Lyoness loses blogger defamation lawsuit in Poland
Lyoness has lost a five-year defamation lawsuit brought against two bloggers in Poland.
The suit pertained to articles published under the pseudonym “antylyoness” on the “blox.pl” website from 2013.
As reported by CMWP, the Press Freedom Monitoring Center of the Polish Journalists Association, all but one charge against the bloggers were dismissed early on.
The prevailing defamation charge saw Lyoness claim the bloggers had
violated the good name of the company (by) publishing false statements about it.
Lyoness prevailed on the one defamation charge against one of the bloggers. The other blogger was acquitted.
Due to the court finding the alleged act of defamation created “no social harm” however, no penalty was imposed.
In other words it was a hollow victory.
Nonetheless, the blogger appealed the decision in the Katowice District Court.
The appeals court ruled in favor of the blogger, finding
the penalty imposed by the court of first instance … was unjustified, because in this case the blog entry related to the criminal proceedings … was a statement by an anonymous person using only a pseudonym.
It is not even known whether the accused person consistently pleaded not guilty.
It is also telling that the other blogger accused in this case, who faced the same charges, was acquitted.
As I understand it, the cleared blogger will now attempt to recoup legal costs from Lyoness.
The blog post attached to Lyoness’ prevailing count was a quote from Poland’s Minister of Finance.
CMWP, who filed an amicus brief in the case, adds;
It should be emphasized that the entire questioned statement from 2013, which reads:
“Currently, proceedings are pending before the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection regarding the application by Lyoness Poland Sp. z o. o. practices infringing collective consumer interests” was a faithful quote from the statement of the Minister of Finance, not rashly expressed, but articulated in writing to the then Speaker of the Senate of the Republic of Poland.
The magazine was publicly available on the Internet on the official websites of these offices.
There was no reason to question their content.
Emphasizing the danger to consumers if MLM scammers silence whistleblowers with legal action, here’s what happened in Poland while Lyoness’ lawsuit played out:
- in 2014 Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) warned Lyoness “could be” a Ponzi scheme
- in 2016 Lyoness’ Terms and Conditions were declared illegal under Polish law
- in 2017 UOKiK issued another Lyoness scam warning
- in February 2020 UOKiK certified Lyoness was an illegal pyramid scheme
- in October 2021 Polish authorities seized $6.4 million from Lyoness’ bank accounts, with the aim of returning the funds to Lyoness victims
Being at the forefront of MLM fraud reporting for over a decade, BehindMLM is no stranger to legal threats from MLM companies and scammers alike.
BehindMLM’s official policy is to forward legal threats received to US authorities.