Atkins Lawsuit Gains Ground as Stay is Lifted
Heart Patient’s Lawsuit Moves from Florida to Federal Court in New York
NEW YORK—A six-month-old stay on a high-profile lawsuit against Atkins Nutritionals was automatically lifted by the company’s emergence from bankruptcy protection yesterday. The suit, which alleges that the high-fat Atkins diet caused a near-fatal cardiac event in a Florida man, will now go forward in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Following extensive reorganization in bankruptcy, Atkins Nutritionals has emerged as a purveyor of power bars, pulling back from its aggressive promotion of the high-fat, meat-heavy diet formulated by founder Robert Atkins. Numerous scientific studies, including recent findings by researchers at Oxford University, have linked low-carb diets to heart disease and other serious illnesses. Following a steady decline in popularity, the Atkins company filed for bankruptcy protection in July of last year.
“My goal is to warn people that this fatty, meaty diet can lead to heart problems,” says plaintiff Jody Gorran. “It could kill you.” Gorran filed suit against Atkins Nutritionals in May of 2004, and the suit withstood numerous legal challenges in Florida state court.
After more than two years on the meat-heavy Atkins diet, Gorran’s cholesterol skyrocketed and he developed a near-fatal artery blockage requiring a stent. A heart scan done prior to Gorran embarking on the Atkins diet revealed no hint of blockage. Gorran is asking that all Atkins products and books be required to carry warning labels. He is seeking less than $15,000 in damages.
Attorney Dan Kinburn, Esq., associate general counsel for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, successfully defended the case against attempts to have it dismissed in County Court for Palm Beach County, Florida. Mr. Kinburn will continue to represent Gorran in federal court.
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.
Jeanne S. McVey
Dan Kinburn, Esq.
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