LOS ANGELES, June 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Vivera Pharmaceuticals today filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against Gannett, its publication USA Today, and their reporters and executives for damages in excess of $500 million for defamation, trade libel and intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic advantage.
On June 2, 2020, USA Today reporters David Heath, Kevin McCoy and Donovan Slack, published an article entitled "You could see the train wreck coming': Inexperienced, dubious companies, among many aiming to cash in on coronavirus antibody tests."
According to the lawsuit, the article contained numerous false and misleading statements about Vivera and its COVID-19 antibody tests. The article is a disparaging hit piece against CEO Paul Edalat. The reporters personally attacked Edalat with false claims about his character, business dealings and ongoing litigation.
USA Today chose to publish false information about the accuracy rates of Vivera's COVID-19 antibody tests, misleading readers by taking quotes out of context in order to make it appear as though Vivera was hiding information from the public. Vivera has always been transparent about its two COVID-19 antibody test kits and published the validation results of those tests on its website.
On June 3, 2020, one day after the article was published, Vivera, through its legal counsel, delivered a letter to USA Today specifying the false and misleading statements and demanded that USA Today issue a retraction.
Seven days later on June 10, 2020, USA Today's parent company, Gannett Media refused to retract the article or remove or correct any false and misleading statements about Vivera. The paper did, however, change the title of the article to "Inexperienced, dubious companies on FDA list to sell coronavirus antibody tests."
"It is unfortunate that Gannett, and USA Today, chose to knowingly print false, misleading, and disparaging comments about myself and Vivera," said Paul Edalat, CEO of Vivera Pharmaceuticals. "We provided USA Today an opportunity to retract this article, which they refused. This article has nothing to do with the quality of Vivera's antibody tests and was a coordinated attack on me in an effort to disparage Vivera."
Vivera has filed suit in the United States District Court, Central District of California.
About Vivera Pharmaceuticals
Vivera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is an innovative, science-driven pharmaceutical company focused on novel therapies for a variety of indications. In addition to its pharmaceutical and medical device products, the company has global exclusivity to license the patented and patent-pending TABMELT® sublingual drug-delivery system for the pharmaceutical use of therapeutic compounds. The company is vertically integrated with patented technology, manufacturing capabilities, and distribution for its products.
Adam Sechrist for Vivera Pharmaceuticals
SOURCE Vivera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.