Updated – Scroll down for information on case resolution.
SEATTLE - Attorney General Christine Gregoire has filed a lawsuit against a self-proclaimed natural medicine practitioner for making unsubstantiated medical claims about the effectiveness of "electrodermal testing" to diagnose certain health conditions.
The AG's Office believes Monte Kline and Pacific Health Centers in Bellevue and Spokane have violated the Consumer Protection Act by misrepresenting Kline's credentials to offer medical advice to consumers; misrepresenting the diagnostic capabilities of the electrodermal testing device; and using that device in a manner that has not been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
"The law protects consumers from being misled by so-called medical claims that are not supported by scientific proof of reliability," said Gregoire.
Kline claims "electro-dermal testing" can identify ailments such as allergies, nutrient deficiencies, "energetically weak organs," and certain viruses and toxicities in the body.
According to the complaint, the defendant states on his website that "electrodermal testing" compares to the "electronic measurements of Dr. McCoy of 'Star Trek' fame."
Kline heavily advertises his health center and its services on the Internet, radio broadcasts and seminars and makes claims he can help those suffering from adverse health conditions like high cholesterol, depression, hypertension, allergies, arthritis, immune deficiencies and osteoporosis. Kline, who has referred himself as Dr. Monte Kline in his radio shows, does not have a doctorate of medicine.
In addition to the "electrodermal testing," Kline also offers a treatment regimen that involves individualized diets based on the test results. The regimen includes health supplement products that he also sells.
Gregoire believes Pacific Health Center has administered this test to at least 3,000 consumers over the past two years. The Consumer Protection Act authorizes a penalty of up to $2,000 per violation. The state is asking the court to order Pacific Health Center to discontinue "electrodermal testing," as well as provide consumer restitution, and pay civil penalties and attorney's costs and fees.
Update: Case Resolution Information:
In September 2005, a King County Superior Court judge ordered Pacific Health Center in Bellevue and its president, Monte Kline, to pay $1 million in civil penalties for violating the Consumer Protection Act by engaging in the practices of medicine, acupuncture and naturopathy without a license. In addition to the civil penalties, Kline and Pacific Health Center were ordered to pay more than $700,000 in restitution for consumers and attorney's fees. The court order further prohibited Pacific Health Center and Kline from representing that they practice any form of medicine or other licensed health care, but did not prohibit them from providing nutritional advice.
Pacific Health Center and Kline appealed the case. In September 2006, the Washington Court of Appeals upheld the finding that use of the electrodermal testing machine constituted the unauthorized practice of medicine, naturopathy and acupuncture. However, the court also reversed the lower court’s finding that this violated the Consumer Protection Act, lifted the requirement that the defendants pay civil penalties, restitution and attorneys’ fees and ordered the state to pay the defendant's attorneys fees.
Kline is no longer doing in business in Washington state. The Attorney General’s Office believes Pacific Health Center administered its “electrodermal testing” to at least 5,000 consumers.
Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Seattle Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432