Miami Plastic Surgeon Sues Two Patients For Negative Reviews After He Had Them Sign Illegal Non Disparagement Agreements

from the this-again dept

What is it with plastic surgeons suing their former customers over negative reviews? We've written stories with that basic plotline over and over and over again. The latest involves Miami-based plastic surgeon Dr. Leonard Hochstein, who the article lets us know, has appeared on "The Real Housewives of Miami." Except, now he's getting attention for suing two of his former clients who left negative reviews online. Even though there's now a law, the Consumer Review Fairness Act, that bars anyone from forcing customers to sign a non-disparagement clause, Hochstein did so anyway. He insists he only recently became aware of that law. But he won't stop suing those customers.

His quotes are truly a work of art.

"I didn't have a choice, this is the last thing you want to do," said Dr. Hochstein.

Yeah, let's review this for a second: you did have a choice. You had lots of choices. You didn't need to sue. Indeed, you shouldn't have sued. Because before this, what people knew of your reputation, was that (and I'm not making this up), you were called "the Boob God." I mean, you even promoted yourself that way:

And, now, your name is splashed all over the news as the boob who decided to sue his patients over a few negative reviews. So you had a choice. And you chose unwisely.

"All I ever wanted was for people to be honest," he said.

Okay. Here's some honesty: don't (1) force people to sign illegal contracts that say they can't ever say anything negative about you, and (2) don't then sue those customers. Beyond being illegal under the Consumer Review Fairness Act, the agreement didn't say "be honest in your reviews." It said that your customers are not allowed to post "negative reviews or disparaging comments or statements about Dr. Leonard Hochstein or his employees." So, it's bullshit that you wanted people to be honest, because if they were honestly negative about you, you were telling them they had to shut up. And now you're suing them.

The article notes that the law doesn't prevent Hochstein from suing his patients, though now that he's getting attention for this, I'd image the FTC or potentially Florida's Attorney General might want to look into the fact that he made a bunch of patients sign such agreements. But still, Hochstein appears to have no intention of backing down:

Dr. Hochstein says he's moving forward with both cases.

"Be honest, tell the truth," he said. "There's nothing wrong with saying 'I didn't like my surgery, I didn't like how it went' and just stop there, don't make things up."

Once again, I feel the need to point out that the contract Hochstein made his clients sign would not have, in fact, allowed them to say "I didn't like my surgery." Because it forbade all negative reviews.

Over the weekend, it was reported that, far from backing down, Hochstein has now asked a court to throw his former client in jail for continuing to talk about the case.

According to legal documents obtained by The Blast, Hochstein filed a motion for bodily attachment against Kristen LaPointe, which in basically asks a judge to lock her up until she removes all negatives posts about the doctor as a part of a court order.

Unfortunately, despite "obtaining" those legal documents, The Blast didn't actually post them, so we have to rely on what they claim. Similarly, the NBC article above doesn't link to the actual court records, and a quick search of the Miami Dade court records online finds other unrelated lawsuits involving a Dr. Leonard Hochstein, but not the cases discussed here. So perhaps there are more details here, but doctors suing patients over reviews is never a good look -- especially after having them sign a non-disparagement clause. Asking to lock up patients for their reviews is even worse. And since Hochstein claims he was unaware of the Consumer Review Fairness Act, he might also be unaware of Florida's anti-SLAPP law. He might want to familiarize himself with it, because it certainly seems like he might run into some issues with that law as well.

Filed Under: anti-slapp, boob god, crfa, leonard hochstein, non-disparagement clause, reviews, slapp suits

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  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 May 2019 @ 6:42am

    We elected him president. He represents us. Accurately.

    He proclaimed he would be the greatest president for LGBT people. When he won, he proceeded to stack his administration with anti-LGBT bigots such as Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos. He has passed no legislation or signed any executive order that enriches or betters the lives of LGBT people specifically. His administration has, on the other hand, banned trans people from serving in the military and weakened Department of Education guidelines on helping LGBT students. Now his administration opposes the Equality Act — which would enshrine non-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity into federal law — because it would prevent his true voting base of conservative Christians from being able to use religious beliefs as justification for kicking gay people out of employment, housing, etc. And that is despite Trump himself saying in 2000 that he would support such a law.

    He proclaimed he would be the best president for Black people. When he won, he then proceeded to stack his administration with racists such as Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and (again) Betsy DeVos. He has passed no legislation or signed any executive order that enriches or betters the lives of Black people specifically. He has, however, given cover to very fine peo—I mean, White supremacists, and he has insulted several Black people to absurd degrees (including Colin Kaepernick). And if we move beyond Black people to people of color in general, his response to Puerto Rico alone is enough to make him and his administration look racist. Oh, and lest we forget: Trump was one of the major pushers of the racially motivated “birther” movement to prove Barack Obama was not a citizen of the United States.

    I do not recall him proclaiming he would be the greatest president for women, but I can guarantee he would have if he thought he could get away with it. That said, his administration has stacked the courts with judges favorable to dismantling Roe v. Wade and a woman’s absolute right to choose whether she wants an abortion. It has also weakened Title IX protections for college students, thus making it harder for them to properly report rapes and sexual assaults. And while you may not want to notice, Trump saves his most vicious, vile, and otherwise hurtful attacks for women: Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, and Ilhan Omar — for starters — have all been attacked more often, and with far more venom, than any of their male colleagues.

    Rich assholes, bigoted White people, and anti-abortion conservative Christians (which sometimes all go hand-in-hand!) elected Donald Trump. He represents them. Accurately. Everyone else can apparently fuck off and die, so far as he cares.

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