EVENT: PRESS CONFERENCE: Connecticut Entrepreneurs Announce Major Federal Lawsuit To Fight Back Against State Dental Commission’s Attempt to Shut Down Teeth-Whitening Businesses.
TIME/DATE: 10:00 a.m./Thursday, November 16, 2011
PLACE: Front Steps
U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
Abraham Ribicoff Federal Building
450 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103
PARTICIPANTS: Dana Berliner, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
Paul Sherman, Staff Attorney, Institute for Justice
Lisa Martinez, Teeth-whitening entrepreneur
Steve Barraco, Co-owner, Smile Bright
Tasos Kariofyllis, Co-owner, Smile Bright
CONTACT: Shira Rawlinson, Communications Coordinator, Institute for Justice (703) 682-9320
SUMMARY: What is the difference between whitening your teeth at home with a product you buy online and whitening your teeth at a shopping mall or salon with an identical product bought there? In Connecticut, the person who sold you the product at the mall or salon can be charged with a felony and sentenced to up to five years in prison or $25,000 in civil fines.
Watch a short video on the case: www.ij.org/CtTeethVideo
On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, at 10:00 a.m., the nation’s leading legal advocate for entrepreneurs, Institute for Justice, and a group of teeth-whitening entrepreneurs will hold a press conference to announce that they have just filed a major constitutional challenge to Connecticut’s outrageous requirement that only licensed dentists can offer teeth-whitening services, even if customers apply the product to their own teeth.
Teeth-whitening services are popular and increasingly available at spas, salons and shopping malls. This has been a boon for consumers because these businesses offer whitening services at much lower prices than dentists do, often charging less than 25 percent of what a dentist would charge for similar results. But the State Dental Commission has ruled that only licensed dentists may offer teeth-whitening services. This ruling has nothing to do with public health or safety and everything to do with protecting licensed dentists from honest competition.
The U.S. Constitution protects the right to earn an honest living free from unreasonable regulations designed solely to benefit special interests. This case raises a constitutional question of vital importance: May the government prohibit entrepreneurs from selling safe, over-the-counter products that people use at home every day just to protect a group of industry insiders?