Mahendra Trivedi makes the outlandish claim that he can cure cancer and make cattle and crops grow better with energy from his body.
If your immediate response is “Hogwash!” and you blog that response, Trivedi may sue you for defamation. Ask Minnesota blogger Dennis Lang:
According to a lawsuit, the success of the “Trivedi Effect” has been torpedoed by online smears from a guy in St. Paul named Dennis Lang.
…in an affidavit filed in court in March, Trivedi said Lang had published “terrible, false statements about me” that had hurt his business and scared away business associates and supporters, including Deepak Chopra, the world-famous self-help and meditation maven.
Trivedi and Lang have never met or spoken, though Lang said he tried to get an interview once. Lang said he has always pursued his inquiries with skepticism, not malice.
“I felt I was telling what was truthful about him,” he said.
Lang said he was thinking of writing a magazine article when he posted a comment in March 2011 on the Deepak Chopra blog, asking anyone who had direct contact with Trivedi to contact him. He said a number of former employees and others responded, including some who told stories “that were nothing short of harrowing,” according to an affidavit he filed in February.
One of those people created a blog, PurQi.com, which became a forum for critical posts about Trivedi. Among other accusations, Lang’s postings questioned the scientific basis of the “Trivedi Effect,” called Trivedi a “sham” and reported allegations of sexual misconduct and immigration violations, according to the lawsuit. [James Eli Shiffer, “Minnesota Blogger Sued for Defamation Finds It All a Learning Experience,” Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 2015.07.04].
The idea that a medicine man can claim that he can cure cancer, offer no reliable or replicable scientific proof of said claim, and then sue those who point out that lack of scientific proof is remarkable and appalling. But Lang’s claims have gone beyond scientific skepticism to include grave allegations of criminal conduct.
I am curious to see if Trivedi now sues the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Dakota Free Press for reporting such statements. I’m also curious to know what you think of the content you’ve seen on this blog over the past few years. Have any of my reports on Richard Benda, Joop Bollen, Marty Jackley, Annette Bosworth, or others crept into defamation territory? Remember: to prove defamation, you have to prove that (1) the statement is false and (2) it is made with intent to harm.