On April 13, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) used its penalty offense authority to issue Notices to approximately 670 advertisers, warning that the FTC will not hesitate to use its authority to target those who cannot substantiate their claims, with large civil penalties of up to $50,120 per violation. The Notice does not suggest
Pause: Texas Social Media Law on Hold as it heads to Supreme Court for Review
A federal appeals court has agreed to put on hold a Texas social media law, HB 20, that restricts content moderation actions on social media platforms. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced that it was granting a September request from social media platforms to block enforcement of the law as trade associations appeal…
Renew Without Ado: How to Avoid Automatic Renewal Subscription Violations
“30-day free trial,” “Cancel anytime,” “Risk-free” – if you’ve read or heard these terms associated with a subscription-based program, you may want to ensure that you are up to speed with the regulations governing automatic renewals. Programs with automatic renewals have long been a source of regulatory scrutiny, as they can trigger consumer complaints when…
Bimbo Bakeries Beats Back All-Butter Label Suit
The Southern District of New York dismissed a putative class action against Bimbo Bakeries (the parent company of Entenmann’s) that alleged the packaging on Entenmann’s “All Butter Loaf Cake” was misleading because the product contained soybean oil and artificial flavors, not only butter.
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FTC Gone Viral: Commission Puts 700+ Companies on Notice About Deceptive Endorsements
Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it sent “Notices of Penalty Offense” (the “Notice”) to over 700 companies in nearly every industrial sector, ranging from leading retailers, tech platforms, top consumer product companies, and major advertising agencies, warning them that they could incur significant civil penalties – up to $43,792 per violation – if they use endorsements in ways that run counter to prior FTC administrative cases.
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Facebook Demolishes Housing Ad Discrimination Suit
The Northern District of California has dismissed for the third and final time a proposed discrimination class action against Facebook that challenged Facebook’s former tool that allowed advertisers to select target audiences for their housing advertisements in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. Plaintiffs alleged that this tool could exclude protected classes of consumers from seeing certain advertisers’ housing ads. Facebook moved to dismiss, arguing that plaintiffs lacked standing and its publishing conduct was protected under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
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Sweet Victory: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Trader Joe’s Honey False Ad Suit
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit that alleged Trader Joe’s Manuka Honey product labeling was misleading. Trader Joe’s marketed its store brand Manuka honey as “100% New Zealand Manuka Honey” or “New Zealand Manuka Honey.” Plaintiffs claimed that these labels were misleading because the honey only consisted of between 57.3% and 62.6% honey derived from Manuka flower nectar. Plaintiffs alleged that the label and ingredient list created a “false impression” that the Trader Joe’s honey contained a higher percentage of honey derived from Manuka.
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So Fresh and So Clean: Wet Ones Wipes Suit Dismissed
On June 7, 2021, the Southern District of California dismissed a case against Edgewell Personal Care, Co., alleging that defendants’ label on its “Wet Ones” antibacterial hand wipes was false and deceptive. Plaintiff brought a putative class action against defendants for making misleading representations about the efficacy and skin safety of its hand wipes. The suit was filed under the California Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), False Advertising Law (“FAL”), and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”).
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Maryland Legalizes Sports Betting and College Athletes’ Image Ownership
In May 2020, Maryland made two major moves in the sports world: it legalized sports betting and passed a law allowing college athletes to profit from their names, images, and likeness.
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FTC Seeks Monetary Penalties for Deceptive Marketing of COVID-19 Treatments in First Action under the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act
Last week, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) together with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a new civil lawsuit filed against St. Louis-based chiropractor Eric Anthony Nepute and his company, Quickwork LLC, alleging that they deceptively marketed products containing vitamin D and zinc as scientifically proven to treat or prevent COVID-19. This is the first…