Court orders AOS to pay ABO attorney’s fees

December 5, 2012

The American Board of Optometry issued the following release on Dec. 4, 2012:

The Trial Court of California yesterday again ruled in favor of the American Board of Optometry (ABO) by ordering the American Optometric Society (AOS) to pay the ABO attorney’s fees in the amount of $462,508.

Judge A. Howard Matz ruled that the AOS claim was “groundless and unreasonable” making it “an exceptional case warranting an award of attorneys’ fees to ABO as the prevailing party.”  In his ruling, Judge Matz pointed out many issues including the following:

  • The nature of the AOS’s case, “to claim board certification…is itself the inherent falsity… defies… logic, and it lacks total support in the evidence.”
  • “The evidence that I heard… suggested that AOS got panicky even before the ABO was formed… [and] AOS was in the works to derail it …[AOS] was so quick to burst from the gate that it forgot the benefit of waiting to see what the impact of ABO would be…”
  • “I want the record to reflect… that there is a woeful shortage of evidence of falsity, much less confusion, much less injury and damage…”
  • “AOS’s survey evidence was flawed and the Court emphasized the evidence pointing to a political, anti-competitive motivation for initiating the action.”

“This finding again reaffirms that the lawsuit was groundless and unreasonable,” said Paul C. Ajamian, O.D., ABO chairman of the board.  “The case is over.  The profession has moved on.  We are making great strides to build a program that will be available for those who see value in demonstrating competence beyond entry level to their patients.”

The complete court document on this decision is available on the ABO website at http://bit.ly/RBB2G2.  Documents on the Court Order and Final Judgment in favor of Defendant American Board of Optometry, Inc. and against Plaintiff American Optometric Society, Inc. are also available on the site.

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