United States District Court, D. Arizona
Honorable Diane J. Humetewa, United States District Judge
the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Default Judgment
(Doc. 15). Defendant Nicole Johnson was served with the
Complaint, Summons, and this Motion; however, she has not
answered or otherwise appeared and did not respond to
Dr. Joel Wallach (“Dr. Wallach”), Steve Wallach
(“Mr. Wallach”), Michelle Wallach (“Ms.
Wallach”), and Dave Briskie (“Mr. Briskie”)
initiated this action by filing a Complaint naming Nicole
Johnson, and several John Does, as Defendants. (Doc. 1).
Plaintiffs' Complaint contains two causes of action: (1)
Defamation Per Se and (2) Defamation Per
Quod. Plaintiffs are or have been affiliated with
Youngevity, a publicly traded, multi-level marketing company
that engages in the business of selling various health
supplements through a network of independent distributors.
Dr. Wallach is a resident of California and the founder of
Youngevity, Mr. Wallach is a resident of California and is
Youngevity's Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Wallach is a
resident of California and is Youngevity's Chief
Operating Officer, and Mr. Briskie is a resident of Florida
and is Youngevity's President and Chief Financial
2016, certain Youngevity executives and distributors left
Youngevity to form a competing multi-level marketing company,
Wakaya Perfection LLC (“Wakaya”). Wakaya sells
its products through a network of distributors known as
“Ambassadors.” Defendant Johnson is a resident of
Maryland and is a Wakaya Ambassador. On or about May 26,
2019, Defendant Johnson registered the website
www.realmlmnews.com (the “Website”)
using GoDaddy.com LLC (“GoDaddy”). Defendant
Johnson also used Domains by Proxy, LLC (“Domains by
Proxy”) to hide her identity as the owner and operator
of the Website.Both GoDaddy and Domains by Proxy, who are
not parties to this action, maintain their principal place of
business in Maricopa County, Arizona.
allege that Defendant Johnson's Website contained
defamatory statements about Plaintiffs. Specifically,
Plaintiffs allege that the Website included the following
defamatory statements under the heading “Youngevity
(a) [Mr. Wallach] has managed to not only acquire the
companies, but he duplicated their products, so he no longer
has to pay royalties to the owners. After the company comes
over, he does a bait and switch because he has their network.
(b) [Mr.] Briskie is the master manipulator when it comes to
(c) [Ms. Wallach] verbally abuses women and sexually harasses
men. [Mr. Wallach] and [Ms. Wallach] paid off Chris Nelson
the old CFO an undisclosed amount to keep him quiet. There
are at least two other men besides Chris she has done
inappropriate things to.
(d) [Dr. Wallach] is big on sexually harassing the rep force.
(Id. ¶ 34; Doc. 1-2 at 4-7). Plaintiffs claim
that all of these statements are false and were disseminated
through the Website to third parties. Plaintiffs further
allege that Defendant Johnson posted those statements with
“actual malice” because she knew the statements
were false or “offered those statements with reckless
[dis]regard for the truth.” (Doc. 1 ¶ 38).
Additionally, Plaintiffs allege that they have suffered
damages as a result of defamatory statements on the Website.
filing the Complaint on June 26, 2019, Plaintiffs retained
Monumental Process Servers, Inc. (“Monumental”)
to effect service of process on Defendant Johnson. Monumental
attempted to serve Defendant Johnson at her Maryland home on
June 27, June 30, July 1, and July 10. (Doc. 8). Monumental
confirmed with Defendant Johnson's neighbor that she did
in fact live at that address. Additionally, the Monumental
process server left a note on Defendant's door during the
June 27 and June 30 service attempts, which asked Defendant
Johnson to call Monumental. On June 30, 2019, Defendant
Johnson called Monumental and asked to be served the
following day after 6:00 pm. Yet, when the process server
returned after 6:00 pm on July 1, 2019, Defendant Johnson
refused to answer the door and texted Monumental that she was
not at home. Plaintiffs then retained a second company, Legal
Process Servers LLC (“LPS”), to serve Defendant
Johnson. LPS ...