Suit filed by seven small business owners operating 68% of tanning salons in the Omaha and Lincoln markets
Omaha, Nebraska (July 22, 2015) – Today, seven small business owners operating 30 tanning salons in the Omaha and Lincoln markets filed a lawsuit in state court against the Nebraska Cancer Coalition (NCC) and two of its officers. The action states that the plaintiffs have been harmed as a result of false, misleading and defamatory statements made by the NCC about their businesses and the indoor tanning industry.
“Small businesses in Nebraska are suffering, and consumers are being misled, as a result of the misinformation being put out by the NCC,” said Bart Bonn, president of plaintiff Ashley Lynn’s, Inc., the Palm Beach Tan franchisee in Nebraska. “We advocate moderate and sensible UV exposure for Nebraska citizens who choose to tan, and pride ourselves in operating our businesses within both FDA guidelines and the law. It is both unfair and unlawful for the NCC to attack our businesses with a campaign full of deception and untruths.”
The complaint alleges that through an orchestrated campaign known as “The Bed is Dead,” the NCC committed defamation and violated the Nebraska Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The filing highlights the fact that the American Suntanning Association (ASA), an industry trade group in which the plaintiffs are members, contacted NCC on multiple occasions over an 11-month period, documenting the inaccuracies and misleading elements of its campaign and asking the NCC to make corrections.
“It is unfortunate that Nebraska tanning salon owners must seek relief in the legal system to preserve the right to operate our businesses free from misinformation and attacks,” said Curt Bowen, president of plaintiff JB & Associates, Inc., the Sun Tan City franchisee in Nebraska. “But in this case, our very livelihoods are on the line.”
The suit asks that the defendants correct their misstatements to the public and refrain from engaging in further deceptive trade practices and defamatory statements. The full lawsuit, including detailed scientific information supporting the plaintiffs’ claims, is available at www.Nebraskatanfacts.com.
Plaintiffs’ efforts are being supported by the American Suntanning Association (ASA), a Section 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization representing nearly 1,000 tanning salons throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.americansuntanning.org.