The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have filed a motion in Federal Court to hold Alpine Industries, its officers and a related company, EcoQuest International in civil contempt of a Court order issued in January 2000.
The government is asking the Court to order the companies to stop making prohibited claims in marketing their air cleaning products, remove prohibited product claims from their Web sites, and impose daily fines if they continue to violate the order.
In January, a Federal judge ordered Alpine, a manufacturer of ozone generating air treatment machines, to stop claiming that its machines provide relief from any medical condition or that they effectively remove or reduce a wide variety of air pollutants from indoor environments. The injunction followed a November 1, 1999, verdict in which a Federal jury found unanimously that Alpine violated a 1995 FTC order by failing to have "competent and reliable scientific evidence" to support hundreds of claims for their air cleaning products. Alpine was also found to make unsupported claims that its products control indoor ozone levels.
The government's motion alleges that Alpine violated the January order by making prohibited claims about its ozone generators. Shortly after the Court's January order, Alpine sold its marketing operations to EcoQuest International, a new corporation.
Alpine Industries is a privately held, multi-level marketing company that claims to have between 75,000 and 100,000 active dealers nationwide. Its main facilities are in Greene County, Tennessee. William J. Converse is the company's president and chief executive officer. Michael Jackson is vice president and heads the company's marketing activities, which are now run by him through EcoQuest. The flagship product of Alpine Industries is the XL-15, which sells for approximately $600 per unit.