On July 27th the FTC moved for a three-week continuance of their scheduled trial against Neora.

The court denied the motion on August 5th, meaning unless a settlement is reached, the parties are on track for a courtroom showdown.

The FTC moved for a continuance

due to recent extensions to the summary judgment briefing schedule and hearing date that put pressure on an already compressed pre-trial schedule.

As a result of the extensions, the parties’ pre-trial materials—currently due on September 19—are scheduled to be submitted nine days before the Court hears oral argument on the parties’ summary judgment motions on September 28.

That means the parties will have to submit, and the Court may have to review, updated versions of their pre-trial materials that incorporate the Court’s summary judgment rulings, including revised pre-trial orders, witness lists, exhibit lists, deposition designations, findings of fact, and conclusions of law.

The new materials would need to be filed in the period of time between any summary judgment ruling and trial—at most nineteen days under the current schedule.

The FTC thus requests a modest extension to mitigate the scheduling concerns caused by the recent extensions, and no longer.

The court wasn’t fussed and ordered the trial to proceed as scheduled.

The bench trial in this case shall begin at noon on October 17, 2022, and shall proceed according to the attached trial schedule.

Each side shall have 20 hours total, including opening statements, direct and cross examination, and closing arguments.

As per their lawsuit filed back in 2019, the FTC alleges Neora (formerly Nerium) is a pyramid scheme.

The FTC head into the trial knowing that even if they win, Neora and owner Jeff Olsen (right) won’t have to pay back their victims.

This is uncharted territory, but I think at best the FTC is looking at a granted injunction. This will see Neora forced to stop operating as a pyramid scheme.

Vemma settled their FTC case with similar conditions. Unable to operate as a pyramid scheme, Vemma as a brand never recovered.

Alternatively, Neora wins the case and gets to continue causing harm to consumers.

The FTC has put forth that less than 1% of Neora’s sales revenue is attributable to retail sales. The regulator also alleges that over 95% of Neora distributors lose money each month.

This is down to a business model that, as reviewed here on BehindMLM, focuses on distributor autoship recruitment.

Despite failed attempts to settle the case over the years, a settlement may yet still be on the cards. On August 9th the court referred the case back to mediation.

 

Update 2nd October 2022 – Just a quick update on the summary judgment motions, they were denied as moot on September 29th.

We’re still on track for an October 17th trial kickoff as at the time of this update.