NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – Vivera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. continues to move forward in its defamation lawsuit filed in Virginia state court against USA Today and its parent companies, Gannett Co., Inc. and Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC (“Gannett”).
“USA Today published an article that was nothing more than a hit-piece on my professional reputation and over 30-year career,” said Paul Edalat, Chairman and CEO of Vivera, in remarks about the ongoing litigation. “Vivera’s team has worked non-stop during the pandemic to answer the call by the White House for safer access to testing. Not only has USA Today called my character into question, but that of Vivera. I owe it to the dedicated employees of this Company to contest this impugning of their integrity and hard work. Vivera is not a fly-by-night company like so many others popping up during the pandemic. Our main focus is helping patients, not profiting off of desperation and fear.”
USA Today and Gannett filed two demurrers. But they were unsuccessful in their attempts to avoid engaging in the litigation and have the case dismissed in its early stages. The Court overruled the demurrers and found that Gannett executives and reporters still may be found directly liable for defamation, defamation per se, and tortious interference. The next hearing in the matter is anticipated in the fall of 2021.
Now that the media giant is forced to engage in the litigation fully and with reporters and executives of Gannett on the hook, Vivera hopes to clear its name of the reputational damage inflicted by the June 2020 article.
Vivera and Mr. Edalat have alleged in the complaint filed in Fairfax County, VA (Case No.: 2020 14458) that reporter David Heath and his co-defendants obtained interviews from Mr. Edalat and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen J. McColgan under false pretenses. The reporters then went on to misquote both men in an attempt to mislead readers about Vivera and its work.
Mr. Edalat has questioned the motives of David Heath, lead investigative reporter, and his fellow reporters, along with those of Michael E. Reed, Gannett’s Chairman and CEO, stating, “As a first-generation U.S. immigrant, I have always believed in the American Dream and still do. I chose to establish roots in the community I call home, and I have worked tirelessly to turn my dream of helping others into a reality.” He continued, “Despite repeated attacks and press-sanctioned character assassination, I have not been deterred. What would have been called charisma or ‘entrepreneurship’ for any other CEO was twisted into malicious accusations against me. We love the United States for its freedoms, but I cannot ignore when those same principles are manipulated maliciously in the press.”
According to Vivera’s Counsel, Jack White, of the Virginia-based law firm FH+H PLLC, “Vivera is determined to vindicate its rights through the legal process. We are pleased with the progress made to date and look forward to fully engaging in factual development so that the truth can be known.”
About Vivera Pharmaceuticals
Vivera Pharmaceuticals is an innovative, science-driven pharmaceutical company located in Southern California. The Company has global exclusivity to license the patented and patent-pending TABMELT® sublingual drug delivery system for pharmaceutical use and holds its own issued patents on ZICOH®, a smart dose-controlled medical device. With multiple divisions, including its pharmaceutical, neurosciences, medical technology, and advanced diagnostics divisions, Vivera Pharmaceuticals is vertically integrated with patented technology, manufacturing capabilities, and distribution for its products.