“The Dr. Oz Show” Wins Key Ruling Against the North American Olive Oil Association’s Lawsuit Challenging The Show’s Reporting On Adulterated and Mislabeled Olive Oil Imported Into the U.S.
“The Dr. Oz Show’s” Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit filed against it by the NAOOA was granted by Honorable Alford J. Dempsey, Jr. in the Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta, GA. The court dismissed the NAOOA’s lawsuit outright on the grounds that the reporting and statements made on “The Dr. Oz Show” are protected speech under Georgia’s Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participants) statute (O.C.G.A. §9-11-11.1).
New York – (March 3, 2017) – With the Atlanta court’s recent ruling on its motion to dismiss, the eight-time Emmy® Award-winning, critically-acclaimed and nationally-syndicated “The Dr. Oz Show” appreciates the careful consideration by the trial judge and his thorough, comprehensive opinion which vindicates its reporting. “On behalf of myself and my team, I applaud Judge Dempsey’s ruling. We value the confidence our viewers place in us every day, including this program which fairly reported on the mislabeling of extra-virgin olive oil. The NAOOA lawsuit was nothing more than an attempt by a trade organization to stifle the show in its dogged pursuit to uncover what’s really in America’s food,” Dr. Mehmet C. Oz.
On May 12, 2016, “The Dr. Oz Show” broadcasted a program on the mislabeling of extra-virgin olive oil found on supermarket shelves across America. In that program, Dr. Oz and his guest Maia Hirschbein, a certified oleologist and representative of the California Olive Ranch, reported on numerous accounts that as much as 80% of the imported olive oil in American supermarkets is mislabeled “extra-virgin” when it actually contains lower-grade olive oil or other oils altogether. This problem has been the subject of several government investigations – one by the United States International Trade Commission as far back as 2012 and another as recently as this year in the United States House Appropriations Committee report for the 2017 Agricultural Appropriations Bill. It has also been reported on by numerous reputable news organizations including, CBS News’ “60 Minutes”, The New York Times, Forbes Magazine and Time Magazine. The NAOOA, a trade organization, representing mostly importers of olive oil claims that the percentage of mislabeling is much lower and argued in court that it was only 2%.
In his ruling, Judge Dempsey states that the Court is “not convinced” that “The Dr. Oz Show” disparaged imported olive oil or falsely labeled it a “health hazard” by simply reporting facts that are evident of the problem. “Dr. Oz goes so far as to encourage his audience members to sample some of the olive oils being taste-tested on the show, which the Court must presume he would not do if the gist of the show was that the olive oils on American shelves were a health hazard.” Judge Dempsey further determined unequivocally that the NAOOA did not establish a case against “The Dr. Oz Show” under the Georgia law popularly known as a Veggie Libel Statute. This is the same type of law that some cattle feeders in Texas unsuccessfully used as the basis of a lawsuit against Oprah Winfrey nearly 20 years ago. Judge Dempsey expressed “grave concerns that the motivation for the present action falls directly within the purpose of the anti-SLAPP statute as an attempt to chill speech, in this case, in the competitive marketplace.”
"We are thrilled to be vindicated in this lawsuit and will continue to investigate and speak the truth about the importance of proper labeling on the foods we eat," Amy Chiaro, Executive Producer of “The Dr. Oz Show”.
About The Dr. Oz Show
Currently in its eighth season, the eight-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning syndicated daily series "The Dr. Oz Show" is hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz, accredited health expert, best-selling author, and world renowned cardiac surgeon. “The Dr. Oz Show” is an informative hour that offers audiences the opportunity to learn about a wide range of health and wellness topics. Tackling the balance of mind, body and spirit, Dr. Oz calls on specialists from a variety of disciplines for expert advice on how viewers can be their best selves.
Dr. Oz served as health expert on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” since 2004, sharing advice with viewers to help them live their best life from the inside out. Dr. Oz has co-authored six New York Times Best Sellers including YOU: The Owner's Manual as well as the award winning Healing from the Heart. Dr. Oz launched his magazine The Good Life with Hearst Corporation in spring 2014. He has a regular column in O, The Oprah Magazine.
Dr. Oz is a professor of Surgery at Columbia University. He directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and performs 100 heart operations annually. His research interests include heart replacement surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, complementary medicine and health care policy. He has authored over 400 original publications, book chapters, and medical books and has received several patents. Cleared in over 99% of the country, “The Dr. Oz Show” is produced by Harpo Productions and distributed by Sony Pictures Television. “The Dr. Oz Show” is executive produced by Amy Chiaro and co-executive produced by Stacy Rader and Laurie Rich.