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Thursday / May 26.
HomeminewsAmerican Optometry Group Legal Stoush Leads to Bankruptcy

American Optometry Group Legal Stoush Leads to Bankruptcy

An ongoing legal feud between the American Optometric Society (AOS) and the American Board of Optometry (ABO) has led to the AOS filing for bankruptcy.

The AOS was created in 2009, in response to the American Optometric Association’s decision to form the American Board of Optometry, for the purpose of creating a program to board-certify general optometrists.

The AOS is stridently critical of the ABO certification process, saying it is deceptive, weakens optometry, usurps the authority of state optometric licensing boards, and is expensive and time consuming.

The AOS and ABO have been involved in a long running legal feud over the certification process, with the court case hinging on whether an optometrist who is board-certified by the ABO would have a competitive advantage over an equally-qualified optom, who is not board certified.

In the latest development the US court has ordered the AOS to reimburse the ABO’s legal fees of almost USD$500,000.

The AOS was not able to convince the judge that the competitive advantage exists, so the Californian court came down in favour of the ABO.

In the latest development the US court has ordered the AOS to reimburse the ABO’s legal fees of almost USD$500,000.

The AOS said the award for legal fees was more than it could pay and, therefore, it would voluntarily seek the protection of US bankruptcy laws.

Online details of the bankruptcy application, filed in the California Central Bankruptcy Court, indicate the AOS only has assets of up to USD$50,000 and debts of between USD$500,000 and USD$1million.

In a statement on its website, the ABO said its “recent string of victories” represented “a resounding blow to the AOS’s credibility as a purported ‘speaker of truth’ about the ABO and board certification in general”.

It described the AOS lawsuit as “groundless and unreasonable”, accusing the AOS of continuing to “spin” information that is inconsistent with the facts.

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