Can I sue a company for false claims?

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Can I sue a company for false claims?

There is a place that claims to use a bunch of herbs to cure what is known as an incurable disease. They have testimonials from people that have the same disease as my family member that claim to have been cured. I’m pretty sure these are lies. Of course they say individual results may vary. My family member began the treatment and now they’re on their death bed. It did absolutely nothing for them besides make their bank account smaller. Is there anything that can be done about this? Is there any way to force the company to prove these testimonials are real? We were desperate and gave it a shot specifically because of the testimonials. They even have before and after X-ray pictures showing improvements in people but now that I think about it this would be major news if true as the medical field says there is no cure for this specific disease.

Asked on December 10, 2018 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Your family member can, based on what you write, sue them for fraud: for material misrepresentations made to induce them to pay them for treatment--because he/she is still alive, even if on their death bed, he/she must bring the claim, not someone on his/her behalf. If/when he/she passes, his/her estate's executor or personal representative could continue the claim. Note that unless you can prove that the remedies hurt him/her or hastened his/her death, all that can be sued for is the money spent on the cure--that is, if the herbs are ineffective and the testimonials false, you can recover what was spent, but you can only sue for personal injury or wrongful death if they actively harmed your family member, and to show that, you would need a doctor to testify about the harm, which in turn means you'd have to hire a doctor for the lawsuit, which can be expensive. It may or may not be worthwhile to pursue this cause of action.
You could also report the false claims to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), which regulates advertising: they may take action against this business.


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