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Diet Firm Pays In Death Of Woman

February 28, 1985 GMT

BELMONT, Calif. (AP) _ Owners of the Cambridge diet plan paid a six-figure sum to settle a lawsuit that contended the weight-loss program caused the death of a Belmont woman, a newspaper reported today.

The suit was filed in Santa Clara County by the family of Kathleen Tiernan, 31. Ms. Tiernan suffered a heart attack in a Menlo Park restaurant and died while in a coma in October 1982 after using the diet for about 50 days, her family alleged.

Ms. Tiernan, a high school guidance counselor and teacher, was one of eight people who died of heart attacks that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says were ″potentially linked″ to the diet.

The FDA had issued several warnings to consumers about very low calorie diets, such as the 330-calorie-a-day Cambridge plan, but declined to say the diet directly caused the deaths.

The out-of-court settlement prohibits disclosure of its terms, but the San Francisco Chronicle quoted unidentified sources as saying Cambridge agreed to pay a sum in the low six-figure range.

Cambridge Plan International at one time was the largest employer in Monterey County. Its diet plan once had 5 million followers.