Monday, November 05, 2007

Ex-Ballplayer Says Hospital Marketing Hits One Foul

The World Series is over, and now Newsday reports how a former major league baseball player claimed a local hospital's fund raising falsely used his endorsement.

After having shoulder surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, former Mets star Ed Kranepool spoke glowingly of his doctor.

'I couldn't have asked for better,' Kranepool said in the spring newsletter of the hospital's parent company, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System Foundation.

But Kranepool, 62, says North Shore went too far when it then used his photo and repeated his surgery story without permission on a fundraising postcard sent in July. He is suing in federal court for $12 million, charging that his medical information was used to create a false endorsement.

According to the lawsuit, the postcard violated federal privacy laws, 'diluted' Kranepool's trademark and 'irreparably harmed and injured' his ability to garner future endorsement deals.

'At no point did he ever intend, nor was he ever asked, to give his endorsement of the hospital,' said Baron. 'It affects his control of who and what he is.'

Sent to about 25,000 households in the New York City area, the postcard does not explicitly say Kranepool endorses the hospital.

'The treatment received at LIJ restored him to full mobility and today he's back on the golf course, the tennis court -- and the backyard, tossing around a baseball with his grandson,' the postcard says.

"Say it ain't so." It is sad that it is now difficult to distinguish hospital fund-raising from endorsements of athletic shoes.

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