The “quackbuster” operation, run out of a New York ad agency, isn’t doing well in California… to say the least.
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
Many of my readers will remember, with amusement, the pieces I wrote about the “quackbusters” being humiliated in California when they sued over forty victims, using California Business & Professions Code 17200. The NCAHF v. King Bio case was a classic. It was there that top quackbusters Stephen Barrett and Wallace Sampson were declared in a three Judge Appeals court decision to be “biased, and unworthy of credibility.”
Neither can we forget that it was, in another of those cases, that the NCAHF was ordered to pay over $100,000 in legal fees to one of their victims – and they haven’t paid it yet. It was during that period that the NCAHF’s top attorney, Morse Mehrban, declared “I consider suicide daily…”
And, it isn’t over for the quackbusters…
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined several citizen’s groups in taking a formal stand against certain sleazy “quackbuster” activities. The Governor, along with a citizen’s group, “Californians to Stop Shakedown Lawsuits (CSSL), is promoting California ballot Proposition #64, described by Schwarzenegger to accomplish the following:
“”Proposition 64 will stop the legal practice of shakedown lawsuits, in which private lawyers file suits without any client or any evidence of harm. This turns lawyers into bounty hunters, stalking innocent small businesses that create jobs and opportunity in California.” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
The “quackbuster’s” flagship, the self-styled National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), just a few years ago, stalked, and sued, over forty innocent victims in California using the “shakedown” lawsuit principal. According to delicensed MD Stephen Barrett, the NCAHF’s Vice President brags “NCAHF sued about 40 defendants, and I have also been involved as a consultant or expert witness in similar cases filed by other parties. Overall, at least ten have been settled…”
The San Diego Union-Tribune says of the “quackbuster’s” attempted shakedown:
“Proposition 64 would lower the cost of doing business in California by making much needed changes in Section 17200 of the state’s Business and Professions Code, the so-called unfair competition law. The often misused law allows any person, claiming to act on the public’s behalf, to haul a business into court alleging an unlawful or fraudulent act – even if the plaintiff has not been directly harmed by the purported wrongdoing.
Avaricious trial lawyers have made a cottage industry out of unfair competition litigation, shaking down thousands of small businesses throughout the state.”
The LA Daily News said…
“End legal extortion – Vote yes on Prop. 64
In an era of extreme litigiousness and frivolous lawsuits, Proposition 64 would enshrine into California law this simple bit of common sense:
You can’t sue someone unless you have a valid claim.
Hard as it might be to believe, in California — and in California alone — that’s not already the case. Under the state’s Unfair Business Competition Law, freelance trial lawyers can sue businesses for allegedly unfair practices — even if no one has actually been harmed or is likely to be harmed by the practice in question.”
Ballot Proposition #64…
“Shakedown” lawsuits, of the type exploited by the “quackbusters” have so angered Californians that Ballot Proposition #64 has gained the support of almost EVERY trade association in the State. The membership list of the “Yes on 64” campaign is impressive. The Co-chairs include:
- John H. Sullivan, President of the Civil Justice Association of California
- Allan Zaremberg, President of the California Chamber of Commerce
- Peter Welch, President of the California Motor Car Dealers Association
- David Houston, Chairman of the Coalition for Reform of Frivolous Lawsuits
I’m not at all surprised that the people of California would feel the same way I do about “quackbuster” activities. Are you?
Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate