RIVERSIDE, Calif.—U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Central District of California converted the American Optometric Society’s (AOS) bankruptcy case from one under Chapter 11 to one under Chapter 7 on July 18, as requested by a motion filed by the American Board of Optometry (ABO). “This means that the AOS will be forced to liquidate its assets and cease operations,” according to a statement from the AOS.

The AOS filed for Chapter 11 protection during the last week of 2012 (as reported by VMail Jan. 4, 2013) following a court order that the AOS pay ABO attorney fees in the amount of $462,508 incurred as a result of losing a false advertising lawsuit the AOS brought against the ABO. Honorable Judge A. Howard Matz of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, ruled in favor of the ABO in the false advertising lawsuit in his written ruling issued Aug. 23, 2012, as reported by VMail, Aug. 27, 2012.

“We are pleased with the judge’s decision,” said Paul Ajamian, OD, ABO chairman of the board. “This verdict, along with the prior court ruling that the AOS lawsuit was ‘groundless and unreasonable,’ highlights the impropriety of their divisive conduct, justifying strong and swift action by the ABO. The hostile and acrimonious rhetoric generated by a handful of individuals set on slowing the progress of our profession has failed, and their organization has been ordered to cease operating.”

“The AOS is uncertain what will happen next,” said the statement from the AOS board of directors. “The AOS remains committed to our members and will continue to keep you informed as we move forward.”