A Southern California man who purchased a $1,866 water cleansing machine based on advertisement assertions of its medical healing capabilities has filed a federal lawsuit in Orange County accusing the Los Angeles-based seller of operating a scam in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Suffering from Type 2 diabetes that required open heart surgery in 2005, Orange County's 66-year-old Jong Ick Shin claims he relied on Zion Health Tech's promises that the alkaline water ionizer would decrease his blood sugar level, lower his blood pressure, decrease his weight, slow the aging process, boost his immune system and detoxify his colon.
According to the lawsuit filed inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, the plaintiff used the company's Smart 3000 machine for four months and didn't detect any medical improvements but rather discovered his condition worsened, causing doctors to prescribe higher doses of diabetic medicine.
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The plaintiff, who is seeking at least $5 million in damages as well as class-action status, also alleges the company violated Federal Drug Administration rules and California law by not getting government approval of its advertisement sales pitch points.
Diana Lee, owner of Zion Health Tech, denied all allegations, wants recovery of her legal costs and hopes to win a future summary judgment motion that ends the case before it reaches a jury.
In court pleadings, Lee's attorneys insisted the advertisement claims in, for example, Korean newspapers are "based upon and supported by scientific studies and academic articles demonstrating the health benefits of ionized and alkaline water."
U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney, a lifetime appointee of President George W. Bush, is presiding.