Advertising & Marketing

Recently, there has been a proliferation of putative class actions targeting allegedly misleading statements (or omissions) on the FDA-approved labels for over-the-counter (“OTC”) drugs.  Last year, we explained how these types of claims are vulnerable to a strong federal preemption defense.  In short, because the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”) explicitly forbids states from imposing OTC labeling requirements that are “different from,” “in addition to,” or “otherwise not identical” with those provided under federal law, 21 U.S.C. § 379r(a), state-law claims that directly challenge or conflict with the FDA’s decision-making for OTC drug labels are expressly preempted.Continue Reading Another Win for Preemption in Over-The-Counter Drug Labeling Case

Recent decisions from the First and Ninth Circuits may help defendants facing false advertising challenges to certain types of labeling statements known as “structure/function claims.”  Three courts have held that such challenges were preempted by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).Continue Reading Trio of Cases Supports Preemption Arguments for False Advertising Suits Challenging “Structure/Function Claims”

The Ninth Circuit recently issued an important decision for consumer companies that routinely face false advertising litigation.  Resolving an issue that had split district courts in the circuit, the panel held that when “a front label is ambiguous, the ambiguity can be resolved by reference to the back label.”  McGinity v. Procter & Gamble Co.,– F.4d –, 2023 WL 3911531, at *4 (9th Cir. June 9, 2023).  The court also issued a memorandum affirming the dismissal of a complaint against Icelandic Provisions on the same grounds; Covington represented the company in that matter.  See Steinberg v. Icelandic Provisions, Inc., 2023 WL 3918257, at *1 (9th Cir. June 9, 2023).  With these decisions, the Ninth Circuit joins the growing consensus that back labels must be considered when a challenged front label claim is ambiguous.  See, e.g., Foster v. Whole Foods Mkt. Grp., Inc., 2023 WL 1766167, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 3, 2023).Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Confirms Courts Should Consider Whether Back Panel Disclosures Help Clarify Ambiguous Front-of-Pack Claims

In recent years, sellers of consumer products have faced countless class action lawsuits alleging that their products are misleadingly advertised.  Many motions to dismiss often turn on whether the product’s advertising is misleading to a reasonable consumer.  But in Valiente v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91089 (S.D. Fla. May 24, 2023), the court took a different tack, dismissing a false advertising claim on Article III standing grounds because the defendant’s “money-back guarantee” effectively mooted the plaintiff’s claim for monetary damages.Continue Reading “Money-Back Guarantee” Deprived Plaintiff of Standing to Bring a False Labeling Class Action

The Second Circuit recently revived a plaintiff’s false advertising claims under New York’s General Business Law (“GBL”), concluding that whether the particular statements at issue were non-actionable puffery requires a fact-intensive inquiry not suitable for resolution on a motion to dismiss.  MacNaughton v. Young Living Essential Oils, LC, No. 22-0344, 2023 WL 3185045 (2d Cir. May 2, 2023).Continue Reading Second Circuit Reiterates When Puffery Claims Can Be Dismissed at the Pleadings Stage

Last week, the Western District of Washington granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss a TCPA putative class action lawsuit against Assurance IQ and Boomsourcing after finding that plaintiffs failed to allege facts to support the elements of a TCPA claim.  See Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motions to Dismiss, Rogers v. Assurance IQ, LLC, No. 2:21-cv-00823-TL (W.D. Wash. March 27, 2023).Continue Reading Court Finds “Naked Assertions” Cannot Sustain TCPA Claim

Judge Karas in the Southern District of New York recently dismissed two lawsuits alleging that defendants’ beverage products contained synthetic malic acid that functioned as a flavoring agent, rendering the “100% natural flavors” and “natural flavor with other natural flavor” claims on the product labels false and/or misleading.  Continue Reading New York Federal Court Dismisses Two False Advertising Suits Based on Malic Acid

The California Attorney General has joined the fray in Souter v. Edgewell, an otherwise little‑watched putative class action pending in the Ninth Circuit over allegedly misleading label claims about the efficacy and safety of the defendant’s hand wipes.  The Attorney General is urging the Ninth Circuit to make it far more difficult for defendants

As plaintiffs continue to rely on the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“CPPA”) to bring greenwashing suits, a recent D.C. Superior Court decision imposes limits on their ability to allege that a company’s general commitments to “sustainability” can constitute actionable misrepresentations.Continue Reading Aspirational Statements of “Sustainability” Not Actionable Under D.C. Consumer Protection Statute

After prevailing in a class action trial regarding allegedly false advertising, plaintiffs sought $91 million in statutory damages under New York’s General Business Law (GBL), plus $49 million in prejudgment interest. In an opinion that will likely serve as an important precedent for future GBL cases – and could influence how aggressively plaintiffs pursue them – a court in the Northern District of California rejected plaintiffs’ request, and instead awarded $8.3 million in statutory damages, plus interest. Montera v. Premier Nutrition Corp., 2022 WL 3348573 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 12, 2022). The plaintiffs’ requested award, the court held, was “so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportioned to the offense and obviously unreasonable.”Continue Reading Court Rejects Plaintiffs’ Post-Trial Bid For $140 Million In Statutory Damages Under New York False Advertising Laws