Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Rulings Kevin Trudeau Doesn't Want You To Know About

Kevin Trudeau, infomercial king, convicted credit-card fraudster, and repeated head-butter with the FTC, lost a battle in the Court of Claims recently in Trudeau v. United States, 68 Fed.Cl. 121 (2005). Trudeau's move from infomercials making false and unsubstantiated claims about potential health benefits to a best-selling book making similar claims, the latter of which gets substantially more First Amendment protection, is detailed in a good Salon article. After settling the latest FTC action against him, Trudeau filed suit against the FTC for breaching an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by announcing in the press release that he had admitted wrongdoing, while the settlement agreement recites that Trudeau denies any wrongdoing. Because the government was acting in its sovereign capacity, protecting the public interest, the Court of Claims found that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction under the Tucker Act.

Of course, Mr. Trudeau is still laughing all the way to the bank, since his book (I have rarely been more tempted to use scare quotes) continues to sell, despite the fact that it apparently offers little but assertions, phrases in all caps, and exhortations to sign up for a $499 service that will give you real health tips.

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