Vivera Engages Byrd Campbell to Lead $500 Million Lawsuit Against USA Today
Vivera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced the appointment of leading corporate law firm, Byrd Campbell, P.A., to represent the Company in its defamation lawsuit against USA Today and its parent companies, Gannett Co., Inc. and Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC (“Gannett”).
In June 2021, USA Today published a defaming article about Vivera and its CEO, Paul Edalat. The piece was littered with inaccuracies about the Company’s products and personal attacks on Edalat’s professional reputation. To date, USA Today and Gannett have filed two demurrers, which the Court overruled, determining that Gannett executives and reporters may now be found directly liable for defamation, defamation per se, and tortious interference.
The high-profile case against USA Today has attracted the attention of three of the most prominent trial firms, including Byrd Campbell, P.A., because it exemplifies the delicate balance between the interests served by defamation law and the First Amendment right of free speech and free press. There is a high level of protection against defamation challenges in the US to avoid the risk of censoring the press, making Vivera’s recent favorable decisions from the judge no small feat and showing the extent of gross negligence by USA Today in their reporting about Vivera.
Tucker H. Byrd of the law firm Byrd Campbell, P.A., who will lead the trial team along with former Congressman, Alan Grayson, said, “We took on this case because it represents a referendum on a timely topic in society today—what are the constitutional limits on the power of the media. Even the First Amendment right to free speech has limits and does not allow defamation. Knowing we’re facing a formidable media giant in USA Today, we assembled a trial team which we believe has the courtroom mettle to put USA Today to that test.”
With over 39 years of legal experience, Mr. Byrd has represented many of the world’s largest companies and financial firms. He is an expert in business litigation before courts, juries, and arbitrators and will utilize his multifaceted background to lead the legal strategy of the case.
“Jack White built a strong foundation for our case, winning us several favorable decisions from the judge, forcing USA Today to engage in litigation fully,” said Paul Edalat, Chairman and CEO of Vivera, regarding the former case’s counsel who left his previous firm to pursue new opportunities. “We are pleased to work with this new legal team, who is going to finish the job, clearing both Vivera and my name of the reputational damage and significant financial losses north of $500 million caused by USA Today and the other defendants.”