LOS ANGELES – "Dr. Phil" McGraw stated in e-mails that he had "no expertise" in making the diet pills he endorsed, according to court filings in a lawsuit alleging the TV psychologist made false statements about the products.
McGraw also insisted on "the STRONGEST of disclaimers" in the products' advertisements before putting his name on the now discontinued Shape Up! diet campaign, the New York Daily News reported Monday, citing e-mail printouts that are included in Los Angeles Superior Court filings.
"This fleshes out our position that Dr. Phil was in charge ... he was rewriting the commercials," said lawyer Henry Rossbacher, who filed the lawsuit against McGraw in 2004 on behalf of three unhappy customers.
McGraw, the TV show host and author of "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom," has denied the allegations.
"It's a pretty silly claim," said his Dallas-based lawyer, Bill Dawson. "It's the kind of suit that makes people hate lawyers."
McGraw jumped into the lucrative weight-loss market in mid-2003 with a campaign that included advice books, a prime-time special with NBC's Katie Couric on obesity and dieting, and his Shape Up! With Dr. Phil McGraw products.
Shape Up! shakes, bars and multivitamins made by Irving, Texas-based CSA Nutraceuticals were sold in supermarkets, Target, Wal-Mart and elsewhere. The plan called for 22 pills daily at $120 a month.
CSA Nutraceuticals agreed to stop making the supplements early last year as it faced a Federal Trade Commission investigation into false-advertising concerns.
According to the label, the pills "contain scientifically researched levels of ingredients that can help you change your behavior to take control of your weight."
McGraw wrote the e-mails to express concerns with the ad campaign for the diet products.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking class-action status to include thousands of potential plaintiffs.
A judge could rule on that request early next year.