The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a fraud claim brought by plaintiff, a provider of home health care services, which purchased from defendant infrared lamps designed to relieve joint pain and improve circulation.
Plaintiff alleged that prior to purchasing the lamps, defendant’s sales representative informed it that the lamps had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy, a condition involving numbness and tingling in the extremities. Defendant disputed this claim and asserted that its sales representative stated only that the lamps had been approved by the FDA and not that the lamps had been approved for any specific purpose. The district court dismissed plaintiff’s fraud claim because, among other things, plaintiff failed to present any evidence of damages stemming from the alleged fraud.
On appeal, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision on the ground that even if plaintiff’s allegations regarding defendant’s sales representative’s remarks were correct, the misrepresentation was immaterial, and thus no fraud claim could lie. The court noted that plaintiff had the expected results from the lamps because they relieved plaintiff’s patients’ symptoms from peripheral neuropathy. In addition, plaintiff replaced the defendant’s lamps with another company’s lamps, which, like plaintiff’s lamps, were not approved by the FDA for treatment of the condition itself but only its symptoms. Because plaintiff could show neither material misstatement nor damages, the dismissal was affirmed. (Nightingale Home Healthcare, Inc. v. Anodyne Therapy, LLC, No. 09-2523, 2009 WL 4894242 (7th Cir. Dec. 21, 2009))