Dr. Oz Sued for “Burning Socks” Advice to Frank Dietl, Brother of World-Famous Private Investigator, Bo Dietl

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Is the pending Dr. Oz “hot socks” case frivolous or non-frivolous? UltraTrust.com investigates the lawsuit and discovers that one can’t judge a lawsuit by its cover and uncovers some revealing truths.

Dr. Oz gets sued by Bo Dietl's Brother for burnt feet

Lawsuits Stemming from Medical Advice is Nothing New

The Doctors and small business-persons that really want protection from lawsuits separate their work lives from their private assets by using an irrevocable trust

Estate Street Partners, creators of the Ultra Trust irrevocable trust and experts at helping doctors protect their assets from legal judgment's, investigates the recent lawsuit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court on May 15, 2013 by Frank Dietl, a New Jersey man, against Dr. Mehmet Oz because of advice Dr. Oz gave on his show [Dietl, Frank vs. Oz, Dr. Mehmet, 152423 NY, (2013)] (1). Mr. Dietl claims to have received third degree burns on his feet due to his advice (2).

Estate Street Partners wonders if the lawsuit is frivolous or just unusual. “Seemingly frivolous lawsuits can be grounded in law while lawsuits considered a slam-dunk by some may be frivolous. Until one peels back the skin of the onion, you just can’t tell,” says Rocco Beatrice, Managing Director of Estate Street Partners, LLC.

The most famous seemingly frivolous lawsuit concerning a woman who was badly burned by coffee, turned out to be a winner [Stella Liebeck v. McDonald's , Bernalillo County, N.M. Dist. Ct. (1994)] (3).

Rocco Beatrice clarifies and sheds some light on Stella Liebeck v. McDonald’s case to illustrate some important points that offers insight to the Frank Dietl v. Oz case.

“To succeed in court with a negligence lawsuit, a plaintiff has to prove a few things. First, they have to prove that the defendant has a duty to the plaintiff. In the case of the coffee, the court found that McDonald’s did have a duty to provide a safe product to the plaintiff,” explains Mr. Beatrice.

“Second, a plaintiff must prove that the duty was somehow breached. Again, in the case of the coffee, the court found that the coffee was not safe because it was extremely hot compared to industry standards, and it was foreseeable that a person may spill it on themselves and therefore the product (coffee) should be safe to spill.”

“Lastly there must be an injury or damage of some kind.” The coffee when spilled caused third degree burns to the plaintiffs legs (3).

“When you break a case down into sections, you can see why the court came to the conclusion it did. It doesn’t seem as frivolous,” points out Rocco Beatrice, “although the damages originally levied against McDonald’s may have been quite over the top at $600,000 (3).”

In regards to the Dr. Oz pending lawsuit, Mr. Dietl, who is the brother of Richard "Bo" Dietl, a former NYPD detective and a media personality (6), took advice from Dr. Oz to put rice in socks, place them in the microwave and then wear them to bed to aid in sleep, according to court documents.

The man, according to court documents, had neuropathy which diminished his sensitivity to heat in his feet and he applied the socks that were too hot, causing third degree burns.

“Applying the same procedure, the plaintiff could make the argument that Dr. Oz has a duty to the plaintiff because he holds himself out as a physician who gives advice on healthy living. The plaintiff must prove that this advice was somehow not safe.”

According to Mr. Beatrice, the plaintiff could argue that it was foreseeable that persons with decreased sensitivity would be watching the show, so there should have been a warning or heating instructions.

Mr. Beatrice points out that Dr. Oz may prevail arguing that it is not foreseeable that a person with neuropathy would put microwaved socks on non-sensitive feet without testing for excessive heat on another part of their body.

Although Dr. Oz may have a slight edge, it appears that this case may be a toss-up, which means that Dr. Oz and ABC could be in for a long expensive battle, rationalizes Rocco Beatrice.

“The only thing for sure in this case is that the lawyers will make money,” remarks Mr. Beatrice.

Regardless of how it turns out, Dr. Oz is not the first or the last Doctor to get sued, frivolously or non-frivolously.

In a study that came out in 2010 (Medical Liability Claim Frequency: A 2007-2008 Snapshot of Physicians, Kane, 2010) almost 50% of all physicians are sued during their careers and almost 25% are sued more than once (4).

“Just because Dr. Oz is on TV doesn’t mean that he is more or less apt to have a lawsuit against him. These lawsuits are not even always related to their practice. The perception is that doctors have deep pockets, so any chance to sue, people do,” explains Rocco Beatrice.

Estate Street Partners claims most physicians, like Dr. Oz, carry plenty of medical insurance and less carry umbrella insurance.

“The ones that really want protection from lawsuits separate their work lives from their private assets by using an irrevocable trust such as the Ultra Trust,” comments Mr. Beatrice.

“If a physician makes a mistake, a plaintiff can sue the physician and the physician’s business. That means the lawsuit could eat into family and personal assets. To prevent a plaintiff from taking funds, don’t give them any funds to take. Keep assets out of the physician’s name and in the safety of an UltraTrust irrevocable trust,” suggests Rocco Beatrice.

Mr. Beatrice further advises, “If a physician, business owner, or anyone for that matter, were to put their real property, holdings, investments, savings and assets into an irrevocable trust, then they legally would not own the items anymore. If they don’t own it, nobody can take it in a lawsuit.”

“I enjoy Dr. Oz’s show and I hope that he has taken the right steps to insulate himself from lawsuits. I would like to see him continue to offer advice without having to look over his shoulder all the time,” bemoans Rocco Beatrice.

“I would advise all my clients to seriously look into an well-written irrevocable trust like the UltraTrust that we’ve constructed to avoid the loss of personal assets.”

To learn how to protect assets save on estate taxes and probate costs visit UltraTrust.com, the irrevocable trust experts. Learn what is the difference between a Revocable Trust vs Irrevocable Trust. Visit MyUltraTrust.com to set up a DIY irrevocable trust plan.

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About Estate Street Partners (UltraTrust.com):
Assets can be protected from frivolous lawsuits while eliminating your estate taxes and probate, and also ensuring superior Medicaid asset protection for both parents and children with their Premium UltraTrust® Irrevocable Trust. Call today at (888) 938-5872.

1- iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=pcd_PLUS_uOqz1CTvyd8ggMf3Aw==&system=prod

2 - abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/dr-oz-sued-home-remedy/story?id=18773820#.UZ-nub0udNc

3 - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liebeck_v._McDonald's_Restaurants

4 - ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/363/prp-201001-claim-freq.pdf

5 - nydailynews.com/life-style/health/man-sues-dr-oz-burned-feet-article-1.1292333

6 - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bo_Dietl

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