New Legal Complaint: enVerid Systems, Inc. and Marwa Zaatari Wage Misinformation Campaign Against Competitors to Secure Unfair Economic Advantage

enVerid leveraged former company executive and science advisor Marwa Zaatari to use her position within ASHRAE to orchestrate smear campaign against GPS

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--()--Based on newly discovered documents, Global Plasma Solutions (“GPS”) today filed a second amended complaint adding enVerid Systems, Inc. (“enVerid”) as a defendant. As alleged in the lawsuit, the documents, including internal enVerid emails, demonstrate that enVerid has been engaged in a multi-year campaign of unfair and deceptive tactics, including exploiting the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE ) platform to misrepresent safety concerns surrounding GPS technology for the purposes of undermining GPS as a competitor.

enVerid’s misinformation campaign is being driven by Marwa Zaatari, enVerid’s former VP of Building Solutions and current science advisor. Zaatari portrays herself publicly as a neutral academic and activist, abusing her status with ASHRAE to lead a public media campaign smearing GPS technology, all the while actively concealing her close coordination and collaboration with enVerid leadership to drive enVerid’s misinformation campaign against GPS.

The full complaint as filed can be found here.

Key allegations from the complaint, which are corroborated by internal emails obtained during the litigation, include:

  • In 2018, Zaatari and enVerid’s top executives began focusing on GPS and strategizing how to attack GPS and its products, including maintaining a “competitive file” on GPS.
  • In early 2020, enVerid and Zaatari became increasingly concerned that enVerid’s business was floundering and would not be able to compete with GPS on the merits.
  • In March 2021, enVerid developed a “school campaign” with the goal of “helping to cultivate/amplify a bit of bipolar backlash.” enVerid and Zaatari targeted GPS’s school district customers and perpetuated a false and unsubstantiated narrative about the safety of GPS’s products.
  • Zaatari, emboldened by her rising notoriety, frequently used her social media accounts to spread misinformation about and defame GPS and its technology. enVerid’s official social media handles sometimes shared Zaatari’s content. In her postings, Zaatari failed to disclose her conflicts of interest and relationship with enVerid.
  • enVerid and Zaatari knew there were no legitimate safety concerns with GPS’s technology and intentionally conflated GPS’s products with other unproven ionization technology.
  • Zaatari went to great lengths to conceal her relationship with enVerid, including using a Gmail address when not communicating with people in the enVerid circle. However, she used her enVerid email address when communicating with enVerid executives to discuss strategies on how to take down GPS. After this lawsuit was filed, Zaatari scrambled to hide her relationship with enVerid and advised one colleague to stop using her enVerid email address.
  • In an Open Letter published in April 2021, Zaatari intentionally concealed her strategic relationship with enVerid, and said nothing about her financial interest in or conflicting relationship with GPS’s competitor enVerid. In fact, the Open Letter states the exact opposite— “[n]o reported conflicts of interest.” Zaatari chose to continue to conceal her conflict from the public knowing its disclosure would undermine the legitimacy of the publication.
  • While recruiting individuals to sign the Open Letter, it was made clear to Zaatari by one prominent scientist that GPS’s technology presented no real safety concerns. Another scientist, a prominent member and former top official of ASHRAE, agreed with that assessment. Zaatari ignored their input and continued the campaign against GPS to advance enVerid’s increasingly desperate agenda.
  • After a reporter with a prominent news organization reached out to ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force in late 2020 with questions regarding a non-ionization air purification device, Zaatari fielded the inquiry and persuaded the reporter to redirect her story to GPS and its NPBITM technology. On April 15, 2021, the reporter sent Zaatari an email stating that news outlet “got funding for a third reporter…to flesh out a list of schools getting this stuff” and that they were “working on focusing this story on GPS.” The resulting article was syndicated and republished by other major national news outlets and relied heavily on Zaatari, quoting her for numerous false and misleading statements about ionizing air purifiers—including those of GPS. Notably absent from the article, is any disclosure of Zaatari’s conflicts of interest or her acknowledgment of scientific studies refuting her affirmative statements.

The complaint is filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas Dallas division. GPS has requested a trial by jury and that the Court enter judgement in its favor and against enVerid and Zaatari. Specifically, GPS is seeking:

  • a preliminary and permanent injunction restraining enVerid, Zaatari, and her company DZine, along with their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys from making, publishing, or otherwise distributing false, misleading, or disparaging statements about GPS or any of GPS’s products;
  • an award of enVerid’s and Zaatari’s profits and GPS’s damages;
  • an award in an amount that will enable GPS to engage in corrective advertising at a level that will effectively counter enVerid’s and Zaatari’s unlawful activity;
  • an award of GPS’s reasonable attorneys’ fees and the costs of this action;
  • exemplary damages in a sum to be determined by the trier of fact;
  • pre- and post-judgment interest as allowed by law;
  • an order requiring enVerid and Zaatari to retract their false statements and engage in corrective advertising; and
  • such other and further relief to which GPS may be entitled.

McGuireWoods LLP is legal counsel to GPS.

About Global Plasma Solutions

Founded in 2008, Global Plasma Solutions (GPS) is a leader in indoor air quality, with over 30 patents and 250,000 installations worldwide since its founding, including in research labs, schools, universities, health care facilities and airports. GPS devices work in conjunction with HVAC systems to help improve indoor air quality using a unique and patented low energy, soft ionization technology application called Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization (NPBI™). GPS products are certified to UL 2998, UL’s stringent zero ozone standard. This independent certification is also compliant with the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidance and follows recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Education guidance. GPS is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina and has advanced testing chambers in Charlotte and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.