Jillian Epperly Files Small Claims Lawsuit Against Patheos Columnist

Jillian Epperly Files Small Claims Lawsuit Against Patheos Columnist April 17, 2019

Jillian Epperly is attempting to sue me for defamation in Small Claims court in Ohio. The poop cult leader claims that I have spread libelous and unsubstantiated rumors about her. While the lawsuit is a pain in my behind, her case will never stand up in court.

After spending the day at the hair salon, I came home to a notice from the post office. A mail carrier attempted to deliver a certified letter from a court in Ohio. The note said the letter pertained to Jillian Epperly.

Because I wasn’t properly served, I jumped online to find out the facts of the case. Epperly filed a complaint in the small claims division of her county in Ohio. She is requesting a financial judgment of $4608.00.

The suit intrigued me. While I have covered numerous allegations and legal issues surrounding Jillian, I have not maintained a business relationship of any kind with her. We have never exchanged money. Nor do we have any contracts that bind us in any form of a relationship.

Thankfully, I did not have to wait long to find out her reason for the suit. On Monday, April 15, I called the clerk in Ohio. The woman told me that the lawsuit alleged that I wrote, “Libelous, slanderous, unsubstantiated publications.” After hearing the docket, I asked the clerk to clarify the law.

According to the clerk, the small claims division deals with evictions, injuries due to accidents, car accidents, and small, petty disputes. She said the court does not handle defamation and cannot award punitive damages. After explaining the court jurisdiction, she told me to write a letter to the court to request a dismissal. She also told me I would need to be formally served for the suit. Which I have not been to date.

Jurisdiction Laws of Ohio Small Claims Court

Not totally sure the lawsuit pertained to defamation, I posted online to my Facebook Page. Jillian saw the post and uploaded a video to her Facebook profile stating her lawsuit was for defamation. She deleted the video later that night. However, I have receipts.

Later that day I spoke with an attorney, a friend I’ve known since childhood, to discuss the next steps for me. Over Facebook, he provided me a ton of information about my legal rights. He reviewed statutes in Ohio for small claims court and determined the court held no jurisdiction over the matter or me.

According to Ohio law, the small claims division does not have jurisdiction over out of state defendants. Because I have never met Jillian nor had a business relationship with her, there is no way a court could enforce any judgment against me.

The attorney agreed to help me. We worked out a plan of the steps to take to manage the case. Our first course of action is to request a dismissal of the lawsuit. Additionally, I should point out that the court has not officially served me. If the court fails to serve me, I will request dismissal for failure to properly serve.

For many that support me, the suit appears to be an attempt to intimidate and silence me. I do not disagree with their assessment. At no place in my coverage of Jillian have I defamed her. In fact, I started covering her in August 2018. By the time I started writing about her, she had already been on Dr. Phil.

On Dr. Phil, Jillian faced off with YouTube Star Jeff Holiday. Holiday crafted a 5 episode series about Jillian that outlined the dangers and the science behind her protocol. His series has hundreds of thousands of views.

During an episode on Dr. Phil, two women told her they suffered strokes after drinking her cabbage juice. She admitted that the liquid could regrow limbs, cure cancer, and reverse down syndrome. Doctors on the show warned her about salt poisoning, dehydration, and potentially fatal side effects of the sodium in her drink.


A doctor discusses the dangers:

Dr. Phil called her claims outlandish and baseless. Clips from his show on his YouTube channel have millions of views. Jillian explains the protocol and makes claims of curing AIDS, HIV, autism, cancer, and homosexuality.

The views for Dr. Phil’s YouTube clips on the Jillian episode are over 2 million.

In the spring of 2018, Newsweek and Buzzfeed published articles about her protocol. A local Ohio outlet WOIO interviewed Epperly on May 16, 2018. In the interview she said she charged $75 to help people with the protocol and accrued 6,500 clients in 2017.

“She admits Jilly Juice has been profitable. She consults with people for $75 an hour, and accrued 6,500 clients in 2017…

Epperly says she’s writing a new book about her experiences.

“I hope that people finally get the science behind what I’m doing, which is why I’m substantiating everything through pub med, proven evidence, academia. I hope that people will just open their minds and see the possibility,” she said.”‘

YouTuber powerhouse PewDiePie published a video about Jillian in August 2018 which garnered 12 million views.

By the time I entered the arena, the mainstream media had made Jillian a household name. Nothing I covered about Jillian was any different from the majority consensus in the media. We all believed her protocol was not only dangerous but also a complete scam.

For the record, I have covered Jillian multiple times on this site. However, nothing I have written about her has defamed or damaged her character. Instead, I have used public interviews, YouTube videos and Facebook posts by Jillian to source my content.

Sadly, the damage to her character has been done by her own words. By claiming to have a miracle product, she used the media to get exposure to help her profit. However, she might not have prepared for the backlash that has ensued.

In my journalist’s gut, I think Jillian believes her protocol will save the world. Unfortunately, she is unwilling to face the reality that sauerkraut juice is not a cure for anything.

As her empire has dwindled, her tactics have moved her attention from the protocol to lashing out at the media. Because I’m the smallest target, she picked me to sue. As a writer for Patheos, I am an independent contractor. Suing an independent contractor is easier than fighting a media giant like Newsweek or Buzzfeed.

By comparison, all of my articles by Jillian have probably been read in total less than 200,000 times. My dent in the Jillian game is pretty small next to the giants.

Jillian knows that I’m an easy target. She’s chosen to pick me because she thinks I will roll over and pay her. Sadly, she is mistaken. Her lawsuit is a desperate move to intimidate and silence anyone that speaks out against her. Due to Ohio law, she will not be able to win. By filing the frivolous suit, she has wasted Ohio taxpayer money.

Due to the on-going legal fight, I will likely not publish much more about Epperly. However, my choice is not based on my protection, but rather, Jillian’s empire is so tiny now that publicity for her is fanning a dying flame.

If you want to know more details about the lawsuit, I’ve done two YouTube videos on the topic. Make sure to subscribe and like the videos. If you have any words of support, I much appreciate it!

Being a journalist that covers pseudoscience means I am writing about volatile people. Sometimes exposing these people puts me at risk. However, I will not stop doing what I do and protecting others from harmful snake oil salespeople.


*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis on The Non-Sequitur Channel. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Tawreos

    The worst thing that can be done to a nutjob is to quote them verbatim. I hope this all works out smoothly for you.

  • Baby Buddha Belly

    If you’re not making any money off of your cabbage sewage, ya gotta make it somewhere else, right?! I have a feeling that she knows that her case is frivolous and unsubstantiated. She just threw it at you to make you stop writing about her. Truth hurts, doesn’t it Jillian?

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    You are only wrong about one thing Katie Joy my dear. Sauerkraut juice is good for one thing, tenderizing the very worst toughest cuts of beef. You can cook them in sauerkraut juice and end up with tender falling off the bone delicious meat. Drinking it is for poor desperate people that Jillian hoodwinks.

  • llDayo

    This lawsuit business really stinks. Hopefully you’ll be able to push through it with ease. If it’s out of the court’s jurisdiction the judge should flush this away so it will be wiped away from your life. If for some reason this actually has some substance just spray the courtroom with facts.

  • Raging Bee

    And in this nutjob’s case, citing videos of her shitting all over her chair and shower should help flush her off the public stage…

  • kilda

    well, isn’t she just a nutbar with extra nougat. I can’t believe people actually pay her for this stuff. She doesn’t come off as a skillful con artist, just a completely delusional mentally ill person.

  • Brian Davis

    What are the anti-SLAPP laws like in your state?

  • the law was overturned in 2017 I believe.

  • Emma

    Epperly’s knowledge of the law is about equal to her knowledge of health and science.

  • TastyUrinalCake

    Jillian is delusional and has as much understanding of law as she does about biology. This is just an attempt to intimidate but like everything else she touches it’ll fail miserably. Jillian is a train wreck..I hope the law steps in and puts an end to her dangerous scam before more people get hurt.

  • zenlike

    “Slander” is a spoken statement. One can literally not “write” a “slanderous” publication. The complaint is literally written by a nut with zero knowledge about the law. Claims like these should just be shredded outright by the filing clerk, so as not to waste the time of others.

    Katie, I sincerely hope you will be minimally impacted by this.

    Jillian Epperly, you are a nut and a crank, who peddles nonsense to gullible fools, to con people out of their hard earned cash. You are a waste of oxygen. Get a real job and contribute to the world instead of taking from it.

  • Lisa Cybergirl

    I wonder where she got the $4608 figure?

  • anne_pearson

    She is now back on Facebook and makes people buy her book then provide her the receipt and their email to get into the group. She knows EXACTLY what she is doing. An idiot in so very many ways. But apparently quite skilled in leading the blind & ignorant….which, come to think of it doesnt require much skill

  • Raging Bee


  • Raging Bee

    Maybe she’s suing in small-claims court because that’s her only option after her lawyer said she had no case and refused to take her as a client.

  • Clive Adams

    She has no case, nothing will come of it but it will still waste time you could be using to expose the next crazy snake oil salesman. Keep on doing the good work and know how many people are behind you even if we’re not able to do much by way of practical stuff.

  • Ann Nienow Bowen

    Sauerkraut and a glass of milk will clean you out without paying $$$ for woo. We’d have it with spare ribs and potatos from the pressure cooker. Cooked with a bottle of lager and a touch of brown sugar. Within an hour I’d be in the loo.

  • Ann Nienow Bowen

    It might be the top amount you can sue for in Small Claims.

  • She has no case, you only reported factual information.