American Optometric Society Files for Chapter 11 Protection Following Order to Pay American Board of Optometry’s Legal Fees

LOS ANGELES—On Dec. 29, 2012, the American Optometric Society voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 protection with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Central District of California. This follows a ruling earlier last month in which Judge A. Howard Matz of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, ordered that the AOS pay the American Board of Optometry’s (ABO) attorney fees in the amount of $462,508 incurred as a result of a false advertising lawsuit the AOS brought against the ABO, in which he ruled in favor of the ABO, as originally reported in VMail, Aug. 27, 2012.

Judge Matz acknowledged in his ruling on Dec. 3, 2012, that the “AOS makes no specific objections to the hours or rates billed by the ABO’s counsel or the overall amount requested, other than to assert that the amount is more than AOS’s assets and would result in it filing for bankruptcy.” According to the bankruptcy documents filed by the AOS, the organization has assets of $52,008.75 and liabilities of $532,782.86. Also named in the bankruptcy documents as a creditor holding unsecured claims in the amount of approximately $51,000 against the AOS is The Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, for the organization’s use of its facilities during its 2012 annual meeting.

In a statement released last week which coincided with the filing, the AOS stated, “The AOS will operate no differently, in principle, both in identifying significant issues in the profession and supporting organized optometry, at the state and national level. The AOS will continue to mobilize a broad base of support to bring about positive change and prevent our profession from being damaged and divided. Following its founding principles, the AOS will stand its ground, holding the profession’s leaders accountable to the members of the profession.”

The organization also announced in the statement that its 4th Annual CE Symposium will be held April 12 to 14, 2013, at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, during which it will award the 3rd Annual Harvey Yamamoto Student Scholarship.