Michael Jackson's longtime dermatologist and friend filed suit Monday accusing another physician with a decades-long relationship with the pop icon of slandering him in a British tabloid report about Jackson's death.
In papers filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, lawyers for Dr. Arnold Klein alleged that cosmetic surgeon Dr. Steven Hoefflin made statements to the newspaper that he knew were false in an attempt to wreck a rival's reputation and hurt his celebrity-studded Beverly Hills practice.
Hoefflin, a Santa Monica doctor with his own stable of rich and famous patients, and Klein are "competitors in a highly specialized and elite field which caters to a very exclusive clientele," Klein's attorneys claimed in the suit. They wrote that Hoefflin's comments in an Aug. 26 article in the London paper The Sun have caused "extensive damage" to a reputation that Klein has taken a career to build and that includes media-bestowed titles such as "dermatologist to the stars" and "king of collagen."
"Dr. Klein has been shunned and avoided. . . . [He] has suffered shame, mortification and hurt feelings," his lawyers alleged in the suit that seeks unspecified financial damages.