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Dentists Who Attempted to Shut Down Web Site Critical of Their Work Have to Pay Attorneys Fees, Court Rules

By Public Citizen  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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WASHINGTON, D.C. Two Florida dentists who filed a motion for a temporary injunction to shut down a Web site critical of them and the Florida Department of Health 's review of their patient 's complaints have to pay attorneys fees, a South Florida court ruled last week.

West Palm Beach dentist Richard Kaplan and Lantana dentist Leonard Tolley filed suit in November 2004 in hopes of suppressing an Internet site created by former patient Elaine Prentice, a North Palm Beach resident. Prentice had used the site to warn the public about the treatment she received from the dentists and about the manner in which the Florida Department of Health and its hired expert handled her complaint about the dentists. Prentice was dissatisfied with the extensive dental work performed by Kaplan, Tolley and other dentists and with the way she felt she had been induced to undergo the procedures in question. She complained to the Department of Health and was told by an investigator to "get some mental counseling ... and get on with [her] life. "

In a brief filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Public Citizen attorney Paul Levy, who is representing Prentice, argued that Floridalaw does not forbid citizens from complaining publicly about either their dentists or a state agency 's failures and that Prentice had a First Amendment right to create the Web site (www.dentalfraudinflorida.com) to describe her travails. The dentists dropped their lawsuit three days before the case was to be heard.

In an order issued Oct. 20, Palm Beach Circuit Judge Edward Fine awarded Prentice attorneys fees because the dentists and their lawyers from the firm McIntosh, Sawran, Peltz, & Cartaya "knew or should have known that their claim was not supported by material facts necessary to establish a claim. "

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"Their case was an outrageous attempt at censorship and they knew it, " Levy said. "Only when citizens like Ms. Prentice have the courage to stand up for their rights can such efforts be defeated. She should not have to lose money defending herself. "

James K. Green, a West Palm Beach lawyer who is a cooperating attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, was co-counsel on the case.

press release from Public Citizen

 

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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