Root Wellness sued by Metron Nutraceuticals
Metron Neutraceuticals, an Ohio based supplement manufacturer, has sued Root Wellness and principals Clayton Thomas and Christina Rahm Cook.
According to Metron, Root Wellness has infringed on its intellectual property and patents.
Metron’s relationship with Clayton Thomas , owner and CEO of Root Wellness, dates back to 2014.
According to Metron, on October 24th, 2014, Thomas (right) executed a “non-solicitation, confidentiality and non-compete” employee agreement.
Thomas met Christina Cook “sometime in 2015, or possibly earlier”.
Thomas and Cook started a relationship that also eventually rewarded Thomas with financial assistance and employment.
Catching Metron allegedly unaware,
in July 2015 … Thomas started Personalized Health Solutions, a company in the business of selling and distributing zeolite products.
Metron claims Thomas’ business venture was a “direct violation” of the previously signed agreement.
The same month Personalized Health Solutions was launched, Christina Cook
entered into a Mutual Confidentiality Agreement with Metron.
The stated purpose of the agreement was to evaluate “the possibility of future business relationships between the parties”.
On August 25th, 2015, Thomas resigned from Metron. He continued to business with the company however, as an “independent contractor”.
This arrangement saw Metron and Thomas enter into a Mutual Confidentiality Agreement.
As alleged by Metron;
On September 5, 2015, Thomas contacted Larry Hopfenspirger, a Metron investor, in an effort to gain financial support for the creation of a “knock off’ patent that copied Metron’s patents, intellectual property, and/or trade secrets.
It was Thomas’s desire, on September 5, 2015, to manufacture a water-soluble zeolite product that was a “knock off” of Metron’s water-soluble zeolite product(s).
Upon information and belief, Cook and Thomas were conspiring to create a “knock off” of Metron’s product(s) with the use, aid, and assistance of Metron’s intellectual property and trade secrets.
Metron alleges that Cook filed patent applications in October 2015, after she was given unauthorized access to certain Metron patents by Thomas.
Cook’s Provisional Patent Application copied the format, content, language, and information from Metron’s Provisional Patent Application, including the Two Step Process, which were never available to the public.
Following a challenge by Metron, Cook’s patent applications were rejected by the US Patent & Trademark Office.
That didn’t stop Cook and Thomas from marketing products believed to be derived from Metron’s alleged confidential information and trade secrets, prompting Metron to file for a Temporary Restraining order in February 2016.
The TRO was granted in May 2016. A permanent injunction was issued three weeks later in June.
The injunction prohibited Thomas from conducting zeolite product related business until June 17th, 2019.
Metron provided Cook with a copy of the judgment in July 2016.
The company also requested information on Cooks involvement with Thomas, related to zeolites products and business plans, but claims they were ignored.
Metron alleges Cook and Thomas
continued business dealings … which include(d) developing and selling … “knock-off” Metron products … based on Metron’s trade secrets.
Metron returned to court and in August 2016 Thomas was found to be in contempt of the previous judgment.
In October 2016 Thomas’ contempt was escalated to a criminal offense. He was subsequently fined $1000 and sentenced to 130 days in jail.
In April 2017 Thomas was remanded to Cuyahoga County jail to serve three days imprisonment.
The remainder of the sentence was suspended, pending Thomas paying a $250 fine and sticking to the judgment.
According to Metron, the origins of Root Wellness date back to September 2018.
On or around September 2018, Thomas and/or Cook submitted urine samples to Access Medical Labs under the client name: “Root Detox Drops.”
On February 5, 2019, Simply Wholeistic, Inc. filed its Articles of Incorporation with the Tennessee Secretary of State.
“Root, Inc.” is the assumed corporate name for Simply Wholeistic, Inc.
Clayton Thomas signed the Application for Registration of Assumed Corporate name on April 2, 2019 as the “Chief Marketing Officer” for Simply Wholeistic, Inc.
Cook is a principal, employee, and/or agent for Simply Wholeistic, Inc.
Thomas is a principal, employee, and/or agent for Simply Wholeistic, Inc.
Under the name “Root,” Thomas and/or Cook advertise Simply Wholeistic, Inc. and/or Root Wellness, LLC as a multi-level marketing company.
Upon information and belief, Thomas and Cook share in the profits generated by Root Wellness, LLC.
Metron identifies Root Wellness’ Clean Slate supplement as “a knock off of Metron’s product(s) and purportedly based upon Metron’s trade secrets”.
In a nutshell, it’s alleged Root Wellness is another example of Thomas breaching his judgment order.
Metron also alleges Thomas actively attempted to interfere with its business relationships.
On or around January 16, 2020, Metron was in the process of negotiating and entering into a business relationship with ZOI Global related to the sale of Metron products.
On January 16, 2020, Thomas had a phone conversation with Denise Stephens from ZOI Global. The conversation was recorded.
Thomas deceptively identified himself as “Ray Owens” during the phone call.
During that conversation, Thomas lied to Ms. Stephens about his identify for the sole purpose of interfering with Dr. Tsirikos-Karapanos and/or Metron’s existing or potential business relationship with third-parties, specifically ZOI Global.
Thomas attempted to dissuade ZOI Global from entering into any dealing with Metron by defaming Metron and Dr. Tsirikos-Karapanos and by spreading lies and falsehoods.
Metron is seeking an injunction and damages across four counts, with Root Wellness, Thomas and Cook all named defendants.
Separately Metron have also filed a fresh motion in their previous case, requesting Thomas show cause as to why he shouldn’t again be held in contempt.
That motion was filed on July 3rd.
Given both cases were filed in County Court, I can’t track them on Pacer. Nonetheless, if we receive any updates in either case we’ll let you know below.
Update 20th July 2023 – As of July 18th both of Metron’s cases have concluded.
In the first case Clayton Thomas was ordered to pay Metron $222,360.
The second case ended in a messy double KO, with neither metron or the Defendants prevailing in their respective filed complaint and counterclaims.