Entrepreneurs Head to Court in Challenge to Alabama Teeth-Whitening Monopoly

COURT ARGUMENT TOMORROW:
Entrepreneurs Head to Court in Challenge to Alabama Teeth-Whitening Monopoly

A 2011 law makes it a crime for non-dentists to offer perfectly safe teeth-whitening services

TIME & LOCATION:
Thursday, September 4, 2014, at 9:30 a.m.
Courtroom of the Hon. Elisabeth French
Jefferson County Courthouse, Room 610
716 Richard Arrington, Jr. Blvd. N.
Birmingham, Alabama 35203

PARTICIPANTS:
Paul Sherman, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
Arif Panju, Attorney, Institute for Justice

SUMMARY:
Tomorrow, at 9:30 a.m., a judge from the Circuit Court for the 10th Judicial Circuit in Birmingham, Ala., will hear summary judgment arguments that will decide if it is constitutional for dentists to maintain a lucrative monopoly on offering popular teeth-whitening services.

Represented by the Institute for Justice, teeth-whitening entrepreneurs Joyce Osborn Wilson and Keith Westphal filed a lawsuit last year challenging a 2011 Alabama law that makes it a crime for non-dentists to sell over-the-counter teeth-whitening products and provide a clean, comfortable place for customers to apply the products to their own teeth. Passed in response to pressure from licensed dentists, the law can subject entrepreneurs like Wilson and Westphal to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine for any violations.

Unwilling to risk thousands of dollars in fines and jail time, Wilson shut down her teeth-whitening business, and Westphal has been prevented from expanding his North Carolina-based business into Alabama.

Teeth-whitening products are regulated by the FDA as cosmetics, which means anyone—even a minor—can purchase them and apply them to their own teeth without a prescription and without supervision or instruction. Despite the safety of these products, at least 30 states have taken action to prohibit non-dentist from offering teeth whitening services.

For more information on this lawsuit, visit www.ij.org/teethwhitening. Founded in 1991, the Institute for Justice is the national law firm for liberty.

 

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