What Is This All About?

From Plaintiff's "CIVIL ACTION — AMENDED COMPLAINT (DEFAMATION)" Docket Report - 15-NOV-2010 01:27 PM (Court Document)

(Defendant's Amended ANSWER to Complaint by HELEN HEGENER

Docket Report - 05/24/2011 - 13)

WHITE AND WILLIAMS LLP

Ryan J. Udell/78933

Richard H. Maurer/70298

1800 One Liberty Place

Philadelphia, PA 19103-7395

(215) 864-7088

(215) 789-7588 fax

maurerr@whiteandwilliams.com

  Counsel for Plaintiffs

LEARNING BY GRACE, INC.

10 Shurs Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19127

MIMI ROTHSCHILD

1225 E. Montgomery Avenue

Wynnewood, PA 19096

HOWARD MANDEL

1225 E. Montgomery Avenue

Wynnewood, PA 19096

Plaintiffs

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PHILADELPHIA COURT

OF COMMON PLEAS

THIS IS NOT AN ARBITRATION

MATTER

ASSESSMENT OF DAMAGES

HEARING IS REQUIRED

CIVIL ACTION

MAY TERM 2010

HEATHER IDONI

P.O. Box 878

Fenton, Michigan 48430

HELEN HEGENER

c/o HOME EDUCATION MAGAZINE

P.O. Box 1083

Tonasket, WA 98855-1083

HOME EDUCATION MAGAZINE

P.O. Box 1083

Tonasket, WA 98855-1083

Defendants

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NO. 00381

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

CIVIL ACTION — AMENDED COMPLAINT

(DEFAMATION)

The plaintiffs file this Amended Complaint pursuant to permission granted by the Court on November 2, 2010 to assert new causes of action against defendant, Heather Idoni, and to assert claims against two other defendants, Helen Hegener and Home Education Magazine. As the factual averments of this Amended Complaint, the plaintiffs state as follows:

I. PARTIES

1. Plaintiff, Learning by Grace, Inc. (“LBG”), is a Pennsylvania corporation in good standing with a registered business address of 10 Shurs Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19127. LBG’s affiliated companies include Morning Star Academy, Grace Academy, Jubilee Academy and Southern Baptist Academy.

2. Plaintiff, Mimi Rothschild (“Rothschild”), is an adult individual and resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Rothschild is an officer of LBG, and active in the development and operation of LBG and its affiliate companies. Rothschild resides with her husband, plaintiff Howard Mandel, at the above address.

3. Plaintiff, Howard Mandel (“Mandel”), is an adult individual and resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Mandel is an officer of LBG, and active in the development and operation of LBG and its affiliated companies. Mandel resides with his wife, plaintiff Rothschild, at the above address.

4. Defendant, Heather Idoni (“Idoni”), is an adult individual with a last known address of P.O. Box 878, Fenton, Michigan 48430-2291. By information and belief, Idoni is an owner, proprietor, director and/or officer of Beloved Books, a business entity with a last known address of 8572 Silver Lake Road, Linden, MI 48451. As discussed in more detail below, Idoni published defamatory statements about the plaintiffs on August 13, 2009 and again on August 13, 2010, in Ms. Idoni’s Internet newsletter titled The Homeschooler’s Notebook.

5. Defendant, Helen Hegener (“Hegener”), is an adult individual whose current residential address is unknown, but is believed to located in or around Tonasket, Washington. Ms. Hegener is being served with a copy of this Amended Complaint at the address of defendant Home Education Magazine, a periodical owned and published by Ms. Hegener with an address located at P.O. Box 1083, Tonasket, WA 98855-1083.

6. Defendant, Home Education Magazine (“HEM”) is a periodical owned and published by Ms. Hegener, with an address located at P.O. Box 1083, Tonasket, WA 98855- 1083. HEM currently maintains a website located at http://www.homeedmag.com , which includes a link to a blog operated and/or maintained by HEM which is called “News & Commentary,” or “NewsComm.” As described in more detail below, Ms. Hegener published, on August 13, 2010, defamatory statements about Rothschild on the News & Commentary blog.

II. VENUE AND JURISDICTION

7. Venue of this action is proper in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1006 (a)(1), because plaintiffs’ causes of action arose and/or are based upon transactions and/or occurrences which took place in Philadelphia County.

8. This Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over Idoni pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S. § 5322 (a)(4) because she has caused harm and tortious injury within Pennsylvania, by defamatory acts and/or omissions directed towards the plaintiffs, all of whom are Pennsylvania residents.

9. Indeed, the Court has already considered and rejected Ms. Idoni’s Preliminary Objections based upon an alleged lack of personal jurisdiction. See Exhibit F (Order, Nov. 2, 2010).

10. This Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over Hegener and HEM because each defendant, by information and belief, has conducted a continuous and systematic part of their general business, both individually and through Home Education Magazine, within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

11. Alternatively, the Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over Hegener pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S. § 5322 (a)(l, (2) and (4), because as stated herein, Hegener, both individually and through Home Education Magazine, has: (a) transacted business in Pennsylvania, (b) contracted to supply services or things in Pennsylvania, and (c) caused harm and tortious injury within Pennsylvania, by defamatory acts and/or omissions directed towards the plaintiffs, all of whom are Pennsylvania residents.

III. FACTS

A. The plaintiffs strive to provide excellence in homeschooling materials.

12. For the past 10 years, plaintiffs Rothschild and Mandel have provided home school families and other educational consumers with quality educational products and services, both in Pennsylvania and nationally. Since 2002, Rothschild and Mandel have managed and grown LBG and its affiliates, combining access to Biblically-based online educational resources with a consistently high level of customer service.

13. After years of planning and dedication, plaintiff LBG and its affiliates have established an excellent reputation for the high quality of their homeschooling products and services.

14. Plaintiffs Rothschild and Mandel enjoy a hard-earned reputation for excellence in the homeschooling community, as the result of years of conscientious efforts, both individually and in association with LBG and its affiliates.

B. On August 13, 2009, Idoni published a defamatory article on the Internet about the plaintiffs.

15. On August 13, 2009, Idoni posted onto a publicly accessible web site and/or weblog titled The Homeschooler’s Notebook (http://www.familyclassroom.net/Articles20093/20090813.html), a significant number of false and defamatory communications concerning the plaintiffs.

16. The communications, titled “Notes from Heather,” stated, in material part, as follows:

a. Virtual Homeschool Fraud Warning!

b. This is a good time of year to share this info — hopefully it will save a few families some potential misery.

c. Each of the programs listed below is run by the same person — and they are about the poorest possible choice you could make for homeschooling your children. Each “academy” is heavily advertised and well-funded due to the consistent revenue gained from the defrauding of unsuspecting homeschooling families.

d. Dozens of respected homeschool resource websites and even some homeschooling magazines refuse to accept advertising from them.{. .

e. …resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential revenue — simply because they are unwilling to be associated in ANY WAY with the following organizations:

Morning Star Academy

Learning by Grace

Grace Academy

Jubilee Academy

Southern Baptist Academy

17. Idoni concluded her statements with the following invitation to readers:

a. If you are considering ANY of the above programs, please feel free to email me privately and I will be glad to expound. You can also Google “Mimi Rothschild scam” or “Learning by Grace scam“. – Heather

See Exhibit A (Virtual Homeschool Fraud Alert – Part I).

C. Idoni temporarily took down the August 2009 material.

18. After becoming aware of the above statements made on August 13, 2009 (the “August 2009 material”), Rothschild invited Idoni, at plaintiffs’ expense, to travel to Philadelphia, meet the teachers and staff utilized by LBG and its affiliates, and otherwise review plaintiffs’ operations. The purpose was to demonstrate the legitimacy of plaintiffs’ educational activities — that plaintiffs were in no respect “frauds,” or participants in a “scam.” Ms. Idoni did not respond to the invitation.

19. By letter dated March 29, 2010, plaintiffs asked Idoni to remove the August 2009 material from the Internet, to remove all similarly false and defamatory statements concerning the plaintiffs, and to enter into good faith discussions about: (a) compensating plaintiffs for damages they sustained as the result of Idoni’s statements, and (b) the form and scope of a retraction concerning the statements. See Exhibit B (Letter, March 29, 2010).

20. Shortly after counsels’ letter was mailed, Idoni removed the August 2009 material from the Internet, but did not otherwise respond to the letter of March 29, 2010.

21. On May 4, 2010, plaintiffs commenced this action by filing the initial Complaint, which was based on the August 2009 material discussed above. Plaintiffs subsequently obtained a default judgment against Idoni, which the Court later opened by Order entered on or around August 16, 2010. See Exhibit C (Civil Docket).

D. On July 15, 2010, Idoni reposted the August 2009 material, this time with a new introduction.

22. On July 15, 2010, about two months after plaintiffs commenced this action, Ms. Idoni reposted the August 2009 material to the Internet, and drafted a new introduction for the material which stated as follows:

July 15, 2010: The following content was voluntarily removed on 3/31/2010 after receiving a legal threat from Mimi Rothschild’s attorneys. At the time I thought it was prudent to do so. I am now returning to this published webpage the content that was originally printed and mailed to my readers on 8/13/2009. As it is summer again and families are considering programs for the fall, it is much more important to me that even one family be spared disappointment and financial loss by doing their own internet research on this matter.

See Exhibit A (Introductory paragraph, page 2, bold emphasis in original).

23. Each of the above statements — the August 2009 material and the July 15, 2010 introduction — was evidently intended by Idoni to refer to the plaintiffs, and further, was reasonably understood by Idoni’s readers as referring to the plaintiffs. Idoni’s specific references to plaintiffs Rothschild and LBG, and to each LBG affiliate, are obvious to the reader.

24. Each of the above statements — the August 2009 materials and the July 15, 2010 introduction — could have been readily accessed by a reader located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and by information and belief the statements were in fact read by individuals located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the City of Philadelphia where plaintiff LBG is domiciled, and in the surrounding five-county suburban area, including Montgomery County where plaintiffs Rothschild and Mandel reside

25.Statement 16 (a) falsely characterized the plaintiffs as “frauds,” about which a “warning” was necessary.

26.Statement 16 (b) falsely indicated that with the 2009-2010 school year approaching, potential students would avoid “misery” if they also avoided contact with the plaintiffs.

27. Statement 16 (c) is another false accusation of fraud, which characterized Rothschild as a dishonest person whose goal was to maximize revenue “gained from the defrauding of unsuspecting homeschooling families.” Statement 16 (c) also falsely degraded plaintiffs’ curriculum materials as “about the poorest possible choice you could make for homeschooling your children.”

28. Idoni’s knowingly false accusations that plaintiffs committed fraud are defamation per se.

29. Statement 16 (d) falsely stated that “dozens of respected homeschool resource websites” refused to accept plaintiffs’ advertising, and falsely insinuated that the reasons for those alleged refusals were disreputable business practices engaged in by the plaintiffs.

30. Statement 16 (e) made the false claim that unnamed homeschooling entities would rather lose “hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential revenue” than have contact with the plaintiffs.

31. Idoni’s closing invitation at Statement 17 (a) labeled Rothschild and LBG as participants in a “scam,” and then solicited readers to contact Idoni privately so that Idoni could “expound” further about the plaintiffs.

32. Counsel’s March 29, 2010 Letter is apparently the so-called “legal threat” which Idoni attributes to plaintiffs’ counsel. See Exhibit B.

33. Idoni’s July 15, 2010 introduction, discussed in paragraph 22 above, falsely implies that a family will “be spared disappointment and financial loss” if the family avoids enrollment in a homeschooling curriculum provided by LBG and its affiliates.

E. On August 12, 2010, Idoni published a second defamatory article about the

plaintiffs on the Internet.

34. On August 12, 2010, the anniversary date of the article discussed above, Ms. Idoni published a more extensive article about the plaintiffs, titled Virtual Homeschool Fraud Alert – Part II. See Exhibit D (Virtual Homeschool Fraud Alert – Part II, hereinafter the

“August 2010 material”).

35. The August 2010 material begins with an acknowledgement that Idoni published the August 2009 material, and by providing an additional link to the material. See Exhibit D, first sentence (“Exactly a year ago, on August 13, 2009, I published a Virtual Homeschool Fraud Alert that you might remember reading.”).

36. The August 2010 material is a virtual catalogue of false and defamatory statements about the plaintiffs, the more egregious of which are as follows:

a. My reason for sharing this information was to hopefully minimize the amount of families who might fall victim to these companies and their deceptive tactics.

b. I honestly didn’t realize how many thousands of families had no clue that anything was amiss with Mimi Rothschild and her companies. I was only really thinking about families who were just beginning to homeschool — those who would not have been around long enough to have seen the dozens of testimonies of families who had been defrauded over the past few years.

c. I have firsthand knowledge of several websites who refuse Mimi’s requests to advertise for her cyber academies — or who simply ignore inquiries from her companies’ representatives. They value their own reputations, yes, but first and foremost they want to be able to have a clear conscience before God that they have not in any misled their readers or visitors.

d. But when it comes to dealing with Mimi Rothschild and her educational enterprises, the price of maintaining their integrity has run high. Many have been harassed and degraded for refusing her money.

e. I have never spoken or had any correspondence personally with any of these decision makers — I can only believe that they made their decisions based on what they read independently on the Internet; heartrending stories of despair and desperation from Christian homeschooling families who realized, too late, that they had been taken.

See Exhibit D (Page 1, emphases supplied).

37. After presenting her understanding of plaintiff’s burden of proof in a defamation case (“A thing is only considered defamation if the `victim’ is proven to be innocent of the claims against him or her.”), Idoni reports as true a large number of alleged misdeeds by the plaintiffs which Idoni apparently found on the Internet, including claims that plaintiffs have done the following:

a.Charging customers’ credit cards, sometimes repeatedly over long periods of time, for items that were either advertised as “free” or should have been charged only once.

b. Refusing refunds for customers who are devastated that they just spent $1,000 or more for inappropriate* materials they just received.

c. Materials received that appeared to be used curriculum from a garage sale, etc. — torn, outdated, overly secular with evolution (not Christ-centered, as advertised), and in more than one case, pornographic and/or highly offensive in nature.

See Exhibit D (second page, emphasis supplied in part).

38. Idoni goes on to make the following false statements about “how Mimi has treated several leaders in the online homeschool community:”

a. Constant intimidation and threat of lawsuits against ANYONE who dares to publicly question her activities, motives, etc. or allow negative information about her companies to exist (in any form) or

their website(s).

b. Relentless harassment by phone of those who deny her the opportunity to advertise because they are uncomfortable with the reputation of her companies.

c. Buying up derivatives of domain names of those who disagree with her […], then forwarding the domain to another website which is not family-friendly, degrading the reputation of the owner of the original website. (Actual examples withheld due to privacy issues).

Id.

39. Referring to a list maintained by the New Jersey Homeschool Association of homeschooling options which are “generally considered to be fraudulent,” Idoni states that “Mimi’s companies alone occupy the Fraud Alert page at this time.” Id.

40. In closing, Idoni states that “if you or someone you know has been harmed by one of Mimi’s companies, please contact me. I would be honored to present your story to the jury and see justice done.” See id.

F. Hegener promptly made her own defamatory comments about Ms. Rothschild.

41. On the following day, August 13, 2010, Hegener published an article on

the News & Commentary blog of the Home & Education Magazine website, titled “A Lawsuit from Mimi.” See Exhibit E.

42. In the second sentence of the article, Ms. Hegener stated as follows:

Heather has also been the target of an ongoing campaign by Mimi Rothschild to discredit her for taking a principled stand against Mimi’s notoriously unethical business practices, and now Heather

is embroiled in a lawsuit brought against her by Mimi.

Id. (emphasis supplied).

43. Ms. Hegener goes on to republish Idoni’s August 2010 material, by providing her readers with an excerpt followed by a link to the material. Hegener also provides a link to Idoni’s initial “Homeschool Fraud Alert.” Id.

44. Ms. Rothschild has not waged an “ongoing campaign” against Ms. Idoni, nor has Ms. Rothschild attempted to “discredit” Idoni “for taking a principled stand.” Hegener’s statements that Ms. Rothschild has done these things are false and defamatory.

45. Ms. Rothschild’s business practices are not “unethical,” nor are they “notoriously unethical.” Hegener’s statement that Ms. Rothschild’s business practices are “notoriously unethical” is false and defamatory.

46. As a direct and proximate result of the statements made by Idoni and by Hegener which are discussed in detail above, the plaintiffs have sustained substantial damages, including, but not limited to: (a) loss of standing in the community, (b) damage to their reputations, (c) severe emotional upset (Rothschild and Mandel); (d) loss of marital consortium (Mandel), and (e) loss of business.

47. By Order dated November 2, 2010, the Court granted plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint, and ordered plaintiffs to file their Amended Complaint no later than November 12, 2010. See Exhibit F (Order, Nov. 2, 2010).

IV. CAUSES OF ACTION

COUNT I

DEFAMATION — Rothschild, Mandel and LBG v. Idoni (August 2009 material)

48. Plaintiffs incorporate the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

49. The statements contained in the August 2009 material published by Idoni are defamatory, because they depict plaintiffs as engaged in dishonest practices which violate civil and criminal law. Idoni’s statements about the plaintiffs contain false information which no person or company would want to have repeated about them. See Exhibit A.

50. The inferences, innuendos and implications that reasonably flow from the defamatory statements were comprehensible to all persons to whom they were published, and are likewise defamatory of the plaintiffs.

51. Idoni wrote and published the defamatory statements while knowing that they were false, recklessly disregarding the risk that they were false, and/or by negligently failing to determine the falsity of the statements before publishing them.

52. Idoni knowingly wrote and published the defamatory statements with the specific intent to harm all the plaintiffs, both professionally and personally.

53. The defamatory statements, and the inferences, innuendos and implications that reasonably flow from the statements, have spread throughout plaintiffs’ community and have damaged plaintiffs’ reputations, lowering them in the estimation of the community and compromising current and future business ventures.

54. Confirming the scope and the impact of Idoni’s defamatory statements, plaintiffs have received rejections from homeschooling trade shows which in the past welcomed the plaintiffs’ participation.

55. The following recent events demonstrate that plaintiffs’ recent trade show rejections were caused by Idoni’s defamatory statements, and/or related innuendo:

a. On or around March 1, 2010, Arizona Families for Home Education initially accepted LBG’s payment of an exhibitor’s fee, but in a sudden reversal, then called to advise that LBG’s application would be rejected. Eventually, Rothschild was advised by event planners that the rejection was because of Idoni’s statements and/or innuendo that plaintiffs are frauds, participants in a “scam,” and that prospective customers should avoid them.

b. On or around April 14, 2010, the Oklahoma Home Educators Convention advised Rothschild that LBG’s application was being rejected because of “things on the Internet.”

c. Despite being an exhibitor at the MassHope homeschooling event in previous years, plaintiffs were rejected for 2010. This rejection was also based upon Idoni’s statements and/or innuendo that plaintiffs are frauds, part of a “scam,” and that customers should avoid them.

d. After years of exhibiting at the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania, plaintiffs were rejected for 2010, also because of Idoni’s defamatory statements.

e. LBG Member Services Representatives are frequently asked words to the effect of “what’s up with Mimi Rothschild and the posts that say she is a scam artist?”

56. While Pennsylvania law no longer recognizes the doctrine of conditional privilege, Idoni had no applicable privilege to publish the defamatory statements.

57. Plaintiffs are entitled to recover from Idoni such damages as will compensate them for harm to their professional and personal reputations, for mental and emotional suffering sustained by the individual plaintiffs, for the humiliation and embarrassment caused by Idoni’s propagation of the defamatory statements, and for the innuendos and implications which flowed from them.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs demand judgment against defendant, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of taxable costs, and for such other relief as the Court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

COUNT II

FALSE LIGHT — Rothschild, Mandel and LBG v. Idoni (August 2009 material)

58. Plaintiffs incorporate the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

59. The defamatory statements contained in the August 2009 material, particularly the multiple accusations of fraud directed against the plaintiffs, the statement that prospective customers would avoid “misery” by not dealing with the plaintiffs, and the statement and innuendo that reputable members of the homeschooling community were “shunning” the plaintiffs and would have nothing to do with them, placed plaintiffs in a false light before the public — a false light that was highly offensive to plaintiffs, and that would be highly offensive to any reasonable person or business. See Exhibit A.

60. Idoni wrote and published the defamatory statements with knowledge of, or while acting in reckless disregard of their falsity, as well as of the highly offensive false light in which they placed plaintiffs before the public.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs demand judgment against defendant, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of taxable costs, and for such other relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

COUNT III

DEFAMATION — Rothschild, Mandel and LBG v. Idoni (August 2010 material)

61. Plaintiffs incorporate the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

62. The statements contained in the August 2010 material published by Idoni are defamatory, because they depict plaintiffs as engaged in additional dishonest practices which violate civil and criminal law. The statements which Idoni made about the plaintiffs in August 2010 contain additional false information which no person or company would want to have repeated about them. See Exhibit D.

63. The inferences, innuendos and implications that reasonably flow from the defamatory statements contained in the August 2010 material were comprehensible to all persons to whom they were published, and are likewise defamatory of the plaintiffs.

64. Idoni wrote, published and/or spoke the defamatory statements while knowing that they were false, recklessly disregarding the risk that they were false, and/or by negligently failing to determine the falsity of the statements before publishing them.

65. Idoni knowingly wrote and published the defamatory statements with the specific intent to harm all the plaintiffs, both professionally and personally. Idoni’s intent to harm the plaintiffs is confirmed by the timing of the August 2010 material. It was published immediately before the upcoming school year, when homeschooling families would be most likely to search the Internet for information about the plaintiffs, particularly from sources such as Idoni which purport to be authoritative.

66. The defamatory statements, and the inferences, innuendos and implications that reasonably flow from the statements, have spread throughout plaintiffs’ community and have damaged plaintiffs’ reputations, lowering them in the estimation of the community and compromising current and future business ventures.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs demand judgment against defendant, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of taxable costs, and for such other relief as the Court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

COUNT IV

FALSE LIGHT — Rothschild, Mandel and LBG v. Idoni (August 2010 material)

67. Plaintiffs incorporate the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

68. The defamatory statements contained in the August 2010 material, including the statements that plaintiffs had wrongfully charged customers’ credit cards, wrongfully refused refunds to “customers who are devastated that they just spent $1,000 or more for inappropriate materials,” and in particular that plaintiffs supplied educational materials which appeared to be “from a garage sale,” and were further “pornographic and/or highly offensive in nature,” placed plaintiffs in a false light before the public — a false light that was highly offensive to plaintiffs, and that would be highly offensive to any reasonable person or business. See Exhibit D.

69. The additional defamatory statements contained in the August 2010 material, including the accusations that Mr. Rothschild had engaged in “constant intimidation and threat of lawsuits,” “relentless harassment by phone of those who deny her the opportunity to advertise,” and of “forwarding [an Internet] domain to another website which is not familyfriendly,” thus “degrading the reputation of the owner of the original website,” likewise put plaintiffs in a false light before the public that was highly offensive to plaintiffs, and that would be highly offensive to any reasonable person or business. See id.

70. Idoni wrote and published the defamatory statements with knowledge of, or while acting in reckless disregard of their falsity, as well as of the highly offensive false light in which they placed plaintiffs before the public.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs demand judgment against defendant, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of taxable costs, and for such other relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

<

u>COUNT V

INTERFERENCE WITH PROSPECTIVE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGE — Rothschild,

Mandel and LBG v. Idoni (material from August 2009 and August 2010)

71. Plaintiffs incorporate the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

72. Idoni’s defamatory statements, namely the August 2009 material and the August 2010 material, have interfered and/or will in the future interfere with plaintiffs’ contractual relations, business relations, economic opportunities and earning capacities.

73. Valuable business opportunities recently lost to the plaintiffs because of the August 2009 materials are listed at Count I above, which is specifically incorporated by reference.

74. It is too early to ascertain the business opportunities which plaintiffs have lost, and/or will lose in the future, because of the August 2010 materials. Due to the scope and content of those materials, it is forseeable that the August 2010 materials will proximately interfere with plaintiffs’ future contractual relations, business relations, economic opportunities and earning capacities.

75. Idoni knew, and/or reasonably should have known, that her defamatory statements would forseeably cause harm to plaintiffs’ current and/or prospective contractual relations, business relations, economic opportunities and earning capacities, particularly considering the timing — during the back to school enrollment period — of the statements.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs demand judgment against defendant, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of taxable costs, and for such other relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

COUNT VI

LOSS OF CONSORTIUM — Mandel v. Idoni (material from August 2009 and August

2010)

76. Plaintiff Mandel incorporates the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

77. Idoni’s defamatory statements have taken a particularly heavy emotional toll upon plaintiff Rothschild, who as a result of the statements has experienced severe emotional upset, frequent inability to sleep, loss of appetite, prolonged periods of depressive symptoms, recent unexplained skin rashes which required urgent medical care, and an overall loss of interest in life’s pleasures.

78. As Rothschild’s husband, Mandel had rights to the undisturbed companionship, comfort, affection, assistance and society of plaintiff Rothschild, which are collectively known as marital consortium.

79. Solely by reason of Idoni’s defamatory statements, and the damages sustained by Rothschild as a result of the defamatory statements, Mandel has been and may in the future be deprived of marital consortium.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff Mandel demands judgment against defendant, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of recoverable costs, and for such other relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

COUNT VII

DEFAMATION – Rothschild, Mandel and LBG v. Hegener and Home Education Magazine

80. Plaintiffs incorporate the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

81. The statements contained in Hegener’s August 13, 2010 Internet posting on the “NewsComm” blog contained in the website maintained and published by Home Education Magazine discussed above, that “Heather has also been the target of an ongoing campaign by Mimi Rothschild to discredit her for taking a principled stand against Mimi’s notoriously unethical business practices,” are defamatory, because they depict Ms. Rothschild as engaged in dishonest and unethical practices. Hegener’s statement about Ms. Rothschild contains false information which no person or company would want to have repeated about them. See Exhibit E.

82. Hegener also republished on the NewsComm blog the defamatory statements contained in the August 2009 and August 2010 material previously published by Idoni, without a privilege or other justification to do so. See Exhibit E.

83. The inferences, innuendos and implications that reasonably flow from Hegener’s defamatory statements and her republication of Idoni’s defamatory statements were comprehensible to all persons to whom they were published, and are likewise defamatory of the plaintiffs.

84. Hegener wrote, published and/or spoke the defamatory statements while knowing that they were false, recklessly disregarding the risk that they were false, and/or by negligently failing to determine the falsity of the statements before publishing them.

85. Hegener knowingly wrote and published the defamatory statements with the specific intent to harm all the plaintiffs, both professionally and personally.

86. Hegener’s intent to harm the plaintiffs is confirmed by the timing of her defamatory statements. They were published immediately before the upcoming school year, when homeschooling families would be most likely to search the Internet for information about the plaintiffs, particularly from sources such as Hegener and her publication, Home Education Magazine, which purport to be authoritative.

87. Hegener’s intent to harm plaintiffs is further confirmed by earlier statements she had published about the plaintiffs, in a April 2008 Internet article titled Mimi Rothschild – Taking over Homeschooling?

88. Illustrating the close connection between Idoni and Hegener, and their shared interest in harming the plaintiffs, Ms. Idoni included a link to the Taking over Homeschooling article in her August 2010 material. See Exhibit D, second page (advising readers to “check the list compiled by Helen Hegener of Home Education Magazine”).

89. Hegener’s defamatory statements, and the inferences, innuendos and implications that reasonably flow from the statements, have spread throughout plaintiffs’ community and have damaged plaintiffs’ reputations, lowering them in the estimation of the community and compromising current and future business ventures.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs demand judgment against defendants, jointly and severally, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of taxable costs, and for such other relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

COUNT VIII

FALSE LIGHT — Rothschild, Mandel and LBG v. Hegener and Home Education Magazine

90. Plaintiffs incorporate the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

91. The defamatory statements contained in Hegener’s August 13, 2010 Internet article, namely the accusation that Ms. Rothschild was taking part in “an ongoing campaign” to “discredit” Heather Idoni “for taking a principled stand against Mimi’s notoriously unethical business practices,” placed plaintiffs in a false light before the public — a false light that was highly offensive to plaintiffs, and that would be highly offensive to any reasonable person or business. See Exhibit E.

92. Hegener wrote and published the defamatory statements with knowledge of, or while acting in reckless disregard of their falsity, as well as of the highly offensive false light in which they placed plaintiffs before the public.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs demand judgment against defendants, jointly and severally, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of taxable costs, and for such other relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

COUNT IX

INTERFERENCE WITH PROSPECTIVE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGE – Rothschild, Mandel and LBG v. Hegener and Home Education Magazine

93. Plaintiffs incorporate the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

94. It is too early to ascertain the business opportunities which plaintiffs have lost, and/or will lose in the future, because of the defamatory statements which Hegener posted on August 13, 2010. However, due to the content of those materials, it is forseeable that the August 2010 materials will proximately interfere with plaintiffs’ future contractual relations, business relations, economic opportunities and earning capacities.

95. Hegener knew, and/or reasonably should have known, that her defamatory statements would forseeably cause harm to plaintiffs’ current and/or prospective contractual relations, business relations, economic opportunities and earning capacities, particularly considering the timing – during the back to school enrollment period – of the statements.

WHEREFORE, plaintiffs demand judgment against defendants, jointly and severally, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of taxable costs, and for such other relief as the court deems just and equitable under the circumstances.

JURY DEMAND

Plaintiffs hereby demand trial by jury on all issues so triable.

NOTICE FOR PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE

Plaintiffs hereby demand that each defendant take all necessary action to assure the preservation of all e-mails, correspondence, websites, blog postings, communications, documents, items and things, whether in electronic format, conventional hard copy format, or otherwise, which are accessible to defendant or in the possession, custody or control of the defendant, and which constitute and/or relate to the subject matter of this civil action, or which are or may be in any manner relevant, or reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence, in this civil action.

WHITE AND WILLIAMS LLP

By:

Richard H. Maurer, Esquire/70298

1800 One Liberty Place

Philadelphia, PA 19103-7395

(215) 864-7088

(215) 789-7588 fax

maurerr@whiteandwilliams.com

Counsel for Plaintiffs

Dated: November 12, 2010

Count X

LOSS OF CONSORTIUM – Mandel v. Hegener and Home Education Magazine

96. Plaintiff Mandel incorporates the preceding paragraphs of this Amended Complaint by reference.

97. Hegener’s defamatory statements have taken a particularly heavy emotional toll upon plaintiff Rothschild, who as a result of the statements has experienced severe emotional upset, frequent inability to sleep, loss of appetite, prolonged periods of depressive symptoms, recent unexplained skin rashes which required urgent medical care, and an overall loss of interest in life’s pleasures.

98. As Rothschild’s husband, Mandel had rights to the undisturbed companionship, comfort, affection, assistance and society of plaintiff Rothschild, which are collectively known as marital consortium.

99. By reason of Hegener’s defamatory comments, and the damages sustained by Rothschild as a result of the defamatory statements, Mandel has been and may in the future be deprived of marital consortium.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff Mandel demands judgment against defendants, jointly and

severally, for compensatory damages in excess of the jurisdictional limit, for an award of [in original]

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

Richard H. Maurer certifies that on the date stated below, he caused to be served a true and correct copy of Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint upon the following persons by U.S. Postal Service Certified Mail, postage prepaid and return receipt requested:

HEATHER IDONI

P.O. Box 878

Fenton, Michigan 48430

Defendant

HELEN HEGENER

c/o HOME EDUCATION MAGAZINE

P.O. Box 1083:

Tonasket, WA 98855-1083

Defendant

HOME EDUCATION MAGAZINE

P.O. Box 1083

Tonasket, WA 98855-1083

Defendant

By:

Richard H. Maurer, Esquire/70298

1800 One Liberty Place

Philadelphia, PA 19103-7395

(215) 864-7088

(215) 789-7588 fax

maurerr@whiteandwilliams.com

Counsel for Plaintiffs

Dated: November 12, 2010

Court File (pdf)

Exhibit A (pdf)

Exhibit B (pdf)

Exhibit C (pdf)

Exhibit D (pdf)

Exhibit E (pdf)

Exhibit F (pdf)

Defendant’s Amended ANSWER to Complaint by HELEN HEGENER

Docket Report – 05/24/2011 – 13

11-cv-02971-JS-doc-13.pdf