This is the history of the two years of harassment propagated and orchestrated by T. Matthew Phillips (a.k.a Todd Phillips, a.k.a. Matthew Phillips). Since he has now moved on to attacking all of the major players in the anti-gmo fight (Tami Canal of March Against Monsanto, Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America, Vani Hari of Food Babe, The Fishy Food cars, etc), we have decided that we all are done with this harassment and done with remaining silent on the issue. This is a long, long history that we have just decided to document completely. Skim as you feel the need.
Two years ago I, Angie Morelli, was asked by fellow national March Against Monsanto organizers to check T Matthew Phillips out. They suspected him of being a mole and since he lived in Las Vegas they wanted me to feel him out. I met him and he offered to do legislation for labeling for the state of Nevada. We were thrilled. We only had so many months to put it forward, and were looking for a lawyer to help us. Instead he wasted four months.
When he finally brought us legislation (click here) we didn’t think it was right. Nick Brannigan (our local GMO expert at the time) also thought it was bad. We ran it by two lawyers and two political friends (who are now elected officials). They unanimously said if we submitted it, we would be laughed out of respectability. We politely explained after much harassment from T. Matthew Phillips that we were going to go another way. Legally, it was just poor legislation.
Shortly after that all of the members of GMO Free Vegas (current and past) started getting very strange emails and PMs on Facebook. They were told, “to learn the truth about Angie Morelli, call me.” When they humored him then explained he was not correct, or when they just outright refused, he started attacking them. He sent them the most heinous messages we’d experienced at the time (included in the photos below).
He then contacted Neal Sickles and told him that he had trademarked GMO Free Vegas and said we now needed to hand over the GMO Free Vegas facebook page. Neal refused. He then threatened us with legal action unless we paid him a ransom of $25,000. I advised the group we should ignore it. He blasted our GMO Free Vegas page with threats and crazy accusations to the point he got banned from the page. He is one of two people in history we’ve banned from that page. We found out later he was lying about trademarking our organization.
In between that and the next blow out, I saw random occurrences of him talking badly about the group and myself, but we simply refused to respond hoping he would go away.
When we learned he had supposedly filed a Monsanto Class Action Lawsuit. While we thought it was great, we did not share the information on the GMO Free Vegas page for three reasons:
- His bizarre harassment of myself, other members, our group, our followers.
- He is the last lawyer in the world we wanted to be a representation of our cause. Some members posted it on their own, but we did not post it as a group and I personally refused to post it.
- The litigation was no good. We didn’t like it, our expert in GMOs didn’t like it and it was rebuffed by several law professionals as “embarrassing”.
We had Las Vegas attorney Robert Kern take a look at the lawsuit and this is what he had to say:
“As an attorney and a strong supporter of the fight against Monsanto and GMOs, I was intrigued when I heard about a California class action lawsuit against Monsanto regarding their product Roundup, called Mirzaie v. Monsanto. However once I read the lawsuit, I was disappointed, and once I realized that this lawsuit was being crowdfunded, I was appalled.
Right now Monsanto and its allies are undertaking a massive PR campaign to discredit their enemies as crazy conspiracy theorists. The last thing the movement needs is more headlines of “Anti-GMO lawsuit thrown out for having no merit”. But that is exactly what will happen with this suit; not because of judicial corruption, but because from a legal perspective, while the fight against Monsanto is necessary, the Mirzaie lawsuit is worthless.
The first issue with the suit is standing. Standing is a legal term that basically means that a person has some basis to be the one bringing a lawsuit, and it requires that the person bringing suit has been injured in some way by the defendant. It’s the first, most basic requirement of any lawsuit, in any court, and without it, no court has jurisdiction to hear a case. However if you read through this lawsuit, it doesn’t take long to see that the suit never alleges that any plaintiff was damaged in any way by Monsanto, or Roundup. The complaint is where such things must be alleged, and that necessary allegation is entirely absent from the complaint, which alone is enough to ensure that a judge would have no choice but to dismiss it.
The second issue is that the only claim made in the suit is for violation of C-BPC §17500, California’s false advertising law. Specifically, that law is a criminal law, thus it can only be enforced by the appropriate government agency, not by private individuals. There is a small exception under section §17535 allowing for private suits, but the California Supreme Court held that any claim for damages in such a suit disqualifies it (Chern v. Bank of America, 15 Cal.3d. 866). As this suit asks for damages, it would be thrown out for that alone. Further, §17535 specifically prohibits false advertising suits by any Plaintiff that has not suffered injury from the product or advertising. Since the lawsuit does not allege that anyone was ever hurt by Roundup, or define their class as people who have been hurt by it, that’s one more reason this gets thrown out.
These are just the blatantly obvious issues that I, an attorney who does not specialize in this area, can see right off. Literally any licensed attorney should realize that you can not bring a suit without alleging an injury to your plaintiffs, and anyone who spent 10 minutes reading the statute they were suing under should realize they were drafting a suit that literally could not win. While I am annoyed that this attorney would hurt the movement by filing a merit less suit, what truly bothers me is that he has used crowdfunding, and the passion of the people in this movement to essentially pay himself to litigate something without the slightest merit. I know nothing about the attorney, so I don’t know if this was done intentionally, or out of ignorance, but I urge no one to give their hard-earned money to this suit.
Roundup has been shown over and over to be dangerous to humans, and its use has been widespread for decades, so there are likely hundreds or thousands of people out there who have been injured by Monsanto’s Roundup. That means there is the potential for serious lawsuits against Monsanto. When Mirzaie is dismissed (and it will be), it will not be an indicator that the movement does not have the law on its side, just that this particular suit was poorly made. We can still attack Monsanto with a powerful class action lawsuit, we just need to do it right.
One last note; I’ve been warned by some people that the attorney on this case goes ballistic on social media against anyone who criticizes him. I’ve never met him or spoken to him, so I have no basis to know one way or the other if that is true (I would hope it’s not), but as he is a fellow attorney, I hope if he disagrees with this analysis, he’ll act like a professional and explain why my argument is flawed rather than attack me personally.”
It should be noted, that as of the beginning of October this crowd funding account had raised almost $9,000 of the $100,000 he is asking for to perpetuate this worthless lawsuit [link here]. A great deal of this amount came in after the defendant filed this motion to dismiss.
In April of this year, GMO Free Vegas decided to try something different and started celebrating good companies that were doing things we were asking them to do instead of just yelling at companies that weren’t paying attention. We Carrot Mobbed a Chipotle, Sunrise Coffee and we went and dressed like bees and thanked Lowes for discontinuing neonicitinoids. We took a picture and posted it to facebook, then spent the rest of the day downtown together planning the upcoming March Against Monsanto (MAM). This was a very effective campaign and the photo went viral.
The next day (on Mother’s Day) it was discovered that T. Matthew Phillips had gone on a tirade, took our photo, circled my face and declared me a corporate shill, the group GMO Free Vegas a corporate shill, and started plastering this everywhere (this is included in the photos below). Members of the group went on his page and politely asked him to stop. He mostly called them names, wouldn’t answer questions then a few hours later deleted the picture, banned all my defenders, then posted it again so it didn’t look like anyone was sticking up for me, and so he didn’t have to answer their questions.
My roommate was one of the people defending me. He was messaging her (and ten other people) at the time trying to convince her I am a government spy/corporate shill. He was also sexually harassing her, asking her to put out, etc. At some point of just pure frustration he was trying to convince my roommate I was a spy (wouldn’t she know?) I did send a picture that was ill advised and dumb, and I never thought in a million years he would share it. That picture was not in response to him filing his suit (which he has stated at least 1000 times since then), it was in response to him cyber bullying and sexually harassing my group and my best friend on Mother’s Day.
He and his supporters spent a considerably creepy amount of time finding past pictures of me on my page, on GMO Free Vegas’ page and other charities I’ve worked with. He took to photoshop and started putting quote bubbles and lies all over these photos and posting them on facebook everywhere.
He contacted many people in town and told them to be watching the news “this week” because he just did an interview and I was going to be exposed on “national TV” for being a troll. That never happened.
Soon after, he started messaging hundreds of random people from my friends list (a lot of these are included in the photos below). People I don’t even know were messaging me asking why T. Matthew Phillips is talking bad about me. After that didn’t get him much satisfaction he started posting these things directly on their facebook pages. He did this for WEEKS right before the March Against Monsanto.
He took to posting about his lawsuit and me being a spy on the MAM Las Vegas event page. He was posting 80 times a day, but only on other members’ posts so he was annoying them and we couldn’t remove him from our event. This caused our unblocked members to get up every morning and go through and delete them. We don’t know how he was doing this since he was banned from our Facebook page. We believe this one thing alone probably is what cut our attendance this year in half, though we did twice as much advertisements and outreach.
He sent disgusting messages to Tami Canal the founder of March Against Monsanto because she was defending me, Vani Hari of Food Babe, then later did the same to Zen Honeycutt, of Moms Across America. She seems to be his new and ill advised target. His harassment doesn’t just go towards anti-gmo activists, it’s really anyone that seems to interact with him in any capacity whatsoever.
I truly believe he single handedly destroyed the largest March Against Monsanto in the country per capita (Las Vegas), the only one that got national media attention. We spent weeks distracted by his craziness and his three week obsession of posting his craziness on our page had to have only pissed off and tuned out all the people we were working so hard to connect with.
After the march we didn’t hear anything else from him. That was the second time he was messing with us just before a march. What does that make you think of his intentions?
This last time I had posted a random post about getting the money out of politics (this can be seen here https://www.facebook.com/bruceleah/posts/10153485699389133). The next day someone that I didn’t recognize started posting new photoshop pictures on my page in an obsessive way. I didn’t recognize the name and started just asking why they were doing that. They alluded to knowing me personally and wouldn’t really answer any questions. I tried interacting with them for about three hours, but when she made it apparent that it wasn’t a fruitful conversation I went and looked for how to stop the barrage of comments without deleting what she had already posted (I was trying to be transparent and not trying to censor, but did not want to further put up with the harassment).
The next day I was alerted by a pro-gmo guy from Australia that the page Monsanto Class Action (T. Matthew Phillips’ page) was posting about me and provided me with a link. He was part of one of many groups on facebook that are dedicated to finding other people who have received harassment from TMP [here is the link]. It was a photoshopped picture of my last fb post with their assumptions about it (in the pictures below). Under that was more harassment. A few friends went over and asked him several questions. He deleted the questions then sent them horrible messages.
As far as the Monsanto Class Action Lawsuit, we do not support this. T. Matthew Phillips is the biggest wacko we’ve encountered in all our activism. It’s not a strong argument and he spelled Monsanto wrong at least once in this claim. It’s being referred to federal court where several lawyer friends of ours say it will most likely be dismissed. We still wish him luck, but we will not promote crowd funding of a lawsuit that we believe has no merit when the lawsuit’s facebook page posts crazy things about myself and people I work with and respect. I am not forced by solidarity to spread information about something I feel is a sham.
This is all we know about “T. Matthew Phillips”. It’s actually very hard to find information on this person but Brent Hill (another harassment victim) has found the following.
*Todd Matthew Phillips was born in April 1961, son of Donovan Carroll Phillips and Joann Phillips.
*San Fernando Valley College of Law was trading under the name University of La Verne College of Law from 1985 to 2000.
*He started at the University of Maryland from 1990.
*T. Matthew Phillips graduated from law school at San Fernando Valley College of Law or University of La Verne College of Law.
*He was admitted September 1993 with California State Bar number 165833.
*In 1997, he defends a pedophile, Sidney Landau, in the Placentia case, from eviction, and the community’s right to know if there’s a pedophile in the area.
*In 1999, he defends the rapist, Chris Decker, from eviction and the community’s right to know if there is a rapist in the area.
*In 2002, the San Fernando Valley College of Law was acquired and merged into UWLA, so it was unaccredited until 10 years after he graduated.
*In 2007, he filed an EEOC complaint against the Las Vegas Athletic Club gym for gender bias, due to Ladies’ Night specials, which earned him the title of “Nevada’s Biggest Asshole”. That story can be found below.
*In 2010, he filed an EEOC complaint San Gennaro Feast for gender bias, because mom’s got rides for free.
It doesn’t look like University of La Verne College of Law was accredited in 1993. He had only 2 clients that there is any record of and represented himself as a public nuisance against women. He apparently has a record of targeting women.
Article on TMP being “Nevada’s Biggest Asshole“. His response being, “I’m proud to be Nevada’s biggest asshole. And I nominate you for Nevada dumbest cunt. Which large impersonal corporate casino employs you anyway?
Article on him Defending a Child Molester.
Article on him arguing about neighborhood pedophile proximity notifications.
GMO Free Vegas has a history of inclusion for anyone that is working for the common goal, we just don’t think that is T. Matthew Phillips. We hope this clears up any misconceptions on the lack of support of this incredible troll.
GMO Free Vegas Organizers
Tami Canal | March Against Monsanto Founder
Robert Kern, Esq. | Las Vegas Attorney
UPDATE as of October 13, 2015: Apparently TMP is under the false impression that he has served members of our organization with legal paperwork. He’s posting crazy things anywhere he is not currently banned. To address three concerns:
1) We didn’t realize the page with the “labeling laws” was unpublished, and that has been fixed. When writing the legislation he never suggested that it was co-authored by anyone, he claimed it was him writing the legislation alone. We don’t know where these claims of these extra doctors are coming from, nor do we consider any of the alleged scientists to be qualified to judge the legal viability of legislation.
2) We are NOT releasing the information about which lawyers and officials looked at the legislation. Not only are we not compelled to, but considering all the harassment you see above, we are obviously not submitting anyone else to his insanity. We hope you understand why.
3) If someone wishes to contact us about this in an official capacity, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will not respond to letters TMP copy and pastes all over our volunteer page. He has many fake aliases online (including the fake one he is currently using to harass Zen Honeycutt) and we will wait for proper correspondence for our attorney to respond to.
UPDATE as of October 19, 2015:
1) Thought we thought this article was clearly about TMP, we would like to re-emphasize that we have nothing bad to say about any of the scientists or doctors that allegedly helped write the science parts of either piece of legislation. We are very clearly talking about the lawsuit and the labeling bills lacking merit legally, not scientifically.
We put this out to relieve ourselves from having to spend every single day of our lives answering to his harassment. We hope you respect the fact we are just not going to continue to respond to this.