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The JONAH defendants said the young men’s statements were “sensationalized” and “inaccurate” — and irrelevant, because the consumer fraud law does not apply in this case.

“Is Weight Watchers liable … every time someone signs up for that program but fails to lose weight, or gains it back?” the defense argued in a filing. The attorneys further maintained that the New Jersey court is not in a position to decide a major social controversy, such as whether people can or cannot change their sexual orientation.

People “have a right to seek counseling to live their lives as they choose. It is a matter of self-determination,” Mr. LiMandri said.