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

Miami Mayor's office & The Save-A-Life Foundation

From page 7 of Second Amended Complaint (3/14/2008) linked above: http://tinyurl.com/5td2e5

Save-A-Life had been working with the City of Miami, had a branch in the Miami Mayor's office, and had been providing LFSA training in Miami-Dade schools. Defendants transmitted the defamatory ABC-7 report to the Mayor's office, followed with questions and allegations about the report, and demanded responses. As a proximate result of defendants' actions, the City of Miami has terminated its relationship with Save-A-Life.

IL Senate President Emil Jones Jr. & The Save-A-Life Foundation

From page 6 of Second Amended Complaint (3/14/2008) linked above: http://tinyurl.com/5td2e5

C. Save-A-Life had a positive relationship with Emil Jones, Jr., the President of the Illinois State Senate, who at the time of the defamatory ABC-7 report served as a Save-A-Life spokesman. Defendants transmitted the defamatory ABC-7 report to Senator Jones' office, called Senator Jones' office repeatedly, followed with questions and allegations about the report, and demanded responses. As a proximate result of defendants' actions, Senator Jones severed his ties with Save-A-Life.

Putnam County, NY & the Save-A-Life Foundation

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

J. Save-A-Life had developed an agreement to pilot Save-A-Life's LFSA programs in Putnam County, New York. Defendants transmitted the defamatory ABC-7 report to Putnam County EMS officials, followed with questions and allegations about the report, and demanded responses. As a proximate result of defendants' actions, the pilot was canceled.

State of Vermont & the Save-A-Life Foundation

From page 7 of Second Amended Complaint (3/14/2008) linked above: http://tinyurl.com/5td2e5

E. Save-A-Life presented a pilot training program to the State of Vermont to provide LFSA programs in Vermont schools. Defendants transmitted the defamatory ABC-7 report to State of Vermont officials, followed with questions and allegations about the report, demanded responses, and demanded that a Manchester, Vermont newspaper that had published complimentary observations about the Save-A-Life program retract those comments. As a result of defendants' actions, the State of Vermont review process for the Save-A-Life pilot program was delayed, and Save-A-Life expended significant amounts of time and funds to repair the damage to its relationship with the State of Vermont caused by defendants.

10/14/08 NY Journal News article re: Save A Life lawsuit

From "Health Chief Denies Troubled Foundation Link" by Marcela Rojas, The Journal News (NY), December 14, 2008: http://tinyurl.com/82wu62

SALF's lawsuit contends that 11 organizations have severed their relationship with the foundation as a result of the three defendants' interference, including a pilot program with Putnam County's Emergency Medical Services.

But Robert Cuomo, director of EMS in Putnam County since 2000, said his agency never considered participating in a pilot with SALF.

"I can tell you with all confidence that there are no plans in the works or never an agreement made," Cuomo said. "I think I remember having a conversation about Save A Life in general, that it was available to us, but we didn't do anything about it."

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