Lauren Shoor (US)

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California’s Made In USA standard survives another test in court

Another court in the Southern District of California has agreed that California’s Made in USA law is more stringent than the federal standard, holding that the law is not preempted by the Federal Trade Commission Act or the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act.  But the court also addressed a new claim—that the California law violates the Dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

In Clark v. Citizens of Humanity, LLC, plaintiff alleged that defendants’ jeans were falsely labeled as “Made in USA” when they actually contained fabric, thread, buttons, rivets, or subcomponents of the zipper manufactured outside … Continue Reading

Lack of defendant’s consumer records may not mean a class is unascertainable

A California Court of Appeal recently held that a class is not unascertainable simply because individual class members cannot be identified from a defendant’s records so long as there is some objective means for identifying class members.

In Aguirre v. Amscan Holdings, Inc., plaintiff alleged that defendant Party America violated the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act by requesting and recording credit cardholders’ zip codes in conjunction with credit card purchase transactions.

Party America moved for an order striking and dismissing the class allegations from the complaint and denying class certification. It argued the class was not ascertainable because there were … Continue Reading

Making online terms and conditions stick

Because the interaction between online retailers and their customers is limited, online retailers have little choice but to present terms and conditions of sale on their websites. These online terms and conditions present concepts important to online retailers, including arbitration and choice of law provisions. The way in which online retailers present these terms and conditions to customers, and the way in which the customers manifest assent, is crucial to determining whether these terms and conditions are enforceable. Here are some key considerations in presenting online terms and conditions that may help to avoid court when you’re expected to be … Continue Reading

“All natural” claims against Dole nixed; no deception if synthetics expected in food

As we previously posted in “All natural: FDA silence continues to create problems for false advertising defendants”,  the Food and Drug Administration’s failure to provide a definition of what a “natural” ingredient is makes it difficult for companies defending against false advertising claims based on allegations that food products are marketed as “natural” when the product allegedly contains an artificial or synthetic product because there is no governing standard.

Although the FDA has not promulgated a formal definition, the FDA maintains a policy that “natural” in food products means “nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Recent jeans case confirms harsher “Made In USA” standards exist in California

A California federal district court judge recently provided some clarity on the apparent disparity between California’s “Made in the USA” law and the standard set forth by the Federal Trade Commission.

The Southern District Court of California’s recent decision in Paz v. AG Adriano Goldschmied confirms that California’s “Made in the USA” standard sets forth more stringent requirements than the FTC standard.

In Paz the plaintiff filed a class action complaint against AG Adriano Goldschmied and retailer Nordstrom, alleging that AG falsely labeled its jeans “Made in USA.” The plaintiff alleged that AG’s jeans actually contained fabric, thread, buttons, rivets, … Continue Reading

No more rubber stamps: courts critical of class action settlements

A number of recent cases show courts taking a more active role in approving class action settlements, more closely scrutinizing settlements meant to benefit class members.

Just last month in Redman v. RadioShack Corporation the Seventh Circuit rejected a class action settlement providing for dissemination of $10 coupons to class members and $1 million in attorneys’ fees to class counsel.

Although there were an estimated 16 million RadioShack customers in the class, notice of the proposed settlement was sent to less than 5 million. Of those receiving notice, only 83,000 submitted claims for the coupon—about one half of one percent … Continue Reading

California closely scrutinizes “Made in the USA” claims

Labeling products as “Made in the USA” has seen increased popularity recently, as retailers and manufacturers attempt to capitalize on consumers’ desire to support domestic jobs and US-made goods. Despite the seeming cachet of these statements, they may open companies up to false and misleading advertising claims, particularly in plaintiff-happy California.

“Made in the USA” representations are regulated in both the federal and state-law spheres.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, for a product to be marketed as “Made in the USA,” “all or virtually all” of the product must be made in the U.S, meaning that all significant parts … Continue Reading

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