SmileDirectClub, the online dentistry company that sells at-home teeth-straightening aligners, filed a $2.85 billion lawsuit against NBCUniversal on Monday, arguing that news reports from NBC News defamed the company.
The lawsuit takes aim at an “NBC Nightly News” segment that aired on Feb. 13 and its accompanying online article, which looked into customer complaints about SmileDirectClub’s aligners and featured comments from an orthodontics professor discussing the potential dangers of online dentistry. The suit claims that the patients who complained about the dental aligners were lying about the pain and other physical problems they faced to “retaliate” against SmileDirectClub, adding that the NBC News pieces defamed the company with incorrect reporting about the safety of its products.
“NBC misled its viewers and readers about the safety of the treatment that patients receive when using SDC’s platform, the very real involvement of licensed dentists and orthodontists in the treatment of patients using SDC’s platform, and the effectiveness of the treatment that patients receive when they are treated,” the lawsuit said. “NBC must be held accountable for its abuse of power and betrayal of trust.”
In response, an NBC News spokesperson told TheWrap, “We stand by our reporting and believe this is a meritless claim.”
The lawsuit is filed in Tennessee, where SmileDirectClub is headquartered.