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Judge awards $133 million, permanent gag order against author

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Judge awards $133 million, permanent gag order against author 03/24/97 TEXAS--In late February, a state district court judge in Houston…

Judge awards $133 million, permanent gag order against author

03/24/97

TEXAS–In late February, a state district court judge in Houston awarded $133.2 million to a company that claimed it suffered $150 million in damages from the publication of a book.

Nutrition for Life International sued Greg Caton, author of a 1990 publication, MLM Fraud: A Practical Handbook for the Network Marketing Professional, for libel and slander. NLI claimed Caton had made false claims about the company in his book and on numerous Internet sites, concerning the practices of the company and Kevin Trudeau, its principal salesman, who had previously been convicted of credit card fraud and check kiting.

The judge ordered Caton never to discuss the company again — negatively or positively — and required him to withdraw all of his books from store shelves. The order forbids him to produce or distribute any additional copies, and must turn over all negatives and typesetting files used for the printing of the book.

The case is still pending due to a petition for federal bankruptcy protection filed by Caton in Louisiana before the judge awarded NLI monetary damages. The plaintiff’s lawyer said that the amount of damages awarded to the company was based on the money the company lost as a result of the allegations in Caton’s book and Internet sites. (Nutrition for Life v. Caton; Media Counsel: pro se)