New York partner Pete Baldwin was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article titled “Paid Protestors? They’re Real – and a Beverly Hills Firm That Hires Them Stands Accused of Extortion in a Lawsuit.”
The article discusses a lawsuit filed by a Czech investor against Crowds on Demand, a Beverly Hills firm that hires paid protestors for its clients. The plaintiff, Zdenek Bakala, claims that the firm is participating in a defamatory extortion campaign against him.
Pete commented on the issues that this unique case raises, particularly the question of whether a company like Crowds on Demand is obligated to perform due diligence to confirm that it is not participating in defamatory speech. “If you’re presented with information that your message may be false or defamatory, do you have an obligation to not be the messenger?” Pete said. “That’s a key question for someone in this business. At what point do you have an obligation to verify the truth or veracity of the claims?”
Pete also addressed the plaintiff’s claim that Crowds on Demand and its client are in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). He noted that RICO cases are complicated and often hard to prove, but that the plaintiff’s lawyers “have pled their case carefully,” adding that “I’ve seen less compelling RICO complaints.”