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Florida dentists drop case to shut down Web site

Florida dentists drop case to shut down Web site
Florida dentists drop case to shut down Web site

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Fla. dentists drop case to shut down Web site
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 11:52:23 -0400
From: Paul Levy  

Florida has a whole raft of laws that purport to forbid citizens from
going public about official proceedings of various kinds in which they
have become involved -- for example, grand jury testimony, bar grievance
proceedings, and police misconduct deliberations -- and many of them
have been struck down under the First Amendment, one case making it all
the way to the US Supreme Court.  Such laws are so common in Florida
that the really remarkable thing about the statute that the dentists
invoked in their effort to suppress our client's web site was that it
did NOT contain any such prohibition, it just required the state agency
to keep its files confidential.  That little detail didn't stop them
from suing, though.

The dismissal came just a couple of days before the hearing on our
motion to have the case dismissed; our brief  is available at 


For Immediate Release: 				=09
Aug. 4, 2005

Contact: LuAnn Canipe (202) 588-7759	           =09
Paul Levy (202) 588-1000
Florida Dentists Drop Efforts to Shut Down
Web Site Critical of Their Work

North Palm Beach Internet Critic of Florida Dentists and State Health
Department Has Right to Post Complaints Online, Public Citizen Tells

	WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two Florida dentists who filed a motion for a
temporary injunction to shut down a Web site critical of them and the
Florida Department of Health's review of their patient's complaints have
dropped their lawsuit.

West Palm Beach dentist Richard Kaplan and Lantana dentist Leonard
Tolley filed suit in November 2004 in hopes of suppressing an Internet
site created by former patient Elaine Prentice, a North Palm Beach
resident. Prentice had used the site to warn the public about the
treatment she received from the dentists and about the manner in which
the Florida Department of Health and its hired expert handled her
complaint about the dentists. Prentice was dissatisfied with the
extensive dental work performed by Kaplan and Tolley and other dentists
and with the way she felt she had been induced to undergo the procedures
in question. She complained to the Department of Health and was told by
an investigator to "get some mental counseling =85 and get on with [her]

In a brief filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Public Citizen
attorney Paul Levy, who is representing Prentice, argued that Florida
law does not forbid citizens from complaining publicly about either
their dentists or a state agency's failures and that Prentice had a
First Amendment right to create the Web site
( to describe her travails. 

  "Their case was utterly frivolous and they knew it," Levy said. "We
had a hearing on our motion for judgment on the pleadings scheduled for
Friday and they didn't want to have the judge rule against them."

Public Citizen, which has been a strong defender of First Amendment
rights on the Internet, urged the court in a written memorandum to deny
a temporary injunction in the case. James Green, a West Palm Beach
lawyer who is a cooperating attorney with the West Palm Beach Chapter of
the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, was co-counsel on the
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization
based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit 

Paul Alan Levy
Public Citizen Litigation Group
1600 - 20th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 588-1000 

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