LegalZoom.com has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the North Carolina State Bar seeking more than $10.5 million in damages. The self-help legal services company alleges in its complaint that the bar violated the Sherman Antitrust Act by refusing to ...Read More »
4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in a dispute over teeth whitening has exposed just about every occupational regulatory board in the Carolinas, including the N.C. State Bar, to federal antitrust attacks. The court’s unanimous three-judge panel affirmed a Federal Trade Commission finding that the N.C. State Board of Dental Examiners violated antitrust law by using cease-and-desist letters to drive cheaper non-dentist teeth whitening services from the state.
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As the collision between the Federal Trade Commission and the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners unfolds in legal slow motion, Ron Haynes sells teeth-whitening supplies and insists he doesn't understand the fuss. It's a fuss that is taking two routes toward the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and appears bound for the U.S. Supreme Court. The Board of Dental Examiners says non-dentist proprietors of teeth-whitening kiosks, such as Haynes, are breaking the law by practicing dentistry without a license. A subsection of G.S. § 90-29(b) defines the practice of dentistry to include the removal of "stains, accretions or deposits from human teeth." But Haynes (pictured with employee Kate Law), who runs his Pro White kiosk in SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, told Lawyers Weekly that his employee doesn't remove stains from anyone's teeth. The kiosk merely supplies the materials and equipment for teeth-whitening.Read More »
The math is coldly convincing. A person having a teeth-whitening treatment can spend between $300 and $700 at a dentist's office, or between $100 and $150 with a non-dentist, according to a Federal Trade Commission antitrust complaint filed in opposition to the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners' cease-and-desist letters sent to about 40 teeth-whitening services. Ron Haynes, the proprietor of Pro White teeth whitening services in SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, said his service comports with state law and offers consumers a low-cost choice. But Raleigh attorney A.P. Carlton, who represents the Board of Dental Examiners, said the real choice was between upholding the rule of law and supporting lawbreakers. The FTC chose the latter, he said.Read More »
A lawsuit the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners brought in February against the Federal Trade Commission in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has been dismissed. Chief United States District Court Judge Louise Flanagan dismissed the case on May 3, ruling that the Board's lawsuit sought "to subvert the established administrative review process set forth in 15 U.S.C. § 45, which vests the circuit courts with exclusive jurisdiction to hear the sort of challenges made [in the lawsuit]."Read More »