When the Los Angeles County coroner blamed the death of Tamara Walter, a Lap-Band patient, at least partially on the "suboptimal" anesthesiology care she had received at a clinic affiliated with 1-800-GET-THIN, the clinic smeared the coroner's anesthesiology expert, accusing her in a letter to the coroner of a conflict of interest because she had once worked at UCLA, which they said "competes directly" with the Lap-Band clinic. (To his credit, the medical examiner, Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, essentially told them to go jump in the lake. The consultant's work, he responded, was "both thorough and accurate.")
And they've sued me and my colleagues at The Times for reporting about them. So far, three of these lawsuits against us have been thrown out of court by state and federal judges. The plaintiffs have appealed the dismissals and filed more suits against us and commenters on our website.