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Matthew Chan
USA
Entrepreneur, Publisher, First Amendment Advocate
Recent Activity
This recent expose about Higbee & Associates and their demand letter scheme written and researched by Mr. Levy was an unexpected surprise. It is an amazing piece of work filled with analysis, research, cross-references, links to letters/emails, and so much more. The time, effort, and work Mr. Levy put into this project are substantial. I have no other word to describe this expose except that it’s “packed”. I have followed the Higbee Demand Letter Scheme for years through the hosting of a dedicated Higbee Associates Letter & Lawsuits forum on the ExtortionLetterInfo website. I have seen no singular article that has as much analysis packed into this article as this one. Nothing else written thus far comes close to touching Mr. Levy’s work. I say this being very familiar with the Higbee operation and their demand letter scheme. Nevertheless, I still need more time to go through every link Mr. Levy provided and put it all into context in my mind. Unless Mr. Levy decides to do a follow-up, his article will be the definitive “go to” article for anyone receiving a Higbee Demand Letter. It is a MUST READ! Through Mr. Levy’s and Public Citizen’s ongoing advocacy for consumers, Mr. Levy has called out the Higbee operation in a very big, unique, and public way.
This story and new development is stunning to me. I can barely wrap my head around all the characters and moving pieces. I am nearly speechless. All I can really say is that Mr. Levy's tremendous work created tremendous results. Congratulations to Mr. Levy and Steve Rhoad. And there is still this pending case "Patel v. Chan" sitting in the Baltimore court...
This is good news indeed. I thought that President Obama might sign the bill into law this month. After all, he doesn't have much time left in office and who knows if President Trump would have signed it. It's unfortunate that there even has to be a law on the matter. I would have thought that people's freedom to criticize and share opinions on a business interaction is a "universal right" in the U.S. But it is clear there are parties who do not respect that right. Hence, the law is now in effect. I would say that the individuals who you named and boldly stood up to their opinion oppressors made a HUGE impact into helping make this law come into effect. That is amazing indeed. They deserve kudos for making a big difference for the rest of the nation.
This is simply amazing work. There are few words which can describe this latest breakthrough. For me, the three significant pieces of information that has come out is: 1.) A copy of the signed check by Ruddie through one of his corporate entities was uncovered. 2.) The process server was eager to cooperate. 3.) The transcript had immeasurable value because it shows the judge was angry about what was uncovered and he seems motivated to pursue followup with the U.S. Attorney. It is abundantly clear that this case will continue into 2017. Richart Ruddie has something to lose sleep about.
From what I can see, he believe HE is the victim of "cyber-bullying." On October 10, 2016, he writes that "Writers and journalists typically use their powers for evil and to hurt good people." I have not heard this sweeping statement from anyone even from people who have a cynical view of mainstream media. I guess that is what Mr. Levy's and Eugene Volokh's (and their "ilk's") primary purpose in life must be based on Richart Ruddie's comment.
GregoryLent, As I stated in the Volokh Conspiracy, when two highly-regard legal scholars and legal minds come together to jointly write and report on a matter, one has to sit up and pay attention. I continue to be astounded at what has been investigated and uncovered thus far. And if you find this piece compelling, Mr. Levy has just released YET ANOTHER update and analysis on top of all this on the SAME DAY! I refer people to Mr. Levy's follow-up analysis: http://pubcit.typepad.com/clpblog/2016/10/profile-defenders-and-richart-ruddie-the-common-link-between-two-phony-defamation-suits.html He is drilling down into this and can see and sniff out things that most of us cannot (especially someone as untrained as I am).
I commend and thank Kudzu for the restoration of my review. I am impressed with their response as they did not have any obligation to do so. I also commend and thank Kudzu for restoring ANOTHER FOUR consumer reviews that I did not see two weeks ago. It would appear that my review of Mitul Patel was not the only one taken down and they reconsidered the takedown of those reviews also. It appears that someone complained to Kudzu to take down the other four reviews that have now re-appeared. It would be interesting to know if a similar illicitly-obtained court order was used in those instances. And by the looks of the language used in those restored reviews of Mitul Patel, there does seem to be a similar pattern of complaints emerging. I can see why someone might not have wanted online visitors to see or read them. They use plain language and certainly speak for themselves. Matthew Chan
Hello James L. Smith, In response to your comment, I agree with you there is probably some criminal element at play here and there probably needs to be an investigation by someone in law enforcement to uncover the truth. Matthew Chan
Hello David Schwartz, In response to your post, if you read Mr. Levy's accounting of events, it APPEARS to me that Stuart Oberman, Patel's lawyer, was brought in with little notice and/or preparation. He probably only had Patel's word to go on initially. Mr. Oberman stated in his letter that he will be conducting an investigation and I am inclined to believe him. But I am disappointed that he would not reveal the identity of the SEO/reputation management firm to Mr. Levy. Perhaps he will change his mind later on. We can only hope Mr. Oberman will report back to Mr. Levy his findings so the true perpetrator can be determined and found. If Patel was not the perpetrator of the court filing, I can accept that. However, I am not prepared to accept that Patel had ZERO role in all this. I think it is safe to say MANY PEOPLE simply want the truth of the matter and get to the bottom of this scheme that has been uncovered. To quote Mr. Levy, "Stay tuned". Matthew Chan
Hello Russell, Thanks for your suggestion. I had previously filed a complaint in 2014 with the Georgia Board of Dentist over the "bait and switch" incident. They declined to pursue the matter and I just let it go. It is old news. The only reason why it is even an issue of discussion today is only to explain why I wrote my review to begin with 2 years ago. I've had no contact or interaction with Patel or his office in over two years so I cannot speak to what he does today. I have no desire to communicate with him or cross paths with him if I can help it. I figured my prior consumer reviews to the public was sufficient action over the matter. People can make their own decision if they want to use Patel as their dentist. I am certainly willing to file a complaint to the Georgia Board of Dentistry against Patel but I am being patient for now. Perhaps more information will surface later. Mr. Levy wrote in his latest post: http://pubcit.typepad.com/clpblog/2016/08/georgia-dentist-mitul-patel-acknowledges-that-consent-order-was-a-fraud-but-claims-he-is-the-real-vi.html that (through Patel's lawyer Stuart Oberman) Patel denies the accusations. Mr. Levy also writes, "Stay tuned" and I am doing just that for now. I am looking forward to Mr. Levy's next update post on this matter whenever that might be. I don't think anyone knows more about what is going with this whole fiasco than he does given his contacts and resources. I have no problems saying that I implicitly trust Mr. Levy's work and judgment. His tremendous career and reputation precedes him. Matthew Chan
First, let me publicly thank and acknowledge Mr. Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen for being at the forefront of this case and bring it to light. I have long known about Mr. Levy's extensive work, reputation, and interesting cases he takes on. A case that I was following when my case appeared out of nowhere is the Prestigious Pets case in Texas concerning a Yelp review. It is worth paying attention to and concerns the legitimacy and enforcement of non-disparagement clauses. It appears there is a growing phenomenon of businesses using very "creative" means to remove undesirable Yelp reviews. What I never imagined is that out of the five Yelp reviews I have written (as of this writing) of which only two were "negative reviews", I would get caught up in a situation that would become a story and the interest of Public Citizen, a well-known consumer advocacy organization. Mr. Levy has done an excellent job covering so many of the finer points of the issues at hand. He articulates them very well, far better than I could. I am fortunate that I have not been overtly harmed by this so far. As Mr. Levy has pointed out in his analysis, it is only because of Yelp that I ever found out about it. I am not a traditional "Yelper", nor do I write many consumer reviews as a general rule. And so, Yelp deserves great credit for reaching out to me wanting to find out what my intentions were regarding the "consent order". And they have been receptive receiving updates from me on this case. I was pleasantly surprised when Yelp placed a Consumer Alert on Mr. Patel's business page listing. I did not know that occurred until a friend following this case informed me. Mr. Patel has MANY other negative consumer reviews which largely substantiate different aspects of what I wrote in my original review. However, my review appeared to be of particular interest for removal because of the specificity of my review where it included extra references to the 2008 disciplinary documents I found on the Georgia Board of Dentistry website and I complained that he engaged in "bait and switch" tactics with me which there are laws against in Georgia. Other smaller facts I would like to note shows the level the level of deception that occurred. 1). My contact address was not the only address that was grossly wrong. Mr. Patel's own contact address in the court documents were non-existent according to an address verification check on USPS.com. The street number does not exist for that street and the Suite number appears to be intentionally omitted which ensured that any court notices would not be successfully delivered to or be seen by anyone at his office. That is what I believe based on the information I have now. 2). Even the part where Mr. Patel asserts in the Complaint that he resides in Gwinnett County, Georgia (a very minor point ordinarily), that appears to be false. From what I have been able to find and discover, he has a sizable house in Fulton County only a few miles from his dental office. That seems to be his likely residence. I only bring this up because it is simply one of many pieces of false and deceptive information. 3). I find it difficult to believe the Mr. Patel devised or developed this consumer review expungement scheme. I believe the inspiration and mastermind of what occurred originated with someone else who understood loopholes of removing unfavorable content from websites as well as an understanding of how to take advantage of small cracks in the legal system. Let me be clear. I do not at all blame anyone at the Baltimore Circuit Court. I see no easy way it could have been prevented. If someone is determined to perpetrate a fraud, as in this case, people will always devise a way. 4). I along with a few other knowledgeable people I have conferred with believe that crimes were committed by someone. There is no doubt that my signature was forged. There is no doubt that the judge and court were mislead. There is no doubt there was abuse of the legal system. There is no doubt that my reviews were the ones that were targeted for removal. There is no doubt that Mr. Patel was the clear beneficiary of the illicitly-obtained "consent order". There is no doubt that defamation claims as described in the Complaint about me are untrue. In my opinion, there is clearly a criminal action component that ultimately has to be acknowledged and dealt with. 5). What I have tried to avoid discussing of which Mr. Patel has only reinforced (even prior to this Yelp incident), is that the dental industry perpetrate certain "sales-enhancement" schemes that, in my view, are unethical and dishonest. They prey upon people's fears and inability to self-diagnose. Further, the sales incentive often extend towards those people we would not normally associate with being "incentivized" such as office management and the hygienists that clean your teeth! Everything prescribed and sold in the dental office is often available at local pharmacies for far less money. I could go on and on but I won't because this really isn't the proper forum. In conclusion, I have been privileged with the light that Mr. Paul Alan Levy and Public Citizen has clearly shown on this matter. Mr. has shown great initiative and I have been honored to cooperate with him to help serve the greater good. Legitimate consumer reviews are important to our society. It helps keep businesses in check. And when a business finds a way to cheat and circumvent the system, it is bad for the public who want to be informed. As a last personally comment, do not be silent and SPEAK OUT when you see these kinds of things being perpetrated against you. If it is happening to you, there is a good chance it is also happening to other people. Respectfully, Matthew Chan
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Aug 19, 2016