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Feb-26-2010 20:01printcomments

The Southwestern Company: Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt Correspondence

When a law firm allows itself to be used as a mouthpiece to transmit knowingly false information on the behalf of a client, that law firm itself is tarnished.

Southwest Company image of a sales person
Southwest Company image of a sales person
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(EUGENE, Ore.) - Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, the Oregon law firm representing The Southwestern Company continues to send letters making increasingly shrill and inaccurate demands concerning the ongoing expose of The Southwestern Company’s business practices.

The latest letter contains the inaccurate claim that I have “accused” the Southwestern Company of “RICO violations.”

To be specific, and I quote: “Potential RICO violations committed by the Southwestern Company include illegal immigration violations under U.S. Code Title 18 Sec. 1546, and money laundering violations under Title 18 Sec. 1960.”

I have not accused the Southwestern Company of any RICO violations, nor should such an accusation be insinuated. However, the potential clearly exists, and it is not inaccurate to draw attention to it.

Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt have now upped their threats against me with allusions to potential “liability damages.”

Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt describe my allegations as “outlandish,” “beyond the pale,” and “having no basis in fact.”

An “authentic retraction and public apology” are demanded.

I flatly refuse this demand, which itself is based on a position that has no basis in law or fact.

I would suggest that Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt do some actual research into the activities of the Southwestern Company before they further tarnish their reputation in this State.

Attempting to suppress the free speech of a news organization that is doing a public service by exposing a company that is violating the laws of this State does not win Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt a lot of credibility in my mind. I expect that many reasonable individuals would feel the same way.

While everyone is entitled to legal representation, they are not entitled to representation by any particular law firm. The clients that a law firm chooses to represent, and the actions that they engage in while representing those clients, certainly reflect on the ethics and values of the firm representing them.

When a law firm allows itself to be used as a mouthpiece to transmit knowingly false information on the behalf of a client, that law firm itself is tarnished, and loses respect in the public eye. I would strongly suggest to Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt that they reassess their role in this situation, and actually look into the facts, before they take any further actions that could have a permanent adverse effect on the reputation of their firm.

Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt Letters:

February 24, 2010

February 26, 2010 Southwestern Company Articles: Retraction: The Southwestern Company - Part 1: Corporate Mafia

The Southwestern Company - Part 1: Walks Like a Duck, Quacks Like a Duck, Duck

The Southwestern Company Part 2: A RICO Case

=================================== Business/Economy Reporter Ersun Warncke is a native Oregonian. He has a degree in Economics from Portland State University and studied Law at University of Oregon. At a young age, his career spans a wide variety of fields, from fast food, to union labor, to computer programming. He has published works concerning economics, business, government, and media on blogs for several years. He currently works as an independent software designer specializing in web based applications, open source software, and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications.

Ersun describes his writing as being "in the language of the boardroom from the perspective of the shop floor." He adds that "he has no education in journalism other than reading Hunter S. Thompson." But along with life comes the real experience that indeed creates quality writers. Right now, every detail that can help the general public get ahead in life financially, is of paramount importance.

You can write to Ersun at:

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Hank Ruark February 28, 2010 10:43 am (Pacific time)

Friend Doug B.: You just restated the most potent principle in massive legal-action re the tort of libel. "Truth is a perfect defense" became the ruling precedent via the John Peter Zenger case,classic in early-American journalism (1753). Accused of libeling the New York governor by "fostering an ill opinion of government", Zenger's attorney startled the judge by claiming truth as the ushakeable defense, denied by the judge --BUT the jury found the editor innocent. That's one reason I often cite the "wit, wisdom and will" of the ordinary American citizen, devoted to fair play and wise decision on pragmatic grounds.

Rick the Man February 27, 2010 5:53 pm (Pacific time)

This is pretty hilarious. It's about time somebody paid attention to sham companies like this. How many times I've had pity on these poor kids who get talked into door to door sales, what a great deal for the company!! Maybe some have good experiences -lucky for them. Companies like this have no scruples, no honor.

Hank Ruark February 27, 2010 9:08 am (Pacific time)

Don't wish to appear overly repetitive, but term at heart of matter here is "mafia". It originated to apply vs the legally-recorded activities of a very disreputable mob-cabal, not only in Chicago but in all major American cities, tied tightly to Italian origins. From mine own long-term experience, starting in Chicago where it may have originated, will state again that "mafia" in lower-case version has long been used as generalized term, widely and broadly by many persons, in a wide variety of both contexts and content. Surely that should show it is open to use in any opinion statement, especially one so strong on detailed background as this report. Now we have evidence from their own company blog of what can surely not fail to reflect precisely the kind of activity to which the generalized term, used here in that sense, does refer. The blog-story surely reflects in gory detail just what the original gang-cabal is known to have perpetrated. Perhaps the law firm should seek for itself some fuller understanding of recognized terms permeating the entire English language, as this one so clearly does illustrate. Denial of precisely that fact allows distorted and perverted legal attack on any writer. That demands full,strong and continuing detailed factual presentation prior to costly court action, sure in the long run to cost the legal client considerably more in public attention and massively multiplied public information than any reputed damage from the statement at issue. Of course it is in the law firm interest to ignore and even deny that fact of legal life...stated here for what it may be worth in further full provocation.

douglas benson February 27, 2010 6:40 am (Pacific time)

Truth is the best defense against libel .

Matt Johnson February 26, 2010 8:16 pm (Pacific time)

I found this story on the company's own blog highly unflattering toward their own efforts: SW Company blog: Brutal beating with bats, golf clubs – par for the course on road with traveling sales crew

SW Company blog: Brutal beating with bats, golf clubs – par for the course on road with traveling sales crew

"As frequent readers are aware, one purpose of this blog is to serve as an educational resource about the hazards posed by traveling sales crews - both for potential young people who may consider engagement and the potential victims/consumers they prey on.  These rogue groups are in no way associated with legitimate direct sellers as evidenced by their lack of ethics and their criminal actions.

"Further evidence of the brutality of life in a traveling sales crew:  Notice of a news article dated October 14, entitled “Hotel brawl involves fight over magazine business” by Stacey Mulick of The News Tribune in Tacoma, WA was sent to me by a reader of this blog.  Police in Lakewood, WA arrested six suspects, all members of a traveling magazine sales crew, in the assault of two young men who are alleged to have wanted to leave the crew.  

Around midnight at a hotel, the two victims were beaten with baseball bats and golf clubs.  Police stopped an SUV in the area for not having the lights on.  Matching a description over the scanner, they searched the car and found one person to have a gun and brass knuckles.  Some traveling sales crews are known for using violence and fear as a tool for retention and control.  Some even have an “enforcer” that travels with them that regularly beats up crew members who do not hit a quota, question authority or simply want out.  Violence is an all too familiar and sad reality for life on the road in a traveling sales crew.  It’s a grim reminder as to why these groups are a danger to themselves and the public in general."

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