A multi-location cosmetic surgery clinic in the UK has sued a handful of former patients who independently left reviews it felt were defamatory or damaging to its business.
Signature Clinic, rated 5-stars by some 90 percent of alleged patients on TrustPilot, is one of the UK’s largest cosmetic surgery chains.
It operates eight service locations, claims to have treated more than 20,000 patients, and has assets of ‘nearly £3-million,’ or about $3,798,600 USD.
Signature Clinic has been accused of “using the law to try to silence patients who are unhappy with their treatment,” according to an original report published Monday by The Times.
“The fear of imprisonment should stop those itchy fingers.”Signature solicitor Jaroslaw Stachiw, to former Signature patient who ‘complained about her blepharoplasty surgery on Facebook.’ | The Times, “Cosmetic Surgery Firm Sues Customers Over Negative Reviews,” Monday, Dec. 18, 2023
Former patient Kate Kronenbach, 51, is being sued by UK’s Signature Clinic after leaving a review on Trustpilot in May 2023, about an arm lift surgery she underwent with Dr. Aiofe Turner at the Signature Clinic in April 2022.
Signature is seeking up to £10,000, or $12,662 USD. (Dr. Turner later left Signature.)
Another individual, identified only as Mohammed, ~40, is being sued by UK’s Signature Clinic for defamation after posting a Trustpilot review about the cosmetic eyelid surgery he received at Signature, in May of 2023.
Mohammed can no longer fully close his eyes.
Mohammed had described his surgery publicly, in July 2023, as “highly unsatisfactory,” while suggesting Signature was a “conveyor belt practice.”
After refusing to remove his review, Signature served him with a defamation suit seeking £10,000, or roughly $12,662 USD.
While the U.S. cosmetic surgery industry is well acquainted with the occasional lawsuits filed by providers against their patients, expert sources consulted by the Times suggest that Signature’s use of these lawsuits marks a first-ever use case for the nation.
“Signature Clinic’s use of lawsuits appear to be the first major attempt to silence consumers who place unflattering reviews online,” The Times reported, with insight from the UK’s Free Speech Union.
Signature Clinic, one of the country’s largest cosmetic surgery chains has been accused of using legal threats to try to silence former patients who complained about their treatments — the FSU is currently providing assistance to six of those patients.https://t.co/EUnuyNE0Vr pic.twitter.com/FV8uWxHATL— The Free Speech Union (@SpeechUnion) December 18, 2023
Signature maintains that the six lawsuits that it has filed against former patients and one other individual are not SLAPP suits.
That it has the legal right to address “untrue or defamatory” reviews.
“It said it was ‘entitled to protect the goodwill in its name and its business reputation as an asset of value,” the Times reports.