Consumer-Lawyer Hookup Page Called Defamatory


     LAS VEGAS (CN) — A Nevada water retailer claims in court that a consumer advocacy group defamed it while fishing for class action clients against it.
     AffinityLifeStyles dba Real Water sued Gold Shield Group on Tuesday in Clark County Court. It claims the New Jersey-based defendant’s website accused Real Water of making false claims and running a “scam” on consumers of its Real Alkalized Water products.
     Gold Shield Group states on its Internet home page, checked Thursday morning: “Gold Shield Group connects people who have been wronged by large corporations with quality legal representation.”
     In its lawsuit, Real Water cites Gold Shield’s July 12 Internet post on www.realwaterscam.com, a separate page from Gold Shield’s home page.
     The headline on the cached Internet page states: “If you bought Real Water for its health claims, you may be entitled to money damages.”
     The cached Google page was inaccessible Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. Gold Shield did not return an email message seeking comment through its website’s contact form.
     The cached page lists a working Gold Shield toll-free number for potential class action clients. A Wednesday evening phone call was answered by a man who asked how the caller learned about making a class action claim.
     The cached Web page stated, inter alia: “If you bought Real Water believing that it had special health benefits, you’ve been scammed. Call the Gold Shield Group at (888)294- 3155 to get the legal compensation you deserve.”
     The cached Web page added: “While Gold Shield Group does not provide legal advice, we do connect some people with law firms qualified to help. Information submitted to Gold Shield Group via phone or web form will be reviewed by a legal professional to determine whether they can help you with your situation. A legal professional may contact you to get more information.”
     The 2-page letter on the cached site says Real Water uses “pseudo-science printed on their bottles and listed on their web site [which] is nothing more than a clever marketing tactic.”
     It adds: “The claim that Real Water ‘is infused with negative (-) ions’ is not scientifically possible. …
     “The claim on the bottle’s packaging that it can ‘neutralize harmful free radicals’ because of the antioxidant electrons in the water is blatantly false because there is no such thing as stable negative ion water,” Gold Shield said on the page.
     In its lawsuit, Real Water says its “alkaline-infused” water is its only product, and the defamatory campaign by Gold Shield is “particularly damaging.”
     Real Water says its “existing and prospective customers now encounter false, misleading and defamatory statements that negatively influence and forever poison the consumers’ impressions of Real Water,” which has “experienced a disinterest among prospective customers” and “irreparable harm” as a result.
     Real Water seeks an injunction and punitive damages for false advertising, defamation, commercial disparagement, deceptive trade and interference with prospective economic advantage.
     It is represented by Josh Aicklen with Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, who did not return a phone call seeking comment on Wednesday.
     In a separate federal lawsuit, a former worker for Real Water accused the company of being a front for the Church of Scientology and claims she was fired for refusing to convert.
     That case awaits trial in Las Vegas.

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