Get Out of Here With That
(CN) - "Limited only by what their imaginations can conjure," SWATS Edge Performance Chips and its two directors sell bogus "cooling concussion caps" with outrageously false claims, Alabama's attorney general claims in a 264-count lawsuit.
Attorney General Luther Strange wastes no time in unloading on the company and its two defendant directors: "Defendants Mitchell Ross and Christopher Key, two men with no advanced medical or scientific background, practice their homespun versions of medicine, science, and pharmacology through SWATS, their self-styled supplement and wonder-drug outlet near Birmingham. Limited only by what their imaginations can conjure, Ross and Key will say and sell anything under the premise of boosting athletic performance. In a sign of just how far SWATS is from its moorings, SWATS advertises that its 'Cooling Concussion Cap' can solve the NFL's concussion problem. But as experienced doctors are prepared to testify for the State, SWATS's Cooling Concussion Cap not only fails to treat or prevent concussive trauma, it actually contributes to the problem by providing a false sense of security that leads to worse medical monitoring, more risky behavior, and the decision to delay seeking immediate medical attention when injuries occur. Most remarkable is SWATS's view of its right to make these boastful claims: 'We don't have to prove that this is real or not. What we're looking for is for [science] to prove that it is not real.'" (Brackets in complaint.)
Nonsense, the attorney general says. That's deceptive trade.
"SWATS advertises that its products will reduce your risk of cancer, alleviate anemia, control blood pressure, stimulate muscle growth, increase testosterone, grow new brain cells, prevent heat stroke, 'reduce the long-term effects of concussive trauma to the brain,' boost the immune system, ease arthritis and inflammation, reduce lines and wrinkles, balance the hormones necessary for healthy sexual function, increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, promote weight loss and deliver anti-aging proteins," Alabama says in its lawsuit.
The complaint lists the company's pricey products, including "pain chip insoles" for $120, the "cooling concussion cap" for $120, and a "protocol" - a combination of products "specifically tailored" to the purchaser, for $500.
The defendants claim their $26 "pain management chips" will treat osteoarthritis, chronic inflammatory pain, feminine cramps, bone fractures, "any sports-related injuries or pains," and lots of other stuff, too, according to counts 178 to 222 of the lawsuit in Jefferson County Court.
It's all malarkey, the products are mislabeled, and may be dangerous, the attorney general says.
The company, based in Fultondale, Ala., has "rapidly expanded into a million-dollar business through a combination of controversy, shock advertising and the declaration that its products are world leaders in the sports-performance industry," according to the complaint.
Describing the defendants' promotions as "a circus" and "sideshow antics," the attorney general says that despite the bald lies, the promotions have worked. Ross held a promotional "news conference" before the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, and "despite the laughs from the media," SWAT's monthly bank deposits increased from $38,709 in January to $513,918.24 in February.
In a footnote to the lawsuit, the attorney general says SWATS has two other principals, Alfred Anding of Wisconsin and William Voss of Florida. The state says it "has not uncovered any evidence tying these two to the violations described in this complaint," so it is not suing them. "The State, however, may exercise its discretion to amend its lawsuit or to sue one or both if evidence tying them to violations is uncovered."
Concluding with "counts 264 (to) an unknown number," the state seeks an accounting, damages for deceptive trade, appointment of a receiver, penalties and costs.