Proskauer on Advertising Law
Proskauer on Advertising Law

Category Archives: Deceptive Trade Practices

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Judge Has No “Reservations” Dismissing Advertising Suit Against Omni Hotels

Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California recently dismissed with prejudice a putative class action alleging that the Omni luxury hotel chain deceptively advertised its hotel room rates on Expedia. In doing so, the Court found plaintiff failed to adequately allege that reasonable consumers would be deceived … Continue Reading

2020 Advertising Law Year in Review

While 2020 was an eventful year in the world of advertising law, it feels wrong to begin any type of “year in review” without acknowledging the global events of this year, and the challenges they have brought to every individual in one way or another. In our role, we are often in a position of … Continue Reading

Judges Toss Plain “Vanilla” Deceptive Labeling Claims

The beverage industry came out on top in a pair of recently dismissed lawsuits alleging the use of the term “vanilla” on drink labels was misleading, where the vanilla flavor allegedly did not come exclusively from the vanilla bean plant. Howard Clark v. Westbrae Natural, No. 20-cv-03221-JSC (N.D. Cal. December 1, 2020); Ryan Cosgrove et … Continue Reading

The Parent Trap: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Complaint Against Advertiser’s Subsidiary and Distributor

The Ninth Circuit recently upheld a decision granting a motion to dismiss a putative class action challenging the accuracy of “natural” labeling on soap products made by Grisi Mexico, where the lawsuit was filed against the manufacturer’s U.S. subsidiary and distributor, rather than against the manufacturer itself. Prudencio v. Midway Importing, Inc., No. 19-55150, 2020 … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Sides with Plaintiffs in Appeal of “100% Grated Parmesan Cheese” Claims

The Seventh Circuit recently reversed a district court’s dismissal of a class action false advertising complaint, holding that an ingredient list’s disclosure of components other than parmesan cheese did not foreclose the possibility of reasonable consumers being deceived by a “100% Grated Parmesan Cheese” front label claim.  Bell v. Publix Super Markets, Nos. 19-2581 & … Continue Reading

Much A-Brew About Nothing: Court Dismisses False Ad Suit Against Starbucks

Judge Alison Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently dismissed with prejudice a putative class action alleging Starbucks misrepresented itself as a “premium” coffee retailer. In doing so, the Court found that plaintiffs failed to allege Starbucks made any statements likely to mislead reasonable consumers, and that nearly … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Credits Arbitration Clause and Class Action Waiver in Experian Advertising Suit

In a putative class action concerning Experian’s marketing of its “Experian Credit Score” service, the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed a lower court order granting Experian’s motion to compel arbitration based on an arbitration clause in its terms and conditions. That arbitration clause also included a class action waiver, thus effectively barring plaintiff from bringing her … Continue Reading

“Fishy” Allegations: Judge Finds Plaintiffs’ Testimony in False Ad Suit Against SeaWorld Lacked Credibility

Following a three-day bench trial, Judge Jeffrey S. White of the Northern District of California recently held that Plaintiffs lack standing to pursue their false advertising claims against SeaWorld relating to its treatment of orca whales. Kelly Nelson, et al. v. SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, No. 15-cv-02172-JSW (N.D. Cal. October 13, 2020). Plaintiff Nelson alleged … Continue Reading

Court Gives Cold Shoulder to FTC’s False Advertising Claims Against Housing Insulation Company

In a dispositive decision during a bench trial, federal district court Judge Nora Fischer of the Western District of Pennsylvania found that the FTC failed to present any credible expert testimony to support its suit for false advertising, and entered judgment for Defendant Innovative Designs (“IDI”). FTC v. Innovative Designs, No. 16-1669 (W.D. Pa. Sept. … Continue Reading

As Challenges to Recycling Claims Rise, Use Caution When Giving the “Green” Light

NPR and PBS recently released an attention-grabbing investigation titled “How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled.”  According to the investigation, beginning in the late 1980s, “big oil” began a $50 million-a-year ad campaign promoting the benefits of plastic, while simultaneously informing the public that plastic is recyclable. In fact, according … Continue Reading

Survey Evidence in Amended Complaint Does Not Add Enough Juice to Save “Natural” Claims Against Mott’s Apple Products

Judge Beth Freeman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently dismissed with prejudice a putative class action alleging that Mott’s apple-based products were deceptively labeled “Natural” and as containing “All Natural Ingredients.” Yu v. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, No. 18-cv-06664-BLF (N.D. Cal. Oct. 6, 2020). In doing so, Judge Freeman … Continue Reading

Conagra Slips Away from Parkay Oil Spray Serving Size Claims

Conagra Brands recently emerged victorious when Judge William H. Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted summary judgment in its favor, tossing claims that the company disguises the fat and calorie content of its Parkay Spray vegetable oil spray product (“Parkay”) with artificially small serving sizes. Allen v. Conagra … Continue Reading

Judge Dunks Plaintiffs’ Claims and Dismisses Oreo False Advertising Lawsuit

Judge Edward R. Korman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York recently granted Mondelēz Global’s motion to dismiss a putative class action challenging the advertising for its signature Oreo cookies. Harris v. Mondelēz Global, No. 19-cv-2249-ERK (E.D.N.Y. July 28, 2020). Plaintiffs alleged the Oreo manufacturer’s front label statement “Always Made … Continue Reading

Court Gives Vanilla Ice Cream False Advertising Claims a Frosty Reception

Judge Louis L. Stanton of the Southern District of New York recently granted defendant Wegmans Food Markets’motion to dismiss claims alleging that Wegmans falsely labels its vanilla ice cream. Plaintiffs sued Wegmans for false advertising, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive acts in violation of federal and state law, alleging that despite labeling its product “vanilla ice … Continue Reading

Split Ninth Circuit Panel Vacates $24M Judgment in Hospital Gown Advertising Class Action

A split Ninth Circuit panel recently overturned a $24 million judgment in a class action lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark and its spinoff, Halyard Health. Bahamas Surgery Center v. Kimberly-Clark et al., No. 18-55478 (9th Cir. July 23, 2020). Plaintiff class representative Bahamas Surgery Center accused the defendants of misrepresenting the effectiveness of their surgical gowns at … Continue Reading

Burger King Wins “Whopper” of a Case: Federal Court Finds No Promise of Method of Preparation in Advertisements for Meatless Burger

Judge Raag Singhal of the Southern District of Florida recently granted Burger King’s motion to dismiss a putative class action challenging its advertising for its plant-based “Impossible Burger,” and its motion to deny class certification. Williams v. Burger King, No. 19-24755 (S.D. Fla. July 20, 2020). Plaintiffs alleged Burger King’s advertisements for its non-meat “Impossible … Continue Reading

Added Allegations of Consumer Survey Results Fail to Sweeten the Deal: Court Dismisses “White Chips” False Advertising Suit With Prejudice

We previously blogged about the dismissal without prejudice of a putative consumer class action alleging that the well-known confectioner Ghirardelli misled consumers into believing its “Premium Baking Chips Classic White Chips” contained white chocolate. Last month, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Northern District of California once again dismissed plaintiffs’ claims against Ghirardelli – this … Continue Reading

Court Decides Motion to Dismiss Crystal Light “No Artificial Flavors” Labeling Suit Lacks Juice

Last month, Judge Dale S. Fischer of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California denied Kraft Heinz’s motion to dismiss a putative nationwide class action alleging Kraft falsely advertised its “Crystal Light” drink products as containing no artificial flavors when, according to plaintiffs, they contain synthetic DL-Malic Acid. Narguess Noohi v. The … Continue Reading

Court Tosses Hogwash Claims, OKs Pork Producer’s Use of “Prime” in Advertising

Judge Paul C. Huck of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida recently granted a motion to dismiss brought by Defendants The Fresh Market and Tyson Fresh Meats in a putative consumer class action alleging that defendants deceptively marketed their “Chairman’s Reserve Prime Pork” product as graded prime by the federal Department … Continue Reading

First Circuit Affirms No Duty to Disclose Upstream Labor Abuses on Chocolate Packaging

We recently blogged  about a District of Massachusetts decision holding that it was not deceptive for Nestlé to omit from product labels the (alleged) existence of child labor in its cocoa supply chains. The First Circuit recently affirmed this decision, along with decisions dismissing identical lawsuits against Mars and The Hershey Company. The First Circuit … Continue Reading

No “White” Lie: Plaintiffs Fail to Show Reasonable Consumer Would Expect “White Morsels” to Contain White Chocolate

After the recent dismissal  of nearly identical claims, the same consumer plaintiffs have once again been thwarted in their attempt to challenge labeling and advertising that supposedly misleads consumers into believing the product contains white chocolate. Prescott v. Nestle USA, Inc., No. 19-CV-07471-BLF (N.D. Cal. June 4, 2020). Here, the plaintiffs alleged that Nestle’s use … Continue Reading

A Legen-dairy Victory: Ben & Jerry’s Wins “Happy Cows” False Advertising Lawsuit

Earlier this summer, the District Court of Vermont dismissed a false advertising lawsuit alleging that Ben & Jerry’s claims that it sources dairy products from “happy cows” on “Caring Dairy” farms were materially misleading. Ehlers v. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, No. 2:19-cv-00194 (D. Vt. 2020). The plaintiff interpreted the “happy cow” and “Caring Dairy” statements … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Cans District Court Injunction in Beer Brands Corn Syrup Suit

Last month, the Seventh Circuit reversed a district court’s decision preliminarily enjoining Anheuser-Busch from making various advertising claims related to the absence of corn syrup in Bud Light, including that Bud Light has “no corn syrup,” that Molson Coors’s competing Miller Lite and Coors Lite beers are “made with” or “brewed with” corn syrup, and … Continue Reading

Judge Dismisses Half-Baked False Advertising Claims Against Ghirardelli

On April 8, 2020, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted Ghirardelli Chocolate’s motion to dismiss a putative nationwide class action brought by several consumers who alleged Ghirardelli deceptively marketed its “premium classic white” baking chips as containing white chocolate. Cheslow v. Ghirardelli Chocolate, No. 19-CV-07467-PJH, … Continue Reading
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