Petitions to reopen and modify or set aside orders: The FTC has received a petition from the following entity seeking changes in, or termination of, an FTC order. The FTC is seeking public comments on the newly-received petition for 30 days, until May 19, 1998.
- Columbia/HCA Corporation, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, has filed a petition asking the Commission to modify a number of outstanding orders, to eliminate the requirement that Columbia obtain the Commission's approval before acquiring hospitals in certain local areas of the United States and before allowing its hospitals in those areas to be acquired. Alternatively, Columbia asks that these orders be modified to require, instead of prior Commission approval, that Columbia provide advance written notification of such sales or acquisitions. (Docket No. C-3472, C-3505, D-9256, C-3538, and C-3544.) Staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, 202-326-2526.
Settlement agreements announced: The following entity has entered into a settlement agreement with the Commission. The final order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. The order, which has the force of law, was signed by U.S. District Court Judge John McBryde on April 14, 1998.
- AmeraPress Inc., which operates principally in Euless, Texas, and three other corporate defendants -- Voxcom Sales, L.L.C., located in Dallas, Texas, The Home Business Group, Inc., which has its principal office in St. George, Utah, and Vendworx, Inc., also of St. George, Utah, have agreed to pay $500,000 in consumer redress as part of an agreement with the FTC that settles charges the defendants violated the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair and deceptive practices. In addition, the defendants have agreed to various recordkeeping provisions that will enable the FTC to monitor compliance with the order. The Commission's vote to authorize final settlement was 5-0. (See news release dated February 20, 1998; FTC File No. 972 3295, Civil Action No. 4-98CV-0143A.) Staff contact is Gary Kennedy, 214-979-9350.
Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period, the Commission has made final consent agreements with the following entities. The Commission action makes the consent orders binding on the respondents.
- A consent order against London International of Norcross, Georgia, settles FTC charges that the company's ads were unsubstantiated and deceptive. The company claimed that its Ramses brand condoms are 30 percent stronger than the leading brand of condom and break 30 percent less often. Under the terms of the order, London International is prohibited from making comparative claims about the strength, efficacy or risk of breakage of any condom in the future unless the company possesses and relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up the claims. The Commission's vote to make the consent order final was 5-0. (I news release dated September 3, 1997; FTC Docket No. C-3800.) Staff contact is Kerry O'Brien or Linda Badger, 415-356-5270.)
- Consent agreements with three individual defendants will settle FTC charges that advertising claims made in radio and television informercials produced by Mega Memory Systems, Inc. were false and unsubstantiated. Under the terms of the agreement with Tru-Vantage International, L.L.C., the company will be prohibited from making claims that Howard Berg's Mega Reading is successful in teaching individuals to increase their reading speed above 800 words per minute while substantially comprehending and retaining the material. The final order with Jeannie Eller prohibits claims about the extent to which individuals who use Jeannie Eller Action Reading will learn to read. The consent agreement with Roger J. Callahan prohibits claims about Dr. Callahan's Addiction Breaking System and its ability to reduce an individual's compulsive desire to eat and any claims that the product cures addictions and compulsions such as smoking, eating, and using alcohol or heroin. In addition, Callahan is required to pay $50,000 in consumer redress. The Commission's vote to make the consent orders final was 3-0, with Commissioner Mozelle W. Thompson and Commissioner Orson Swindle not participating. (See news release dated January 13, 1998; FTC Docket No. C-3797, C-3798, C-3799.) Staff contact is C. Steven Baker or Russell Damtoft, 312-960-5634.
FTC complaints have been amended in the following cases to name additional defendants:
- The FTC has sought to amend a federal court complaint that originally charged that Nia Cano, also known as Nghia F. Cano, Nina DeCano and Nina S.Cano, doing business as Credit Development International and Drivers Seat Network; and Charles Johnson and Jaime Martinez illegally marketed a pyramid scheme. The Commission has asked the court to allow the filing of an amended complaint, adding Jelena Tkalec, Robert Larson, Bryan McCord and David Lewis as defendants in this case, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. (The court must approve the filing of an amended complaint any time after the defendants have answered the original complaint.) The Commission's vote to file an amended complaint was 5-0. (See news release dated November 5, 1997; FTC File No. X98 0004; Civil Action No. 97-7947-IH-(AJWx). Staff contact is Betsy Broder, 202-326-2968.
- The FTC has filed an amended complaint in its "Project Trade Name Games" case against Toys Unlimited International, Inc., Robert G. Garrow and Andrew B. Moss. The amended complaint names Bryan Mylett as an additional defendant. Project Trade Name Games targeted companies that fraudulently promised sure and generous profits through ownership of carousels displaying products licensed by well-known companies. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The Commission's vote to file the amended complaint was 5-0. (See news release dated August 5, 1997; FTC File No. X97 0074; Civil Action No. 97-8592-HIGHSMITH.) Staff contact is Joanna Crane, 202-326-3258
Copies of the documents referenced above are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.