Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City clinic owner sued; sexual assault alleged

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The distributor of a laser body-sculpture system for weight loss is suing a former Winnipeg clinic after receiving a complaint of inappropriate sexual conduct.

The lawsuit alleges the Winnipeg clinic owner, Dr. Susan Ghazali, and her husband, Hussain Guisti, altered their contract in order to compete with the Brampton, Ont., partner, Zerona Canada Inc.

Update

Dr. Susan Ghazali is not an owner of Inches Away Laser Clinic. Ghazali ended her ownership links to the clinic in June, her lawyer said.

The clinic is owned by her husband Hussain Guisti, his lawyer said.

Neither own Fat Away Laser Clinic.

Dr. Susan Ghazali is listed as a Winnipeg surgeon in the physician registry of the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons. She was not immediately available Thursday at her Pembina Highway office. A lawyer for the Winnipeg couple did not return a call, but Scott Turton, an Ontario lawyer for Zerona, said Thursday his client wants nothing to do with the couple and their clinic on Dorchester Avenue.

There are two authorized Zerona locations in Winnipeg -- one on Main Street and the other on Meadowood Drive in St. Vital.

Ghazali and Guisti operate two weight-loss clinics in Winnipeg, one called Inches Away Laser Therapy and another called the Fat Away Laser Clinic. One is located at the former Zerona clinic on Dorchester, Turton said. The other clinic is two doors down from the legitimate Zerona clinic on Main.

Turton said his clients have filed a statement of claim in Ontario but as yet, Ghazali and Guisti, of the defunct Zerona clinic on Dorchester, have not countered the allegations.

Zerona's statement of claim filed in the Ontario Supreme Court demands $500,000 in damages from Guisti and his wife for breaking their contract. None of the allegations has been proven in court.

Zerona is a trademarked weight-loss regime with Food and Drug Administration approval in the United States. Health Canada gave the system a similar regulatory licence in Canada.

The treatment involves a device with four octopus-like arms with laser hands that target fatty areas of the hips and thighs. The intent is to shrink fat cells. It is claimed the treatment takes off three to four inches in two weeks at cost of $2,000 to $3,000 in the U.S.

In the suit, Zerona alleges Guisti tried to exploit the company financially and sexually assaulted at least one client last spring.

There is no allegation of impropriety against Ghazali, Turton said.

Around the same time, Zerona alleges a second patient complained to the head office, but in that case, there was no sexual impropriety.

Zerona dispatched a senior executive, medical director Dr. Lisa Ye, to investigate the Dorchester Avenue clinic. Ye did not like what she saw.

"I was appalled at his behaviour in the clinic," the suit quotes the executive as saying on her return to company headquarters.

Ye also reported the Dorchester Avenue clinic appeared to be in breach of its contract obligations and about to launch its own business in competition with Zerona.

By June, the business relationship between the Dorchester clinic and Zerona had broken down completely and Zerona filed its lawsuit on Aug. 14.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 16, 2012 A8

History

Updated on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM CST: Updates with comment from lawyers.

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