Those ionic titanium chains and bracelets you see Major League Baseball players wearing, like the jewelry obscuring the neck of pitcher C.J. Wilson and others? Doesn't it all seem like a load of nonsense? That's what a lawsuit in Iowa alleges against a company owned by Kansas City Royals legend and baseball Hall of Famer George Brett.
From the Associated Press:
A lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Des Moines claims Spokane Valley, Wash.-based Brett Bros. Sports International Inc. has falsely claimed its Ionic Necklaces help customers relieve pain in the neck, shoulders and upper back, recover from sports fatigue and improve focus. The company has also falsely claimed its bracelets, which include two roller magnets, would relieve wrist, hand and elbow pain, the lawsuit said.
My first thought is, "You can't sue George Brett — he's awesome!" But then, being awesome doesn't give anyone the right to deceive ignorant people into handing over money. Brett's website doesn't claim much about the jewelry — 0ther than it is "stylish, soft and comfortable" and comes in 28 colors. At least that's what it says now:
The claims appeared on the company's website from 2008 to 2010, and still appear on the packaging of the products and on the websites of its distributors, according to the lawsuit.
George might be in trouble. If someone can sue Power Balance and win, they can sue Brett and do likewise. Not that he sounds too worried yet, if his quotes in the Kansas City Star are an indication. Brett said his lawyers were checking out the suit, which is seeking class-action status:
"I haven't read it," Brett said. "They're going to finish reading it tonight and tomorrow. I'll talk to them then, and we'll figure out what our response will be."
Always cool under pressure. However, in 2011, a flood of lawsuits drowned Power Balance, which sold a product containing a Mylar hologram that, they claimed, was "designed to react with the body's natural energy flow."
(What in the heck does that even mean? Mylar — the stuff they make balloons with? Hologram — are we somewhere on the Starship Enterprise? Natural energy flow — do we want to know?)
Ionic titanium jewelry is a little different. It's got ... titanium ions, of course, which ... nobody can say what they really do. Brett's are double-tapered, eh, double-bound, or something. This video, uploaded in 2009 and made apparently by a distributor of Brett's products, probably stated their usefulness best:
Like so much else in baseball, it's all a head game. The idea is: If you think it helps, then it couldn't hurt. For every Seth Thompson of Adel, Iowa (the plaintiff) who says the ionic titanium jewelry has no therapeutic value and he wants his money back, George Brett probably could produce another Joe (or Seth) who swears by the trinkets. That would be my tactic if I represented Brett.
Then again, the Power Balance attorneys must have thought of that one, too. And that company went bankrupt (and has been reborn).
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- George Brett