Queries about Dr. Wallach’s alleged Youngevity infidelity restricted
Among other things, Wakaya Perfection allege Youngevity affiliates slept with Wallach in exchange for financial benefit.
Discovery in the case saw Wakaya Perfection demand Wallach answer questions about his sex life. Specifically whether or not he’d been intimate with Youngevity affiliates.
Wallach objected to the questions
on the bases that they are overbroad, seek information that is not relevant to the claims and defenses in this case, are not proportional to the needs of the case, and are meant to harass.
A protective order was sought to prevent Wallach from having to answer. Youngevity also sought to have Wakaya Perfection prohibited from asking Wallach’s son Steve and his wife Michelle ‘from responding to deposition questions that relate to Dr. Wallach’s marital and sexual history‘.
A decision on the sought protective order was made on June 22nd.
With respect to Wallach (right) having to identify
each and every person with whom [he] ha[s] entered into a legal marriage, domestic partnership, cohabitation, or substantially similar relationship and the dates on which such relationship commenced,
the court agreed the interrogatory is ‘not relevant to any claim or defense at issue in this case‘.
The Court is persuaded that this interrogatory was calculated to harass, embarrass, and implicate the privacy interests of Dr. Wallach.
The protective order also covered Steve and Michelle Wallach not having to respond to questioning about it in their respective depositions.
On the more intrusive nature of Wallach’s alleged sexual history with Youngevity affiliates, the court took a more lenient stance. Sort of.
The court ruled the sexual history interrogatory, as is, was too broad.
- it wasn’t ‘limited in scope to any allegedly inappropriate conduct that purportedly led to the departure of distributors‘
- it was not restricted timewise (for example spanning the period during which Youngevity affiliates left for Wakaya) and
- Dr. Wallach’s professional reputation is under scrutiny, not his ‘reputation for marital faithfulness or sexual discretion‘
Evidence not tied to specific witnesses, assertions lacking factual support and inadmissible hearsay were also cited.
What the court did rule however is, should they choose to do, Wakaya can seek to obtain info on Wallach’s misconduct via narrower questioning.
The Wakaya parties may make a more limited inquiry, either by written interrogatories or by deposition questions posed to Dr. Wallach, Steve Wallach, or Michelle Wallach, into whether Dr. Wallach has ever used his influence to try to obtain a more favorable distribution-line position for anyone with whom he had, or was trying to have, an intimate physical relationship.
Basically by asking Wallach who he pulled favors for, as opposed to who he slept with, the information Wallach has to give up on who he slept with is much narrower.
The court also specifically clarified that Wakaya can query Youngevity on whether or not they’d received any complaints regarding Wallach and if so, what action they took to remedy the complaints.
In an attempt to address concerns about the lack of evidence identifying specific Youngevity affiliates, Wakaya Perfection’s attorneys offered to ‘make a more detailed proffer of the names of the witnesses and the facts mentioned in his declaration in an in camera submission‘.
The court rejected the offer on procedural grounds (evidence should have been filed with Wakaya’s objection to the protective order), however Wakaya were given permission to query Wallach about specific Youngevity affiliates if they
(1) have evidence that the distributor was actually moved into a more favorable distribution-line position relative to the position of one of the distributors who left Youngevity for Wakaya;
(2) have evidence that Dr. Wallach used his influence to obtain that more favorable distribution-line position for the distributor; and
(3) have an evidence-based, good-faith belief that Dr. Wallach had or was trying to have an intimate physical relationship with that distributor.
Any such queries about discovered relationships must exclude ‘details of the physical nature of the relationship’.
My reading into this is the court’s decision leans toward “where there’s smoke there’s probably fire”.
The difficulty in navigating the issue is balancing what Wallach has to disclose, without it turning into an embarrassing and debaucherous free-for-all (as entertaining as that might be).
Wakaya’s attorneys have represented that they have hard evidence of misconduct, so I suppose it’s only a matter of time before they get Wallach to discuss specific Youngevity affiliates he was in contact with who benefited.
If misconduct is indeed confirmed to have taken place, two parties you have to feel a bit sorry for are Dr. Wallach’s wife and any Youngevity affiliates who got screwed over (no pun intended). Especially if this has been going for years, which it’s sort of sounding like.
Youngevity and Wakaya have been given until 5pm on June 26th to sort out any outstanding discovery disputes.