SmileDirectClub sues NBC for $2.85 billion

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

Teledentistry company SmileDirectClub is suing NBC News for $2.85 billion for defamation over a February report that was critical of its  online teeth straightening service.

The hook of the Feb. 13, 2020 report that aired on “NBC Nightly News” was the story was a woman named Anna who tried the club’s custom molded teeth straightening aligners along with its remote monitoring of her treatment.

After a year of using the aligners, Anna reported pain and went to a local dentist for an in person checkup, who found issues that could have been caused by the aligners provided by SmileDirectClub.

As part of the report, NBC took hidden cameras into a SmileDirectClub location and asked about the company’s stated policy of requiring customers to see a dentist in person after beginning treatment.

All of the employees in the clips aired by NBC said that was not required.

NBC interviewed a SmileDirectClub spokesperson who largely appeared to blame customers for lack of followup, not following directions or seeing a dentist in person, according to the footage aired.

When confronted by the hidden video footage, the spokesperson appears to attempt to shift blame to the store employees — but did thank NBC for bringing the issue to her attention.

In addition to damage to its brand and business, SmileDirectClub is also blaming NBC News for a stock slide that started shortly after the report aired — causing it to lose $950 million in market valuation.

“With this lawsuit, SmileDirectClub is not just holding NBC accountable for its misconduct, but it is also telling its affiliated doctors and shareholders that SmileDirectClub stands by their side and will fight to protect their interests and reputations,” reads the initial filing.

The lawsuit is being lead by J. Erik Connolly, the attorney who helped Beef Productions Inc. sue ABC News in 2012 about the so called “pink slime” byproduct that is used in meat production.

That suit was initially demanding $1.9 billion, but settled by Disney for $177 million.