Designs for Health (DFH, Suffield, CT) has announced a recent legal victory in its effort to protect its brand and customers from unauthorized resellers.
On June 8, 2018, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida entered a consent judgment permanently enjoining Fruitful Longevity, Inc. d/b/a Health Powerhouse and several other defendants from dealing in DFH products (Civil Action No. 17-23898). DFH filed suit in October 2017 when it discovered that Health Powerhouse was removing bar codes and expiration dates from DFH products it was selling on its Amazon.com storefront. In the course of the litigation, DFH uncovered a nationwide ring of perpetrators who opened accounts for DFH products and supplied them to Health Powerhouse. In settling the case, the defendants also agreed to pay DFH $220,000 in damages.
“Unauthorized sellers deface product labels in the mistaken belief that removing certain information will help them avoid detection,” explained DFH’s General Counsel Stephen Carruthers. “What they are really doing is putting consumers at risk and tarnishing our brand, so we are compelled to act quickly and decisively.”
Some unauthorized resellers of DFH products have gone so far as to steal the identity of health care practitioners. In December 2017, DFH won a $27 million default judgment in Connecticut (Hartford) Superior Court against Steven Lucchesi (CV176080533S), who appropriated the identity of John Pinto, a pulmonologist in Las Vegas, NV. After using Dr. Pinto’s identity to open a wholesale account with DFH, Lucchesi sold DFH products on his VitaDocs.com website. DFH quickly determined that Dr. Pinto knew nothing about the VitaDocs website and both DFH and Dr. Pinto filed complaints with the Las Vegas Police Department. “The Las Vegas police were very helpful in identifying Mr. Lucchesi as the perpetrator who stole the doctor’s identity and we took it from there,” Carruthers said.
For the past two years, DFH has aggressively taken the legal battle directly to unauthorized sellers and those that supply them. DFH has filed and settled several other cases in its efforts to curtail unauthorized sales of its products, including actions in New Jersey federal court and Connecticut state courts.
“The value of our brand is entirely linked to our customers – healthcare practitioners and their patients – knowing they will always receive effective, quality products from us,” stated DFH Co-founder and Chairman Jonathan Lizotte. “It’s essential to our company and to the people who depend on us and our products that our items are sold, handled, stored and distributed the way they are intended to be. That’s why we take swift steps, including legal action, when necessary.”
For more information, visit www.designsforhealth.com.