Dog magazine sues Batavia firm over March 'coconut oil' newsletter
Canadian-based magazine Dogs Naturally has sued the Batavia firm CocoTherapy for libel, arguing a March 2020 newsletter article contained defamatory statements that Dogs Naturally purposefully provided "false information" to mislead readers.
The magazine seeks more than $50,000 in damages, according to the lawsuit filed in Kane County.
"CocoTherapy acted with actual malice in publishing the statements, in that it acted with knowledge the statements were false or with reckless disregard for the statements' truth of falsity," read part of the lawsuit.
The dispute occurred after Dogs Naturally, which provides consumers with advice on how to raise pets holistically and without unnecessary chemicals or processed foods, published an article titled "Coconut Oil for Dogs: New Research Says Stay Away," according to the lawsuit.
"The article cited scientific research regarding the potential harms of providing dogs with coconut oil," the lawsuit read. "The article is an accurate and factual report of the scientific research."
According to the lawsuit, CocoTherapy, which sells coconut oil and coconut oil-based products and supplements for pets, published a newsletter with an article with a large, red headline of "LIES, LIES. LIES. BEWARE of this well-known pet magazine. They could be harming your dog's life."
The lawsuit argues the CocoTherapy article includes defamatory statements that Dogs Naturally "resorts to deceptive propaganda" to sell issues and the original Dogs Naturally article contained "false information" that was "misleading," "deceptive" or "distorted."
Dogs Naturally sent a cease-and-desist letter to CocoTherapy on March 31, asking that the article be removed from the internet and that CocoTherapy publish a retraction, according to the lawsuit. The article was not removed.
Stanley Sneeringer, attorney for Dogs Naturally, declined to comment when reached by phone several times this week.
Phone and email messages left this week for Oscar Newman LLC, which is the parent company of CocoTherapy, were not returned.
The two sides are due in court Aug. 22, according to court records.