In July 2018, the so-named National Institute for Truth Verification (NITV) of West Palm Beach, Florida, which markets a scientifically baseless lie detector called the Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA), filed in Florida a federal lawsuit against competitor Dektor Corporation and its sole proprietor, Arthur Herring III, of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. Dektor markets a similarly scientifically baseless voice-based lie detector called the Psychological Stress Evaluator (PSE).
Among other things, NITV alleged “false advertisement, unfair competition, and product disparagement under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)” and “deceptive and unfair trade practices under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.”
On 17 May 2019, a magistrate judge granted a default judgment to NITV after Dektor failed to timely reply to a motion. Among other things, the judge ordered that Dektor and Herring “immediately remove from public view/unpublish the www.NITVCVSAexposed.com website in its entirety.” The aforesaid website, which contained a great deal of unflattering but apparently true documentation about NITV and its founder, Charles Humble, has been taken down in compliance with the court order, although a mirror of the banned website as it appeared on 18 May 2019 remains available.
Evidently not satisfied with its success in removing criticism of itself from the internet, on Saturday, 1 June 2019, NITV, through its lawyer, threatened Dektor Corporation’s IT consultant, Matt Vanderhoff of Center Valley, Pennsylvania, with a federal lawsuit that would be filed in Florida if he did not within four days agree to “the transfer of any ownership or use rights [he] may have in the PSE software/intellectual property/source codes etc. to NITV” and to enter “into a permanent injunction that prohibits [him] from further assisting Mr. Herring with his anti-NITV activities.”
The threat evidently worked, as in reply to a request for comment, Mr. Vanderhoff stated, “Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, due to being forced to an agreement my lawyer and NITV’s lawyer’s [sic] have jointly worked up I am unable to disclose any details. It is very troubling to say the least but I am not in the position to fight an enemy that has deeper pockets.”
Dektor proprietor Arthur Herring III told AntiPolygraph.org that while Mr. Vanderhoff has been his IT consultant for some ten years and had programmed his software and designed and hosted his (Herring’s) websites, he (Vanderhoff) had no ownership interest in Dektor Corporation or its software. Herring expressed concern that the source code he had paid Vanderhoff to program for him would be lost to him and handed over to his competitor, NITV.
NITV’s legal threat to a rival’s IT consultant seems extortionate. AntiPolygraph.org has obtained a copy of the e-mail that NITV’s lawyer, Daniel DeSouza of Fort Lauderdale, Florida sent to Matt Vanderhoff on 1 June 2019, and believing it to be newsworthy, we reproduce it here in full:
From: Daniel DeSouza firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 6/1/19 2:35 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: Matt Vanderhoff email@example.com
Cc: “James D’Loughy – Advisor Law PLLC (JDLOUGHY@advisorlaw.com)” JDLOUGHY@advisorlaw.com
Subject: NITV – FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
This e-mail is sent pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 408 and is for settlement purposes only.
I recognize and respect your prior e-mails asking that we not contact you further regarding this matter, but unfortunately this e-mail needs to be sent and it is my hope that you review it carefully (preferably with your own legal counsel). Through our review of the documents produced during the forensic investigation, conclusions reached regarding the ‘damaged’ hard drive, and positions taken by Mr. Herring concerning ownership of the PSE intellectual property, it is our intention to file a Complaint against both you and Vanderson Corporation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida for aiding and abetting Mr. Herring in his tortious activities and for conspiring with him to engage in such activity. Please note I am not sending this e-mail to convince you that we are right or to argue the point with you back and forth – the bottom line is that our client has pushed for a lawsuit to be filed against you and your company for some time now and we agree with our client’s position.
That said, I am not looking for my client to spend more money on this matter than necessary. My expectation is that the lawsuit with Mr. Herring will soon be over, with a monetary judgment against both Dektor and Herring and a permanent injunction entered. We are awaiting dismissal of Mr. Herring and Dektor’s bankruptcy cases before we proceed in that manner. Given the above, we have 2 choices on how to proceed here. The first option is you ignore this e-mail (your right to do so) and we proceed with suing you in Florida as we did with Mr. Herring. The second option (which I sincerely hope you give serious thought) is that we enter into a settlement agreement wherein NITV will exchange mutual releases with you and Vanderson (with no money to be paid by you or judgment entered against you) in exchange for: (a) the transfer of any ownership or use rights you may have in the PSE software/intellectual property/source codes etc. to NITV and (b) the agreed entry into a permanent injunction that prohibits you from further assisting Mr. Herring with his anti-NITV activities (with a liquidated damages provision in the event of a violation). We would need to agree on the language and other material terms, but that is the gist of what my client will accept in lieu of filing a lawsuit against you and seeking a money judgment therein. The above would also be contingent on the Court allowing entry of an injunction against you as a non-party – if not, we would probably need to file a lawsuit with agreement to immediately dismiss it upon entry of an injunction.
Again, I encourage you to review this with counsel, but understand that we are poised to move forward with the lawsuit if you are not willing to settle along the above terms. If you are interested, please let me know by Wednesday, June 5 at the latest. If I do not hear back from you by then, we will proceed with the lawsuit.
DeSouza Law, P.A.
3111 N. University Drive | Suite 301 | Coral Springs, FL 33065 (Mailing Address)
101 NE Third Avenue | Suite 1500 | Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
954.603.1340 (office) | 954.551.5320 (mobile)
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.desouzalaw.com