Opternative and Institute for Justice to Appeal South Carolina Law Banning Online Eye Exams

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Robert McNamara, senior attorney, Institute for Justice (l), with Opternative CEO Brent Rasmussen.
COLUMBIA, S.C.—Representatives from the online eye testing company Opternative and the Institute for Justice, a Chicago-based advocacy group, announced plans to move forward with an appeal to Judge DeAndrea Benjamin's dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Opternative. In January, 2018 Judge Benjamin ruled that Opternative lacks legal standing to challenge the law that barred it from doing business in South Carolina. The case, Opternative v. South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners, was filed by the Institute for Justice on behalf of Opternative. Opternative’s services are available in states across the country, but not in South Carolina.

In 2016, the South Carolina legislature passed the “Eye Care Consumer Protection Law” (ECCPL) that outlawed Opternative, which then stopped operating in South Carolina. Opternative sued, arguing that the South Carolina Constitution does not allow the government to regulate for the sole purpose of protecting one private group from competition.

Opternative said it is appealing the judge's ruling because it did not address the constitutionality of the statute. “We are grateful for the support of the Institute for Justice and we look forward to being able to offer low cost online vision tests in South Carolina," remarked Opternative CEO Brent Rasmussen.