American Dental Association Sues Los Angeles Lawyer for Defamation

May 15, 2002
Lawsuit cites lawyer's smear campaign as attempt to promote himself and firm.

The American Dental Association (ADA) filed suit today against a Los Angeles attorney, charging the lawyer with targeting the
nonprofit association with an orchestrated "campaign of lies and
distortion" to promote himself and his law firm.

The complaint, filed in the United States District Court in Los Angeles, arises out of attempts by the lawyer, Shawn Khorrami, to promote himself and his firm through false and defamatory statements printed in press releases and on the Internet. The complaint seeks compensatory damages for harm suffered by the ADA and punitive damages to deter further wrongful conduct
against the ADA.

"With this lawsuit, we are seeking to stop the defendant from making libelous statements that impugn the reputation of the ADA and his attempting to erode the public trust that we have built through more than 140 years of caring for the nation's oral health," said Gregory Chadwick, D.D.S., ADA

Dr. Chadwick said the ADA advocates fair and honest debate, but it cannot stand idly by while someone makes such libelous, unwarranted attacks.

According to the lawsuit, Khorrami falsely and maliciously accuses the ADA of defrauding and endangering the lives of the American public by promoting allegedly unsafe dental practices - specifically the use of dental amalgam fillings - and exerting "undue and unfair pressure" on dentists as a result of a purported "vested economic interest" of the ADA in amalgam.

"We will not under any circumstances allow our good name to be defamed, especially in a lawyer's scheme to generate business," Dr. Chadwick vowed. "Equally important is this lawyer's exploitation of vulnerable individuals with serious illnesses into believing their conditions could improve with unnecessary oral care."

In the lawsuit, the association says the defendant was well aware when he made the statements that numerous scientific and leading consumer organizations, independent of the ADA, have concluded that dental amalgam is safe. In addition, the ADA has no vested economic interest in the material.

Dental amalgam is just one of many dental materials that the ADA evaluates to help dentists and their patients choose safe and effective treatments, according to James B. Bramson, D.D.S., ADA executive director.

"The ADA is a strong proponent of choice, with patients and their dentists discussing the full range of treatment options, including filling materials, and together deciding what is clinically appropriate," explained Dr. Bramson.

He said through the ADA's efforts in education, research and
professionalism, Americans enjoy the highest standard of oral health care in the world.

"A lot of good people worked hard to achieve this standard, and to build and maintain the ADA's good name. We will not capitulate to the calculated, self-promotional aims of the defendant," declared Dr. Bramson. "We will protect the good name of the ADA from such unwarranted, malicious assaults."

The ADA is the nation's oldest national dental association, representing more than 141,000 members. It advocates for public health and promotes the art and science of dentistry. ADA member dentists have a commitment to provide high-quality oral health care and promote accessible oral health care to everyone.