Plastic Surgeon Must Pay $5 Million for Illegally Restricting Negative Reviews

A plastic surgeon who illegally restricted patients from posting negative reviews about his practice and directed his staff to post fake positive reviews will pay $5 million for violating Washington state’s consumer protection law.

According to a July 1 consent decree, the surgeon must pay $1.5 million in restitution to 21,000 patients and $3.5 million to the state for manipulation of patient ratings.

The settlement resolves a federal lawsuit brought by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson that accused the doctor of illegally suppressing patients’ negative reviews by “forcing” them to sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) before they received care.

“Consumers rely on reviews when determining who to trust, especially services that affect their health and safety. This resolution holds Allure accountable for brazenly violating that trust — and the law — and ensures the clinic stops its harmful conduct.” (Ferguson)

In court documents, the doctors attorneys had argued that the agreements did not violate CRFA because patients had the opportunity to modify the language or decline signing them.

The surgeon’s practice is “pleased to have resolved its case with the Attorney General’s Office,” according to a statement provided by the doctor´s attorney. “The cooperative settlement, while not admitting fault and resolving claims asserted by both sides, allows Allure Esthetic to continue to focus on its core mission of providing compassionate care to patients and serving the community.

Author(s) Source
Gallegos A Medscape, July 11, 2024
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