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Consumer Product Matters A product safety and consumer related regulation and litigation blog

Category Archives: State Unfair Competition Laws

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Stuck in the Middle with the FTC

Posted in Advertising, Federal Regulations, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Litigation, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws, Supply Chain Risk Management

“…Clowns to the right of me, jokers to the left, here I am…” -Stealers Wheel (1972) Legal actions regarding “Made in the USA” claims, whether prosecuted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or through various state unfair trade practices acts, often settle early in the proceedings.  For example, in 2014, the FTC issued 16 “closing… Continue Reading

Another California Dismissal of Proposed Class Action Regarding Disclosure of Forced Labor in the Supply Chain

Posted in Advertising, Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Class Actions, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws, Supply Chain Risk Management

We recently blogged about a new wave of class action litigation related to California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act.  In December, Nestlé USA won the dismissal of a complaint against it alleging that the company was “obligated to inform consumers that some proportion of its cat food products may include seafood which was sourced from… Continue Reading

Class Action Defense Pick-Off Strategy Shot Down by SCOTUS

Posted in Litigation, Product Class Actions, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws, Uncategorized

Our colleagues Michael Arnold and Gauri Punjabi recently discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of the Federal Rule 68 “pick off” strategy on Mintz Levin’s Employment Matters Blog.  We previously blogged about this crafty strategy employed by class-action defense counsel back in November 2014.  Following the recent Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez decision, defense counsel may… Continue Reading

Knockout in Round One: Court Dismisses California Supply Chains Act Class Action

Posted in Advertising, Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Class Actions, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws, Supply Chain Risk Management

The first round goes to the industry: on December 9, 2015, the Central District of California dismissed the complaint in Barber v. Nestle USA, a key bellwether case in a new wave of class action litigation related to California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act. The Barber plaintiffs’ theory was that Nestle had violated California’s panoply… Continue Reading

Settlement Looms for “Made in USA” Jeans Suit

Posted in Advertising, Federal Regulations, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Litigation, Product Class Actions, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Regulations, State Unfair Competition Laws

A courtroom battle concerning a manufacturer’s alleged false marketing of allegedly foreign-produced products as “Made in USA” is potentially nearing a resolution.  On November 30, 2015, the lead plaintiff in Paz v. AG Adriano Goldschmied, Inc. et al. asked the court for preliminary approval of a $4 million settlement between class members and defendants Nordstrom,… Continue Reading

When Transparency Is Not Enough: Class Action Litigation Under California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act

Posted in Litigation, Product Class Actions, Prop 65, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws, Supply Chain Risk Management

Passed in 2010, the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act has a worthy aim: requiring retailers and manufacturers doing big business in California to disclose what measures, if any, they are taking to ensure their suppliers comply with human rights standards. What started as a legislative effort to educate consumers and incentivize good corporate citizenship,… Continue Reading

California Joins rest of Country in “Made in USA” Rules

Posted in Advertising, Consumer Product Safety, Federal Regulations, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Manufacturer Product Safety, State Regulations, State Unfair Competition Laws

California, the beacon of individualism and often marching to its own set of rules, has joined the rest of the country as Gov. Jerry Brown has signed SB 633 which revises California’s take on what constitutes “Made in USA”. Up until this week, existing California law prohibited the sale or offering for sale in the… Continue Reading

Jobs-ed: New Class Action Pulls Apple into California’s “Food Court”

Posted in Advertising, Litigation, Product Class Actions, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws

In our continuing efforts to highlight litigation trends that affect consumer product companies, we often focus on class actions brought in California and, especially, its federal Northern District. The Northern District of California has come to be nicknamed the “Food Court,” and with good reason: the district is a high-traffic forum for class actions targeting the… Continue Reading

Class Action Defense Counsel adding ‘The Pick Off’ to Their Playbooks

Posted in Consumer Product Safety, Drugs & Cosmetics, Litigation, Product Class Actions, Retailer Product Safety, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws

In recent years, we’ve noticed a new maneuver that class-action defense counsel have increasingly added to their playbooks: The Pick Off.  This is how the play is run: Offer the named plaintiff(s) full relief through a Rule 68 offer of judgment and, even if the plaintiff(s) reject the offer, argue that the fact that they were offered… Continue Reading

Are California Courts Cooling on ‘All Natural’ Suits?: Naturally Beyond Belief

Posted in Advertising, Consumer Product Safety, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Litigation, Manufacturer Product Safety, State Regulations, State Unfair Competition Laws

California’s District Courts have, of late, become the go-to jurisdictions for plaintiffs bringing ‘natural’ labeling lawsuits against national food manufacturers.  This is due, in large part, to California’s consumer-friendly Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumer’s Legal Remedies Act.  California District Courts may be sending a different message though. ‘All Natural’ suits try to… Continue Reading

California, the FTC, & Made in the USA Claims

Posted in Advertising, Consumer Product Safety, Federal Regulations, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Manufacturer Product Safety, State Regulations, State Unfair Competition Laws

Demi Lovato’s hit song “Made in the USA” recounts how her love for her boyfriend is both amazing and patriotic.  If they had fallen in love in Paris or Acapulco, however, she may be facing an enforcement action by the FTC or a lawsuit in California under Business & Professions Code 17200 for false advertising…. Continue Reading

Food “front-of-package labeling” bill announced

Posted in Advertising, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Litigation, State Unfair Competition Laws, U.S. Congress

Proposed legislation has been introduced by 3 members of the House, including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), senior Democrat on the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee, which would direct the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) to create a single, standard front-of-package labeling system for all food products that require labels.

The Reasonable Consumer’s Understanding of “All Natural” – Legal or Factual Issue?

Posted in Advertising, Consumer Product Safety, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Class Actions, State Unfair Competition Laws

Would “reasonable consumers” have regarded Paul Cezanne as highly had he painted numerous versions of still life with froot? In the ongoing California battle over lawsuits against food companies alleging false and misleading advertising, Plaintiffs claims are judged by the “reasonable consumer” test, in which plaintiffs must show that the public is likely to be… Continue Reading

More Courts Weigh In On The Controversy Of Using “All Natural” with GMOs

Posted in Consumer Product Safety, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Class Actions, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws

A question before district courts these days seems to be whether 100% natural molasses move any slower than the FDA.  In July, the Food Court in the Northern District of California asked FDA to opine on the proper use and application of “whether and under what circumstances food products containing ingredients produced using bioengineered seed… Continue Reading

The Food Court Kicks the Proper Use Of The Term “Natural” To FDA

Posted in Advertising, Drugs & Cosmetics, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Liability, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws

In what may be an indication of things to come, the Food Court (US District Court Northern District of California)  has decided to ask FDA for guidance on what it wants on food labels.  The Food Court directly addressed the labeling of foods containing GMOs as “natural” in a recent ruling on a motion to… Continue Reading

What Does The Word “Natural” Mean, Anyway?

Posted in Advertising, Consumer Product Safety, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Class Actions, Product Liability, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Product Safety Laws, State Unfair Competition Laws

It’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon, you need a snack – maybe a granola bar, but which one? Does the package that boasts it is “100% Natural” win out over the one that is only “All Natural”?  Would you even consider one that is merely “Natural”? Well, don’t expect the U.S. Food and Drug Administration… Continue Reading