Local prosthetics provider claims slander by competitor

Kelly Holleran Jul. 13, 2012, 7:31am


A provider of prosthetic devices has filed suit against one of its competitors, alleging the company engaged in slander against it, causing it to lose clients.

Letourneau Lifelike Orthotics and Prosthetics claims it faces unfair competition from defendants Hauser Orthotics and Prosthetics, Freedom Orthotics and Prosthetics and Prosthetic Science Houston.

The defending companies have engaged in illegal actions, including slander and monetary gifts, to lure patients away from Letourneau, according to the complaint filed June 23 in Jefferson County District Court.

The defendants began marketing their services in Beaumont and surrounding areas in 2010, but did not have the proper licenses to do so, the suit states. Despite their lack of proper documentations, the defendants have continued to directly market to their and Letourneau's customers by offering free transportation and lodging in return for business, the complaint says.

The defendants have also enticed customers to their companies by offering free products, then charging Medicare without the required authorizations, Letourneau claims. They have engaged in improper telemarketing practices and have offered illegal incentives, such as cash, gift cards, free trips and other items for free or below market value, according to the complaint.

"These acts by defendants are in violation of the Social Security Act, Medicare laws and anti-kickback statutes, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, Texas Illegal Remuneration laws and the Texas Free Enterprise and Antitrust Act of 1983," the suit states.

Not only have the defendants engaged in multiple illegal actions, but they have also slandered Letourneau in an attempt to steal customers away, the complaint says.

"Defendants told customers and plaintiff's clients that plaintiff's business and its employees were unqualified and that the services and products offered by plaintiff were terrible, no good and fell apart," the suit states.

In its complaint, Letourneau is seeking actual damages, plus three times the actual damages of the Texas Business and Commerce Code, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys' fees, costs, exemplary damages and other relief the court deems just.

J. Mitchell Smith and Toby F. Nash of Germer Gertz in Beaumont will be representing it.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Case No. A192-638

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