US Court of Appeals affirms dismissing 2013 lawsuit alleging damaging plastic surgery patient safety advertising

The Tenth District Court of Appeals affirmed the September 2013 dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a group of nonplastic surgeons alleging that patient-safety education advertisements in Utah were monopolistic efforts and messages causing them direct financial damages.

The nonplastic surgeons, calling themselves “cosmetic surgeons,” filed suit against the Utah Plastic Surgery Society, the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) and the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), claiming that the Utah Plastic Surgery Society’s advertising, including billboards and media interviews similar to the ASPS “Do Your Homework” campaign violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and claimed false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act, according to a press release by the ASPS.

The plaintiffs stated the campaigns were deceptive and indicated that cosmetic surgery is safer when performed by ABPS-certified plastic surgeons rather than the “cosmetic surgeons.”

The Court concluded that the plaintiffs failed to show plausible antitrust or deceptive advertising violation and maintained the previous ruling in favor of the Utah Plastic Surgery Society, ASPS, ABPS and the individual plastic surgeons involved.

The ASPS acknowledged Brian Brzowski, MD, president of the Utah Plastic Surgery, and Trenton Jones, MD, immediate past-president,, and the Utah Plastic Surgery Society for their efforts to bring the ASPS “Do Your Homework” campaign to their state and to defend the patient-education efforts.

The Tenth District Court of Appeals jurisdiction includes the six states of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, plus those portions of the Yellowstone National Park extending into Montana and Idaho.