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SmileDirectClub Sues NBCUniversal for Defamation; Shares Rise

SmileDirectClub wants $3 billion for what it says were false news reports about the company's treatment methods.

SmileDirectClub  (SDC) - Get SmileDirectClub Inc Class A Report shares rose in after-hours trading Monday, after the oral care company sued Comcast’s  (CMCSA) - Get Comcast Corporation Class A Report NBCUniversal for defamation.

SmileDirectClub wants almost $3 billion in damages for what it claims were defamatory news reports about the company’s treatment methods, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In a suit filed in Tennessee, Nashville-based SmileDirectClub cites a Feb. 13 “NBC Nightly News” report that outlined complaints from some SmileDirectClub customers and warnings about teledentistry from an orthodontics professor. The lawsuit also challenges the accuracy of an Internet story accompanying the TV report.

SmileDirectClub claims NBC’s reporting included numerous errors about the safety and effectiveness of its products and that NBC knew its reporting about SmileDirectClub was false, according to The Journal.

“NBC must be held accountable for its abuse of power and betrayal of trust,” SmileDirectClub said in the suit.

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A spokesman for NBC said in a emailed response that “We stand by our reporting and believe this is a meritless claim.”

Last week, SmileDirectClub reported weaker-than-expected earnings for the first quarter. But the company didn’t sound worried.

“The SmileDirectClub team has navigated through the initial obstacles of the global pandemic by implementing changes to how we operate our business,” SmileDirectClub CEO David Katzman said in a statement.

“We leveraged our teledentistry platform, along with our completely remote kit business, to continue to serve our Club Members during these challenging times. Our performance in the quarter, and more important, since then, validates the strength, durability and flexibility of our business model.”

SmileDirectClub shares stood at $6.88 in after-hours trading Monday, up 1.78%. The stock fell 1.46% during the regular trading session and has plummeted 47% over the past three months.