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Oprah and Dr. Oz Settle in Acai Lawsuit

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By Kamika Dunlap on May 14, 2010 9:45 AM

Oprah and Dr. Oz have settled with at least three of the 50 companies the television stars sued for using their names and images to promote the nutritional acai berry drink.

Oprah Winfrey and Mehmet Oz, a medical doctor who appears frequently on her day-time talk show to promote health issues, have resolved the issue of misused images with one company, MonaVie, of South Jordan, UT. It was an amicable settlement, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Oprah and Dr. Oz sued 50 companies, including three from Utah, last year for using their names and images without permission to promote products for colon cleansing and to combat aging.

Dr. Oz has said he has never endorsed acai products and that it probably does not help with weight loss.

Acai berry products sold online can mislead consumers, resulting in 10,000 complaints in the last two years.

Acai is a fruit grown in Brazil and exported and sold in a capsule, powder or juice form. Many of the acai products are distributed through such stores including Whole Foods, Wild Oats and Jamba Juice, several grocery chains and on the Web.

In many of the reported complaints, people actually said that they thought they could trust the company because Oprah or Dr. Oz endorsed the product, according to the Better Business Bureau officials.

Marc Rachman, a New York attorney who represents Oprah and Dr. Oz and their companies, confirmed the settlements. MonaVie, and 456 Health Systems are no longer defendants

Oprah and Dr. Oz hope to reach agreements with the other companies involved in the lawsuit, Rachman said.

A third Utah company, Crush LLC of Sandy, remains a party to the lawsuit.