Several coin and bullion companies across the nation have been exposed as scams designed to target senior citizens and their hard earned savings. However, one local coin seller says he's been unfairly targeted by a law firm that is only trying to round up clients to file suit against him.
Michael Fuljenz, president of Universal Coin & Bullion, has filed a defamation lawsuit against the Jason A. Gibson Law Firm, claiming Gibson has been marketing him as a "predator" to seniors in hopes of gathering clients to sue him.
Fuljenz filed his original petition with the Jefferson County District on June 11. Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, will preside over the case.
According to his suit, Fuljenz is one of the nation's "leading numismatic authorities" and is also widely recognized as an "expert on coins."
"Plaintiffs have been the victim of an elaborate and orchestrated campaign by defendants to disparage and destroy plaintiffs' reputation and business," the suit said. "The Gibson Law Firm seeks financial gain ... by seeking clients using false and defamatory representations, even referring to UCB as a 'predator.'"
The suit says the defendants have stated in various media that:
Defendants falsely state that plaintiffs target senior citizens;
Defendants falsely state that plaintiffs give customers "bogus" or "extremely inflated written values of their coins;
Defendants falsely state that plaintiffs buy lists of phone numbers and make thousands of cold calls a day to the elderly in an attempt to get them to purchase coins;
Defendants have falsely stated that plaintiffs use unlawful and misleading sales tactics;
Defendants falsely state that, of defendants' clients, most, if not all of them, filed complaints with the attorney general of their respective states;
Defendants falsely state that plaintiffs train employees "to do or say whatever they have to make a sale;"
Defendants falsely state that plaintiffs reject delivery of coins being returned by defendants' clients;
And defendants falsely state that plaintiffs' double verification of sale terms is self-serving when it is in the interest of both buyer and seller.
The suit also says the Gibson Law Firm has brought their defamatory campaign to the Internet using Internet postings, linked sites, and defamatory and disparaging "headers", and Web site postings.
"For example, if a potential customer performs a Google Internet search on Universal Coin & Bullion, Ltd., a sponsored link appears for "Coin Fraud Attorney" at www.JAG-lawfirm.com," the suit said. "This Web site is operated and maintained by defendants."
"Defendant, Jason A. Gibson, using the Internet name 'jaglawyer' has repeatedly defamed plaintiffs, alleging falsely that plaintiffs knowingly and as a custom and practice sell to individuals with 'dementia' and 'full blown Alzheimer's,' the suit added. "Defendant has falsely accused plaintiffs on the Internet of 'raking in $400 million per year defrauding folks.'"
Fuljenz's suit faults Gibson and his law firm with defamation and disparagement. He and his company are seeking monetary damages in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of the court. The case will be conducted under Discovery Level 3, which applies when damages of at least $75,000 are sought.
The plaintiffs are demanding a trial by jury and are represented by attorney Bruce Partain of the Wells Peyton & Greenberg law firm.
Case No. A179-468