Save-A-Life Foundation v. Baratz

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: 

05/03/2007

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

Illinois

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
In May 2007, the Save-A-Life Foundation sued three critics of Henry Heimlich and his famous first-aid procedure, the Heimlich maneuver. Among the defendants is Peter Heimlich, Henry's son, who maintains the website "Outmaneuvered." The other defendants are Robert Baratz, an official of... read full description
Parties

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

Save-A-Life Foundation

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Robert Baratz; Jason Haap; Peter Heimlich; WLS-TV; American Broadcasting Co.; Chuck Goudie

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Media Company

Location of Party: 

  • Illinois

Location of Party: 

  • Ohio

Legal Counsel: 

Stitt Klein & Daday (for Baratz, Haap, and Heimlich), Jenner & Block (for WLS-TV, American Broadcasting Co., Chuck Goudie)
Description

In May 2007, the Save-A-Life Foundation sued three critics of Henry Heimlich and his famous first-aid procedure, the Heimlich maneuver. Among the defendants is Peter Heimlich, Henry's son, who maintains the website "Outmaneuvered." The other defendants are Robert Baratz, an official of the National Council Against Health Fraud, and Jason Haap, who runs the Cincinnati Beacon Web site.

The foundation's complaint included a claim for defamation and alleged that Peter Heimlich and his co-defendants had falsely accused the foundation of teaching improper first-aid techniques, misleading donors about the group's finances, and misstating the number of people the foundation had trained.

The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint.

Update:

4/8/08 - Haap and Baratz filed a Motion to Strike Second Amended Complaint and to Dismiss.

06/26/08 - The court granted the Motion to Strike as to Save-A-Life's defamation claims (Counts II and III) but denied it as to the tortious interference claim (Count I). The court gave Save-A-Life leave to file amended Counts II and III.

07/10/08 - Save-A-Life filed amended Counts II and III.

08/08/08 - Haap and Baratz moved to strike the amended counts and to dismiss the action.

10/10/08 - The court granted the motion to strike amended Counts II and III as to defendant Haap but denied the motion as to defendant Baratz.

10/22/08 - The case was removed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

11/20/09 - Save-A-Life moved to remand the case back to state court.  Defendants opposed. 

02/03/09 - The court denied Save-A-Life's motion to remand.

07/07/09 - Sava-A-Life filed a motion for voluntary dismissal of the case.

07/09/09- The court granted the motion for voluntary dismissal without prejudice, to be converted to a dismissal with prejudice after 7/10/2010.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Defamation
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Illinois

Source of Law: 

  • Illinois

Court Name: 

Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois; United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Court Type: 

Federal
State

Case Number: 

2007-CH-12022 (Cook County); 1:08-cv-06022 (N.D. Illinois)

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Threat Source: 

MLRC

Comments

ABC-TV reports on the Save-A-Life Foundation

November 17, 2006: "The Maneuver" VIDEO TEXT
One of Illinois' highest profile charities teaches the Heimlich maneuver to children while maneuvering the truth to get money from government and big business...For the past few years, Save-A-Life (Foundation) has received millions of dollars in government funds and corporate donations. An ABC7 I-Team investigation has uncovered a series of misleading claims and deceptive credentials that raise doubts about Save-A-Life's integrity, funding and training.

May 30, 2007: "Save-A-Life's Main Government Funding May Be Drying Up" VIDEO & TEXT
New details emerge about the embattled Illinois charity The Save-A-Life Foundation -- and why it may be losing funding and political support. The I-Team investigation of Save-A-Life last year uncovered a founder who fabricated her medical credentials. Now we've learned that Save-A-Life's primary government bankroll appears to be drying up.

Save A Life Foundation Responds to ABC-TV Report

June 08, 2007: "Save A Life Foundation Responds to Latest Attack by ABC-7 Reporter" VIDEO TEXT
The Save A Life Foundation (SALF) is extremely disappointed by Chuck Goudie's ABC-7 I Team segment of May 30, 2007, which it says are merely baseless allegations and falsehoods in retaliation for a recent lawsuit filed by SALF related to the "Heimlich Family Feud." The latest Goudie segment, which aired immediately after SALF's lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court, is against Peter Heimlich, a son of Dr. Henry Heimlich. Also named in the complaint are Robert Baratz, and Jason Haap, who SALF contends worked with Peter Heimlich to spread false and defamatory allegations against the foundation. Mr. Goudie's role, based on his November 2006 report, is a central element of SALF's case against the defendants.

The Save A Life Foundation

The Save A Life Foundation (SALF) is extremely disappointed by Chuck Goudie's ABC-7 I Team segment of May 30, 2007, which it says are merely baseless allegations and falsehoods....Mr. Goudie's role, based on his November 2006 report, is a central element of SALF's case against the defendants.

So why didn't SALF name Goudie and ABC-7 as defendants?

Updated links for May 30,

Updated links for May 30, 2007 story: "Save-A-Life's Main Government Funding May Be Drying Up" VIDEO TEXT

From SALF Board Announces

From SALF Board Announces Blue Ribbon Study Findings:

Chicago, Aug. 23 - 2007 -- The Save A Life Foundation (SALF) today announced the results of an independent Blue Ribbon Study White Paper. The Blue Ribbon Study data, which was compiled over a three-month period, included comments by representatives of school administration, the fire service, emergency medical service (EMS), law enforcement, and municipal leaders from throughout Illinois.

Participants in the Blue Ribbon Study were asked to review many areas of the Foundation including SALF programs, course materials, teaching and instructor methodology, financial and business practices, and leadership. Information obtained from state government agencies was included in the study data.

The results, contained in a Blue Ribbon Study White Paper 2007, concluded that the organization’s programs, practices and operations are "consistent with the highest standards of integrity and sound business practices...."

This "Blue Ribbon Study White Paper" is not posted on the Save-A-Life Foundation's website and none of the "representatives of school administration, the fire service, emergency medical service (EMS), law enforcement, and municipal leaders from throughout Illinois" are identified.

It would be helpful if the Save-A-Life Foundation would make this information publicly available.

The Save-A-Life Foundation

The Save-A-Life Foundation refuses to provide copies of the "Blue Ribbon Study White Paper" or to provide the names of any participants in the alleged study.

This may be verified by contacting the Save-A-Life Foundation at (847)928-9683 and requesting the information.

Former White House Assistant is now Save-A-Life executive

Perhaps this individual can provide more information? From the Save-A-Life Foundation website: http://tinyurl.com/3bsgqp

SALF adds Toby Burke to Team, July 02, 2007

Save A Life Foundation (SALF) proudly Save A Life Foundation (SALF) proudly welcomes John G. "Toby" Burke as its Managing Director of Government Affairs for its new Washington, DC office...Before joining SALF, Mr. Burke was a Special Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House where he served as the President's liaison between Mayors, State Attorney Generals, County Commissioners, District Attorneys, law enforcement, and the U.S. Territories...As SALF's Managing Director of Government Affairs, Mr. Burke will represent SALF before government leaders and establish a Washington office…"Throughout my career I have always tried to help and make a difference," Mr. Burke said. "SALF is at the forefront of many important public safety and EMS issues facing America today. I am excited to bring SALF's empowering and life saving message to government officials, communities and schools across the nation," Mr. Burke said.

Toby Burke, Managing Director of Government Affairs
Save A Life Foundation
1250 Connecticut Ave., NW, Ste. 200
Washington, DC 20036
Office: 202-261-3535
E-Mail: TBurke@SALF.org

$40 million, Sen. Norm Coleman, and the Save-A-Life Foundation

1) From page 8 of Second Amended Complaint (3/14/2008) linked above: http://tinyurl.com/5td2e5

K. Save-A-Life is and has been a Citizen Corps, affiliate of the United States Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"). Prior to the ABC-7 report, Senate Bill 3533, known as the CRSI Act, was enacted in which Save-A-Life was intended to be the primary provider of LFSA training. "CRSI" is an acronym for "Community Response System Initiatives," a title that was crafted after Christina Spizzirri, Carol Spizzirri's deceased daughter. Defendants transmitted the defamatory ABC-7 report to DHS, followed with questions and allegations about the report, and demanded responses. As a proximate result of defendants' actions, the CRSI Act programs have not been implemented by DHS.

2) From: S.3533, Community Response System Initiative Act of 2006, 109th Congress, introduced by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) on June 16, 2006: http://tinyurl.com/5wny6y

There are authorized to be appropriated $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2010 to carry out this Act.

US Department of Defense & the Save-A-Life Foundation

From page 8 of Second Amended Complaint (3/14/2008) linked above: http://tinyurl.com/5td2e5

H. Save-A-Life was designated to receive significant fimding from the United States Department of Defense ("DOD") to implement the National Guard's Youth Challenge Program. Review of the program had moved significantly through the DOD's appropriations process when defendants transmitted the defamatory ABC-7 report to the DOD, followed with questions and allegations about the report, and demanded responses. As a proximate result of defendants' actions, Save-A-Life was removed from consideration as a funding recipient from the DOD. Save-A-Life spent significant time and funds to repair its relationship with the DOD, and ultimately secured a much more limited role in the Youth Challenge Program than it would have absent defendants' conduct.

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