Thursday, February 16, 2012

Federal Trade Commission Issues a Stay in North Carolina Mall Teeth Whitening FLAP

You remember the FLAP. More posts are here.

On February 10th the Federal Trade Commission issued a stay in their enforcement of their finding against the North Carolina Dental Board. The stay is here.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has agreed to stay enforcement of its finding that the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners' efforts to block nondentists from providing teeth-whitening services violate antitrust laws.

The stay, issued February 10, was granted to give the board a chance to have the case heard by an appellate court.

The board asserted that a decision issued last July by a FTC judge would cause "significant irreparable harm" to the board and public, prevent the board from enforcing the state's Dental Practice Act, limit the board's remedies for violations of the law, force the board to adopt a particular interpretation of the law and force the board to provide administrative hearings to unlicensed dentists, according to the stay.

The FTC found the board's arguments without merit but granted the stay in case their decision was overturned on appeal, which the commission felt would cause confusion and require more letters to be sent instructing nondentist teeth-whitening providers that they were practicing dentistry illegally and ordering them to stop.

The board has said it stopped sending such letters two years ago.

Off to federal court we go.

Moreover, remember the North Carolina Dental Board filed a federal lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission in February of last year.

Eventually, the federal courts will have to decide whether the state's have the right to define what dentistry is, including teeth whitening/bleaching.

The case could become moot though, should President Obama not win re-election and different Federal Trade Commissioners are appointed.

Stay tuned...

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