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Gradient Analytics Countersues Overstock.com

Gradient Analytics Countersues Overstock.com



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Gradient Analytics, one of two Wall Street firms sued for allegedly conspiring to drive down the stock of Overstock.com, has filed a countersuit.

Gradient on Tuesday asked that the Superior Court of California for Marin County dismiss the libel and unfair business practices suit filed by Overstock in August.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based research firm claims Overstock.com's lawsuit should be dismissed under California's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law.

It argued that Overstock's intention in filing its suit was to suppress Gradient's criticism of the Salt Lake City-based Internet retailer.

"Overstock's efforts here are part of a much broader war on Gradient, which is being waged in the press and in regulators' offices, as well as in this court," Gradient's countersuit states. "Overstock seeks to deliver the clear message -- to Gradient and all others -- that criticism of Overstock will not go unpunished."

Jonathan Johnson, Overstock senior vice president for legal affairs, said. "This doesn't change a thing. It was the response we expected.

"Rather than answering our suit, which would have allowed starting discovery, they are doing everything they can to delay discovery," Johnson told The Salt Lake Tribune.

In addition to seeking dismissal of Overstock's lawsuit, Gradient is asking attorneys' fees and court costs.

David Rocker, who is founder of the second Wall Street firm, Rocker Partners, also has talked about filing a counterclaim against Overstock, but has not yet done so.

Overstock.com shares closed Tuesday at $32.91, down 63 cents.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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