Summary: Mr. Brooks is a lawyer in Concord, Massachusetts. Over the past 30 years Mr. Brooks has litigated a wide variety of civil cases nationwide, including matters involving franchising, dealerships and product distribution, as well as securities, antitrust and consumer protection class actions.
Mr. Brooks has substantial experience representing the victims of fraudulent and deceptive multi-level marketing (“MLM”) schemes. He has represented MLM distributors in putative and certified class actions in state and federal courts, and is frequently consulted by consumer advocates, the media and other attorneys concerning MLM issues. Mr. Brooks was class counsel in one of the most significant MLM cases, in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a MLM firm could not avoid being characterized as a pyramid scheme simply by having rules against inventory loading and requiring retail sales; it has to actually enforce rules which ensure that distributors retail products to persons who are not themselves part of the sales force. See Webster v. Omnitrition International, Inc., 79 F.3d 776, 782 (9th Cir. 1996), cert. den. 519 U.S. 865 (1996). Mr. Brooks represented a class of Nu Skin Canada distributors and won rulings that MLM distributors in Canada could sue under the federal securities laws, and that such claims should be certified for class action treatment. See Capone v. Nu Skin Canada, Inc. Case No. 93-C-2855 (D. Utah). In a case involving victims of a “buying club” which sold memberships through a MLM system, Mr. Brooks successfully argued that securities claims should be upheld and that an arbitration clause in the MLM distributor contract should not be enforced because it violated the public policy of the State of New York. See Rhodes v. Consumers' Buyline, Inc., 668 F.Supp. 368 (D. Mass. 1993). Mr. Brooks obtained substantial class settlements for distributors in two cases involving Herbalife “lead generation systems.” See Jacobs v. Herbalife International, Inc., Case No. CV 02-01431 (C.D. Cal.) and Minton v. Herbalife International, Inc., Case No. BC 338305 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cty). Mr. Brooks successfully defended the operator of the www.mlmsurvivor.com web site against claims of defamation by a high level Amway distributor. See Deimler v. Scheibeler, et al, No. 2003 CV 1405 CV (Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania). Most recently Mr. Brooks represented 18 former Herbalife distributors who objected to the class action settlement in Bostick v. Herbalife (C.D.Cal.).
Mr. Brooks has worked pro bono for a number of non-profit organizations involved in the effort to educate and protect consumers from deceptive and fraudulent MLM schemes, including Pyramid Scheme Alert (www.pyramidschemealert.org), the Consumer Awareness Institute (www.MLM-thetruth.com), Quackwatch (www.quackwatch.com and www.mlmwatch.org), MLM Survivor (www.mlmsurvivor.com), and the Rick A. Ross Institute (www.rickross.com).
Since 1995 Mr. Brooks has participated in rule-making proceedings by the Federal Trade Commission concerning its proposed business opportunity rule in which he has argued for disclosure and conduct regulation of the MLM industry.
Representative Decisions: NXIVM Corp. v. Ross Institute, 364 F.3d 471 (2nd Cir. 2004) (Mr. Brooks successfully opposed efforts to obtain a preliminary injunction against his client, a non-profit anti-cult organization, in lawsuit alleging Copyright and Lanham Act violations, including plaintiff’s appeal to the Second Circuit and petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court; Mr. Brooks is representing the defendant pro bono); Wolinetz v. Berkshire Life Insurance Co., 361 F.3d 44 (1st Cir. 2004) (Mr. Brooks obtained a ruling reversing summary judgment in a “vanishing premium” case); In re: AOL Version 5.0 Software Litigation, 168 F.Supp.2d 1359 (S.D.Fla. 2001) (Mr. Brooks represented internet service providers suing America Online for distributing software that interfered with customers seeking to use their services); Scheck v. Burger King Corp., 756 F.Supp. 543 (S.D.Fla. 1991) (widely cited case in which Mr. Brooks successfully opposed summary judgment in encroachment claim by franchisee), further opinion, 798 F.Supp. 692 (S.D.Fla. 1992) (denying motion for reconsideration); Szymanski v. Boston Mutual Life Ins. Co., 56 Mass.App. 367 (2002), rev. den., 438 Mass. 1106 (2003) (reversing summary judgment in vanishing premium litigation); Oganesov v. GNC Franchising Inc., Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) ¶11,808 (Pa. Ct. Cmn. Pl., March 3, 2000) (awarding $700,000 judgment for franchisee in encroachment litigation; Mr. Brooks represented the franchisee at trial and in the franchisor’s appeals), aff’d, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) ¶12,163 (Pa.Super. 2001); Gentle Wind Project v. Garvey, 2005 WL 40064 (D.Me. January 10, 2005) (Mr. Brooks successfully obtained dismissal of claims by alleged cult against operator of cult information web site); Richards v. Arteva Specialties SARL, 66 Mass. App. 726 (2006) (Mr. Brooks successfully obtained reversal of trial court ruling dismissing indirect purchaser antitrust action under Massachusetts consumer protection law).
Admissions: Mr. Brooks is a member of the bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First and Third Circuits. He has been admitted pro hac vice in many state and federal courts across the country.
Bar Associations: Mr. Brooks is a member of the American and Massachusetts Bar Associations and a member of the Forum on Franchising of the American Bar Association. Mr. Brooks was a speaker at the 1995 Annual Forum on Franchising of the American Bar Association, where he delivered a paper entitled "Survey Evidence - Use of Collected Data in Encroachment Cases" and has been a speaker at conventions of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers and the American Franchisee Association.
Education: Suffolk University Law School (J.D. 1982) (Note Editor, Suffolk Transnational Law Journal, 1981-82); Northwestern University (B.A. 1979).
John M. Mason writes on current monetary and financial events. He is an entrepreneur and a writer. Current projects include a new banking institution, an Internet company, a private equity fund, two depository institutions and a community redevelopment fund. He formerly was on the faculty of the Finance Department, Wharton School, the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Mason has been President and CEO of two publicly traded financial institutions and the executive vice president and CFO of a third. He has also served as a special assistant to the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D. C. and as a senior economist within the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Mason has served on the boards of venture capital funds and other private equity funds. He has worked with young entrepreneurs, especially within the urban environment, starting or running companies primarily connected with Information Technology. Some of his new ventures are in the sustainable business and impact business space. .
Axel Merk is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Merk Investments, manager of the Merk Funds. He is a recognized expert on the global economy, monetary policy and international investing. An authority on currencies, he is a pioneer in the use of strategic currency investing to seek diversification and has been named a “Currency Guru” by Morningstar.
Axel Merk is a regular guest on CNBC, FoxBusiness and Bloomberg. His columns and interviews frequently appear in the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and other financial media around the world. Merk is a sought after expert speaker at industry conferences, including the annual conferences of the CFA, FPA and AAII organizations in 2011, as well as at universities, government organizations and think tanks. Merk's expertise encompasses topics ranging from the global economy, gold and currencies to sustainable wealth and personal finance. Axel Merk’s Book “Sustainable Wealth” was published by Wiley in 2009 and his newsletter Merk Insights reaches a wide audience of investors, analysts and media following global macroeconomic issues and implications to investing.
Mr. Merk, together with the Merk portfolio team, manages the Merk Hard, Asian and Absolute Return Currency Funds, as well as the Merk Currency Enhanced U.S. Equity Fund. He holds a B.A. in Economics (magna cum laude) and a M.Sc. in Computer Science from Brown University.
Marvin R. Clark is the Managing Principal of Monsoon Wealth Management (MWM). Monsoon offers affluent individuals and business owners’ wealth management, economic, and market advice throughout America.
Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Monsoon’s major task is employing a macroeconomic top-down research and analysis approach to formulate a relative value investment thesis across debt, equity, and commodity asset classes. We provide an actionable roadmap during this extraordinary period as geo-political and economic change accelerates.
Prior to opening Monsoon Wealth Management in 2007, Marvin spent 10 years in the capital markets, fixed income division, of Charles Schwab & Co. Before Schwab, he spent 15 years on Wall Street with The Pilgrim Group, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley.
Marvin is the publisher/author of the Fixed Income Daily, a financial blog dedicated to providing essays and video clips from various analysts, money managers and officials, shedding light on the economy and markets.
He is a contributing author with over 9,800 captive subscribers to the premier award-winning stock market opinion and analysis - Seeking Alpha and a contributing columnist for the Dubai-based, bi-lingual, Alorrya.com.
Marvin is a popular featured and keynote speaker throughout the southwest and a recent guest faculty member for A.T. Kearney with Institute for Supply Management’s The Center for Strategic Supply Leadership CSSL forum.
His unique interpretation of macroeconomic data and smooth writing style has been a reference source online for many financial newsletters including Yahoo Finance, Reuters, MarketWatch, Blogrunner, istockanalyst, The New York Times, Real Clear Markets, Kiplinger’s, and many, many others.
Abigail F. Doolittle is the founder of Peak Theories Research LLC, which is an on-line research firm dedicated to providing investors with a technically-inclined view on the financial markets and the economy. The firm’s research begins with the analysis of charts and then ties in various economic fundamentals to better understand the trends pointed to in the charts. She has more than 12 years of experience in the financial services industry including portfolio management, macro research, institutional equity sales, and investment banking.
Abigail F. Doolittle
Peak Theories Research LLC
Edward Harrison is the founder of the blog Credit Writedowns (www.creditwritedowns.com) and is a finance specialist at Global Macro Advisors. Previously, Edward was a strategy and finance executive at Deutsche Bank, Bain, and Yahoo. He started his career as a diplomat and speaks German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish and French. Edward holds an MBA from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/edwardnh. Contact him at edh at creditwritedowns dot com as that's the only mailbox he reads regularly.
Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and the author of twelve books. Shedeveloped her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In "Web of Debt," she turned those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She showed how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. In "The Public Bank Solution," her latest book, she explores the public banking model globally and historically as an equitable and efficient solution to our banking woes. Her earlier books focused on the pharmaceutical cartel that gets its power from “the money trust.” They include "Forbidden Medicine," "Nature’s Pharmacy" (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and "The Key to Ultimate Health" (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are www.webofdebt.com, www.publicbanksolution.com and www.ellenbrown.com.
Reggie Middleton is the personification of the freethinking maverick — the ultimate nonconformist as it applies to macro strategies, investment, and analysis. He uses his background and knowledge in new media, distributed computing, risk management, insurance, financial engineering, real estate, corporate valuation, and financial analysis to pursue, analyze, and capitalize on global macroeconomic opportunities.
Finding most available research lacking, both in quality and quantity, Mr. Middleton assembled his own talented research staff. As forensic research is a lynchpin for his own investing, "to actually put food on the table," he stands behind it as doing what it is supposed to do - illustrate, elucidate and educate. He does not sell advice or research. He is an entrepreneur who exists outside of mainstream corporate America and Wall Street. This allows him the freedom to do things that many cannot—perform without conflicts of interest and corporate politics.
Mr. Middleton prides himself on developing some of the highest quality, actionable research available - regardless of price. He welcomes any and all to peruse his blog of freely available analysis, opinion and participatory social media; use his custom tools, download files, interact with the community and make critical comparisons from a results orientated perspective.
Reggie believes ideas and implementations are improved and fine-tuned when bounced off of the collective intellect of the many, in lieu of that of the few - in essence, a form of collaborative open source financial analysis.
Visit his blog Boom Bust Blog. (http://boombustblog.com/)
I have been in the financial services industry for 15 years as a broker, wholesaler and as a director of research for insurance products where I commented on current events and have written studies. I am less active on the trading front than I used to be and primarily buy ETFs and mutual funds, and like to trade currencies.
While I hold extensive knowledge on the markets, I have devoted much of my last few years to the variable annuity industry. These products mix the best of both worlds, investments with guarantees, and I try to help individuals understand how the products work at http://www.annuityiq.com.
I have seen it all in the industry, from the good to the bad, and never hold back what I really think is happening. You will find my honesty refreshing and entertaining. I will always admit it if I make a mistake and have thick skin, so feel free to criticize me because I do not know everything, but love to learn.
My user name is my middle name, I use it because I like it and I do consulting work where it makes sense for me to use an alias versus my full name - hey, we all have to make a living, right? Don't get your hopes up for inside info, I work with insurers on the product development side.
I strongly advise any reader to make sure they do their own research or consult a financial advisor before investing in anything.
Mike Shedlock (Mish) is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management (http://www.sitkapacific.com/). Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.
Visit Sitka Pacific's Account Management Page (http://www.sitkapacific.com/account_management.html) to learn more about wealth management and capital preservation strategies of Sitka Pacific.
I blog at Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis (http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/) which typically has commentary every day of the week. I am also a contributing "professor" on Minyanville (http://www.minyanville.com/), a community site focused on economic and financial education.
I do weekly podcasts every Thursday on HoweStreet (http://www.howestreet.com/audiovideo/) and a brief 7 minute segment on Saturday on CKNW AM 980 (http://cknw.com/%20) in Vancouver.
When not writing about stocks or the economy I spend a great deal of time on photography and in the garden. I have over 80 magazine and book cover credits. Some of my Wisconsin and gardening images can be seen at MichaelShedlock.com (http://www.michaelshedlock.com/BestImages/index.html).
Jason Hamlin is the founder of Gold Stock Bull and publishes a highly-rated investment newsletter focused on strategies for profiting in the bull markets in gold, silver, energy and agriculture. Mr. Hamlin has a background analyzing charts and trends for the world’s largest market research company, is versed in fundamental and technical analysis and has consulted to Fortune 500 companies around the globe. Jason is a cycles investor, student of Austrian economics and speaks regularly at investment conferences throughout North America. The Gold Stock Bull newsletter is focused on finding junior mining companies that are undervalued relative to their peers.
Sam Antar is a convicted felon and a former CPA. As the CFO of Crazy Eddie, Mr. Antar helped mastermind one of the largest securities frauds uncovered during the 1980s.
Today, Sam Antar is a forensic accountant. His primary work focuses on identifying and investigating public companies engaged in securities fraud by examining their accounting practices and performing an in-depth (deep-dive) financial analysis. His clients include law firms, research firms, hedge funds, and certain other entities. He advises law enforcement agencies and professionals about white-collar crime and trains them to catch the crooks.
His views on white-collar crime are frequently quoted in the print news media, online news media, TV media, professional journals, books, and blogs. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business Channel, WSJ Live, CNBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Business News Network, National Public Radio’s Planet Money, Progressive Radio Network, Reuters TV, RT News, and other media outlets to give insights on white-collar crime. His articles have been published by Business Insider, CNBC, Newsweek, Seeking Alpha, TalkMarkets, and other publications.
Rolfe Winkler is a columnist and blogger for Reuters. His website is http://blogs.reuters.com/rolfe-winkler. Prior to Reuters he blogged for the Implode-o-Meter at OptionARMageddon.com and his content was syndicated on RGE Monitor and Naked Capitalism.
Tim Iacono is the founder of the investment website 'Iacono Research', a subscription service providing market commentary and investment advisory services specializing in natural resources.
He also writes a financial blog known as 'The Mess That Greenspan Made', a sometimes irreverent look at the many and varied after-effects of the Greenspan term at the Federal Reserve.
Use the links below to visit Tim's website/blog.
Mr. Denninger is the former CEO of MCSNet, a regional Chicago area networking and Internet company that operated from 1987 to 1998. MCSNet was proud to offer several "firsts" in the Internet Service space, including integral customer-specified spam filtering for all customers and the first virtual web server available to the general public. Mr. Denninger's other accomplishments include the design and construction of regional and national IP-based networks and development of electronic conferencing software reaching back to the 1980s.
He has been a full-time trader since 1998, author of The Market Ticker (http://market-ticker.org), a daily market commentary, and operator of TickerForum, an online trading community, both since 2007.
Mr. Denninger received the 2008 Reed Irvine Accuracy In Media Award for Grassroots Journalism for his coverage of the 2008 market meltdown.
In 2011 Wiley published his book "Leverage", detailing the causes of the 2008 financial collapse along with analysis and policy prescriptions for the future.
Graham Summers is Chief Market Strategist for Phoenix Capital Investment Research, an independent investment strategy firm based in Washington DC with clients in 56 countries around the world.
Philstockworld.com is the fastest growing stock and option newsletter on the Web. "High Finance for Real People - Fun and Profits" is our motto and our Basic and Premium Chat Sessions offer readers a chance to speak to Phil live during the trading day as well as authors like Optrader, Sabrient, Income Trader and Trend Trader - who send out Alerts during the market sessions and discuss trade ideas live with Members.
We even have a new low-cost "Trend Watcher" Membership that lets readers view our chat sessions without directly participating a great solution for people who want to test-drive the site and profit from our experience! Trend Watchers get to view all of our Chat Archives, weekly Webinars - as well as the amazing PSW Wiki, which gives you Phil's recent opinions and trade ideas as well as technical and fundamental analysis of hundreds of stocks that we follow.
Philip R. Davis is a founder of Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com), a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders. Mr. Davis is a serial entrepreneur, having founded software company Accu-Title, a real estate title insurance software solution, and is also the President of the Delphi Consulting Corp., an M&A consulting firm that helps large and small companies obtain funding and close deals. He was also the founder of Accu-Search, a property data corporation that was sold to DataTrace in 2004 and Personality Plus, a precursor to eHarmony.com. Phil was a former editor of a UMass/Amherst humor magazine and it shows in his writing -- which is filled with colorful commentary along with very specific ideas on stock option purchases (Phil rarely holds actual stocks).
Visit: Phil's Stock World (www.philstockworld.com)
Jeff Nielson is from Canada and is a writer/editor for Bullion Bulls Canada (http://www.bullionbullscanada.com/#content). He has a personal background in law and economics. Bullion Bulls Canada provides general macro-economic and political commentary, since the precious metals markets are among the most complex (and misunderstood) in the world.
It also provides basic coverage of Canadian precious metals mining companies. Canada is the global leader in mining exploration, and Canadian-listed mining companies (on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Venture Exchange) are responsible for the majority of the world's most-promising discoveries.
Prieur du Plessis has 27 years' experience in professional investment research and portfolio management. More than 1,400 of his articles on investment-related topics have been published in various regular newspaper, journal and Internet columns. He has also published a book, Financial Basics: Investment.
Prieur is chairman and principal shareholder of South African-based Plexus Asset Management, which he founded in 1995. The group conducts investment management, investment consulting, private equity and real estate activities in South Africa and other countries.
Plexus is the South African partner of John Mauldin, author of the Thoughts from the Frontline e-letter, and also has an exclusive licensing agreement with California-based Research Affiliates for managing and distributing its enhanced Fundamental Index methodology in the Pan-African area.
Prieur is professor extraordinaire at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, teaching investment management. He also serves as Honorary Consul of Slovenia for South Africa, actively developing economic, cultural and scientific relations between Slovenia and South Africa.
Prieur lives by the words “living to run, running to live”. This motto manifests itself directly in his management style and keen participation in long-distance running, and also in Plexus’s sponsorship of the annual Plexus Races (marathon, half-marathon and 8km). The primary goal of these events is to raise funds for a number of charities, especially Proud Partners – an organisation formed by Plexus in co-operation with Prieur’s wife, Isabel Verwey (former TV producer and presenter), which uplifts previously disadvantaged communities through the provision of musical instruments and tuition to a large number of schools.
Prieur is 55 years old and lives with his wife and two children in Stellenbosch, Cape Town. In addition to running, his recreational activities include reading, travelling, motor cycling and scripophily.
John Mauldin is a renowned financial expert, a New York Times best-selling author, and a pioneering online commentator. Each week, over 1 million readers turn to Mauldin for his penetrating view on Wall Street, global markets, and economic history.
Mauldin’s weekly e-newsletter, Thoughts from the Frontline, was one of the first publications to provide investors with free, unbiased information and guidance. Today, it is the most widely distributed investment newsletter in the world. Mauldin also offers The Mauldin Circle, a free service that connects accredited investors to an exclusive network of money managers and alternative investment opportunities. (In this regard, he is President and a Registered Representative of Millennium Wave Securities, member FINRA, please see legal disclosures).
Mauldin is a frequent contributor to publications including The Financial Times and The Daily Reckoning, as well as a regular guest on CNBC, Yahoo Tech Ticker, and Bloomberg TV. He also edits the free weekly e-letter Outside the Box.