incurred will be donated to the ACLU so that it can protect 1st Amendment Rights.
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Final Update: I sent a check for $6000 to the ACLU, which received it on 6/17. This is represented the difference between the funds raised and the expenses I incurred for legal defense. Thanks again to all who supported this effort to stop AVT, Inc. from intimidating me and to publicize the company's abusive use of litigation. Hopefully, other companies will think twice before trying to stifle factually correct but negative views.
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I am pleased to report that the case was dismissed on April 24th, with prejudice (a final judgment):

http://public-access.riverside.courts.ca.gov/OpenAccess/Civil/CivilCaseReport.asp?CourtCode=A&RivInd=RIV&CaseType=RIC&CaseNumber=1314161

This was a big waste of time and money, as AVT, Inc. had no case but I was still forced to deal with the company in the California legal system. I thank my lawyers at Reid & Hellyer for their efforts and am pleased to have this behind me for good. I am in no way restricted from sharing my views going forward on the company. Thanks again for your support. I will be remitting a check for the difference between what I collected and the legal fees paid to the ACLU.
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Thanks again to everyone for helping to spread the word and for supporting this cause. I will be posting a final update in just a few days, but the outcome was very positive.
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Thank you for helping me not only raise the money but also for sending the people at both AVT, Inc. and other companies that think they can bully their detractors by filing frivolous lawsuits proof otherwise. This awesome effort has already attracted media attention - stay tuned to see the real impact of what we have done. This is much more powerful than having fought this battle quietly, and I appreciate the role that each of you played.
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$12,248 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 121 people in 60 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created March 22, 2014
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$50
Anonymous
60 months ago
MP
$100
Michael Pham
60 months ago

Thank You for all you do for us, Alan.

ML
$42
Matt Lumer
60 months ago

Good luck Alan!

$42
Anonymous
60 months ago
CR
$20
Consuelo Ravelo
60 months ago

Awesome....legal bullying sucks!

CT
$20
Chris Taylor
60 months ago

I hate court.

HJ
$50
Holly Johnson
60 months ago

You have my full support. You are aman of integrity.

SS
$100
Steven Sonju
60 months ago
1
1

Get them Alan! Thanks for all you do for 420i

TD
$42
Tony DeLucia
60 months ago

We are 100% behind you Alan!!!

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