AC2T, Inc, a Mississippi company valued at over $100 million, is suing me in Federal court over my review of the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator. The device is a plastic tube filled with sugar, salt, yeast, and water and is purported to act as an attractive toxic sugar bait. Box claims that device will eradicate (kill) approximately 95% of mosquitoes in a yard for 90 days — the company does not release efficacy data, but claims it possesses them. My opinion is that the devices don’t kill mosquitoes, and the above review explains my reasoning. The owners, Jeremy Hirsch and Chris Bonner of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, seem particularly upset that I shared my review with state pesticide officials as well as federal regulatory agencies (EPA, FTC). The suit was brought to bankrupt and silence me, so it’s a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation).
Here’s the first part of my motion to dismiss the lawsuit:
“In this lawsuit, Spartan seeks to use its superior financial resources to silence a former college professor who has been exercising his constitutional rights to petition his government and advocate on an important environmental and public health issue: the effectiveness of commercially available mosquito control devices. In Mr. Purrington’s opinion, based upon his personal evaluation of Spartan’s product and his scientific knowledge, Spartan has made false and misleading claims about the efficacy of its product, thereby violating federal environmental regulations and potentially endangering public health. Most of the statements that Spartan cites in the Complaint reflect Mr. Purrington’s efforts to reach federal and state officials with information about Spartan’s misleading and false claims concerning the efficacy of its product. The remaining statements reflect Mr. Purrington’s efforts to raise public awareness of the matters about which he is petitioning, describe his own opinions, or contain facts that Spartan does not, and cannot, deny are true. Applicable law does not provide Spartan with a valid claim against Mr. Purrington under those circumstances. Notably, even if Spartan could show that Mr. Purrington should be liable for his statements, Spartan fails to plead facts that would suggest it has incurred even a cent of damage to its business to justify its claims. That omission suggests that Spartan has sued merely to intimidate Mr. Purrington rather than to recover any demonstrable damage to its business. For those reasons, Mr. Purrington respectfully requests that the Court dismiss the Complaint in its entirety, with prejudice.”
The full brief is here (PDF).
Do other people think it’s a scam?
As of May 22nd, 2020, there are 509 1-, 2-, and 3-star reviews on Amazon. The word “scam” is used 35 times, though many other reviews seem to suggest the same. Here’s the full document (25 page PDF).
Want to help me?
- Contact the EPA and FTC. These agencies are busy and will only act if they hear from multiple consumers. During the Covid-19 lockdown this is especially true.
- Share my review on Facebook, Twitter, or Nextdoor. This company wants to silence me, so having that strategy backfire would bring me great satisfaction.
- Encourage the American Mosquito Control Association to post their findings on the device. AMCA’s lawyers are concerned about litigation and have blocked its Science Committee from disclosing results of its investigation.
- If you’re a pro at adding content to Wikipedia, please add the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator to the page on attractive toxic sugar baits or mosquito control.
- If you’re a reporter, please write a piece on this company. It’s the gem of Mississippi.
NB: The photograph at the top of the post is Jeremy Hirsch, the inventor of Spartan Mosquito Eradicator.
UPDATE: Spartan Mosquito, Jeremy Hirsch, and Bonner Analytical Testing Company are being sued in New York District Court for fraud. Here is the 16-page complaint.