Washington AG sues ‘gender affirming’ plastic surgeon claiming fake reviews, threatening patients

(The Center Square) – Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has sued in federal court Seattle-area plastic surgery provider Allure Esthetic and its owner Dr. Javad Sajan, alleging the…

(The Center Square) – Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has sued in federal court Seattle-area plastic surgery provider Allure Esthetic and its owner Dr. Javad Sajan, alleging the provider posted fake positive online reviews of its services and bribed and threatened patients to prevent the posting of negative reviews.

“Allure and its owner intimidated patients into removing reviews and ordered employees to post fake five-star reviews,” Ferguson said at a Thursday morning press conference from Seattle. “Allure violated a federal law…that protects consumers’ right to post honest reviews about their experience. Allure stopped at nothing to keep negative reviews off the internet.”

Ferguson’s lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. According to a statement, the Attorney General’s Office alleges Allure broke the law in several ways by:

  • Requiring patients to sign unlawful non-disclosure agreements, before receiving any treatment, that restrict them from posting truthful reviews about their experiences with Allure. Over 10,000 people signed these NDAs.
  • Threatening to take legal action against patients, telling some patients it would sue them for monetary damages if they refused to delete their negative reviews.
  • Offering patients cash and free services or products for taking down their negative reviews.
  • Requiring patients who accepted these bribes to sign a second non-disclosure agreement stating they could face a $250,000 lawsuit if they continue to post negative reviews.
  • Editing “before and after” photos to make the results of its procedures look better than they actually were.

Two people shared what they described as negative experiences in dealing with Allure.

Cynthia Tamlyn went with her loved one, whom she called “John,” to his Allure appointment in August 2020. Having previously worked as a medical office manager, biller, and coder, she expressed doubts at the time about the non-disclosure agreement, as well as the clinic being unable to provide its HIPAA policy.

John signed the agreement but changed his mind shortly after leaving. Tamlyn said the clinic wouldn’t give a refund for the consultation fee.

“Threatening patients into silence is an unconscionable violation of medical ethics and it prevents consumers like John and others who are looking for life-saving healthcare the information they need to make informed decisions based on honest and unedited reviews,” Tamlyn said.

Victoria Hester saw Sajan in 2021 for gender-affirming care after reading positive reviews online, but claimed a body examination by the doctor was conducted in “a very demeaning and humiliating way.” Sajan then told Hester he wouldn’t do the procedure. A physician’s assistant advised Hester to go on a nutrition plan.

“I broke out in tears and quickly ran out of the office, because I was so embarrassed and so traumatized and so humiliated,” Hester said. “What about these five-star reviews that I saw posted? What about all the rave reviews that Dr. Sajan really cared about transgender people?”

Hester posted a negative review about Allure and was then contacted by the company threatening legal action.

The lawsuit also accuses the company of applying for skincare rebates on behalf of its patients without their consent and keeping those rebates. Ferguson alleged Allure used hundreds of fake email accounts to register for rebate programs intended for real patients, receiving thousands of dollars every month that should have gone to patients.

Ferguson said his two main goals with the litigation are stopping the illegal conduct and holding the company and its owner accountable for their conduct.

The lawsuit asks the court to invalidate all of Allure’s signed non-disclosure agreements. It also seeks penalties of $7,500 per violation and requests that Allure pay patients restitution for its $100 pre-consultation fee and cash rebates that belonged to patients.