Plastic surgeons, arm and shoulder surgeons, and orthopedic surgeons have agreed to remain unaffected by a decision by a Florida state appeals court that upheld a $1.8 million plastic surgery loan settlement with a company that had accused them of fraud.
The decision by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal on Thursday overturned a decision last month by the U.S. District Court in Florida that found the companies liable for the $1 million loan to three former patients who had been using the loan for plastic surgery.
The court upheld the state’s decision to allow the companies to continue to make payments, while the plaintiffs’ attorneys will have until July 10 to appeal the ruling.
The companies are based in Florida.
The ruling from the Florida appeals court, however, does not address whether the companies are still liable under state law.
A spokeswoman for the companies declined to comment.
At the time of the settlement, the companies said they had already begun to reduce their use of the loan, which the appeals court said they believed to be in compliance with Florida law.
They said in a statement that the company will continue to honor the $5,000 in plastic surgery insurance they have received and will work with its insurance provider to reduce its reliance on the loan.
On the same day the appeals case was announced, a separate suit was filed in U.K. federal court, arguing that the settlement is “likely to have serious economic consequences for consumers and is unfair to consumers and other consumers, especially as there is no evidence that the parties intended to defraud consumers.”
Plastic surgeons, which are not subject to the bankruptcy laws in the United States, can have their loans forgiven, but the state of Florida says the $6.7 million payment they made to two patients with plastic surgeries in 2011 was not sufficient to cover the costs of their operations.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed that the companies had falsely claimed that they were the only companies offering plastic surgery services in the state, and they asked the state to stop paying them.
“It is hard to believe that the majority of plastic surgeons in Florida do not have the experience and expertise in the field of plastic surgery to ensure that the procedures they perform are the safest and most efficient possible,” the lawsuit read.
Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers passed a law making it harder for doctors to obtain a plastic surgery license, though that did not affect the ability of patients to obtain the loan or pay for plastic surgeries.
Plastics surgeons can only get plastic surgery licenses if they have completed more than six years of practice, but it is difficult for them to get a license without first passing an exam.
The state also has no minimum amount of training required for plastic surgeons to get their licenses.
According to the Florida Association of Plastic Surgeons, the state has the highest plastic surgery unemployment rate in the country, at 15.6%.