Quest Diagnostics v. Mercola

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

05/29/2009

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

New Jersey

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Quest Diagnostics, a medical diagnostic testing company, sued Joseph Mercola, who runs the Natural Health Center along with a couple of related websites, over articles critical of Quest that were allegedly published by Mercola on one... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Joseph Mercola

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Location of Party: 

  • New Jersey

Location of Party: 

  • Illinois
Description

Quest Diagnostics, a medical diagnostic testing company, sued Joseph Mercola, who runs the Natural Health Center along with a couple of related websites, over articles critical of Quest that were allegedly published by Mercola on one of his websites. 

Quest alleged that that the articles contained false and defamatory information, stating that its tests are "inaccurate and unreliable" and have "caused some dialysis patients to undergo unnecessary surgery," while advocating on behalf of LabCorp, one of Quest's competitors.  (Compl. ¶¶ 11-12, 14-15.)  Advertisements for Mercola's products and services also allegedly appeared in close proximity to the articles.  (Compl. ¶ 12.)  Based on user comments posted to Mercola's articles, Quest claimed that the articles have deceived consumers and caused Quest significant harm.  (Compl. ¶ 13.) 

According to the Complaint, Quest had previously asked Mercola to remove an article he published in January 2009 that Quest claimed was "false and misleading."  Mercola allegedly agreed to take down the offending article and "refrain from making false and misleading statements regarding Quest Diagnostics, Inc."  (Compl. ¶ 16.)  Quest alleged that the articles that were at issue in this lawsuit violated this agreement.  

Quest brought claims of unfair competition under both the federal Lanham Act and New Jersey state statutes, defamation, trade libel, and breach of contract.  Quest sought money damages, attorneys' fees and costs, as well as a permanent injunction requiring Mercola to remove "all false and misleading statements regarding Quest Diagnostics from any publication or on-line medium under [Mercola's] direction, custody or control," post a retraction, and refrain from making any false or misleading statements regarding Quest.

On July 31, 2009, Quest voluntarily dismissed its claims.  All posts regarding Quest Diagnostics appear to have been removed from the mercola.com website.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
  • Blogs
  • Trade Libel
  • Advertising
  • Business Torts
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • New Jersey

Source of Law: 

  • United States
  • New Jersey

Court Name: 

United States District Court, District of New Jersey

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

09-CV-2632

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

08/03/2009 - LB editing