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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE November 4, 2004

Atkins Diet Lawsuit Clears First Legal Hurdle

Judge Rules Suit Challenging Safety of Controversial High-Fat Diet Will Go Forward

West Palm Beach, Fla.—A landmark lawsuit challenging the safety of the controversial Atkins Diet will go forward thanks to the decision issued by Judge Susan Lubitz in Palm Beach County Court. Judge Lubitz ruled that a Delray Beach businessman’s suit against Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., has legal merit and ordered the case to proceed towards trial. Atkins’ request for dismissal was denied.

Florida businessman Jody Gorran, 53, brought the suit against the diet corporation after he developed life-threatening heart disease as a result of following the Atkins Diet.

During the upcoming trial, Gorran will demonstrate that he developed coronary artery disease— dramatically elevated cholesterol levels, severe angina, and a potentially fatal arterial blockage that required an angioplasty and a stent—after two years on the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet promoted by the late Dr. Robert Atkins. A heart scan done prior to Gorran beginning the diet showed no signs of disease.

During discovery, the next phase of the lawsuit, Gorran will seek further support for his contention that the promoters of the Atkins Diet knowingly misled the public about the diet’s potential dangers. He is asking that all Atkins products and books be required to carry warning labels. Gorran is also seeking less than $15,000 in damages.

“This lawsuit is not about money,” says Gorran, a wealthy businessman. “This is about the well-being of millions of people who are putting their health and their lives at risk by following Atkins and similar diets.”

Attorney Dan Kinburn, senior counsel for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, successfully argued the case in County Court for Palm Beach County, Florida.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

Related Links:
Legal order (PDF)

News release on lawsuit filing

The lawsuit (PDF)

Gorran’s opposition (PDF)

Gorran biography

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