Posts filed under ‘State Law’

Food for Thought? Snack and soda ads challenged

Lawsuits about advertising unhealthy products to children continue to pull in the press as the Center for Science in the Public Interest announced its intent to file a lawsuit against Viacom and Kellogg Co. that will claim that the companies engaged in unfair and deceptive advertising by marketing “food of poor nutritional quality” to children under 8 years old. This lawsuit was announced as the Center also announced that it will delay a lawsuit against cola companies that would challenge the advertising and sale of soda in schools. Both Pepsi-Cola Co. and the Coca-Cola Co. are negotiating with the Center and the American Beverage Association has taken steps to limit the sale of soda in schools.

Both suits aimed to take advantage of favorable laws in Massachusetts that allow individuals to sue company’s for deceptive advertising as private attorneys general.

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January 19, 2006 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Attorney advertising subject to Colorado ad laws

The Colorado Supreme Court has held that lawyer advertising is subject to the Colorado Consumer Protection Act’s false and deceptive advertising provisions. The law also provides for triple damages and attorney fees. So at least we — as in the Bar — have that going for us.

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January 11, 2006 at 7:00 am 1 comment

Chip maker faces fake fat lawsuit after rebranding

Remember the WOW! chips that contained olestra, otherwise known as the “fake fat”? Last year, Frito-Lay rebranded the fat-free chips under its LITE line. Now a consumer group is threatening to file a lawsuit under a consumer-friendly deceptive-advertising law in Massachusetts unless the company puts a warning label on snacks with the fat substitute. The lawsuit would be filed on behalf of 30-year-old Lori Perlow, a 30-year-old woman claiming that she got stomach cramps and had to quickly use the bathroom after eating the Ruffles Lite. The group believes that Frito-Lay rebranded snacks containing olestra to trick consumers into thinking the snacks did not contain olestra. Frito-Lay claims that it changed the name because Light “seemed to convey the product’s benefits much more than ‘Wow!’ did.” According to Frito-Lay spokeswoman Aurora Gonzalez,
“It’s an extremely safe product, well-tested… If the law says we don’t have to have (a label), we don’t see the need for it either.”

See David Koenig, Consumer group threatens Frito-Lay with lawsuit over fake fat, Boston Globe (Jan. 4, 2006).

See also Woman May Sue Frito Lay After Getting Stomach Ache, ChannelOklahoma.com

January 7, 2006 at 7:00 am 1 comment

Pennsylvania may be on the verge of new ad tax

Adage.com reports that the Pennsylvania Senate will consider removing an exemption that allows advertising services to avoid the state’s 6% sales tax. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved the ad tax on December 20, 2005.

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January 4, 2006 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Cal. Supremes extinguish tobacco co.’s fed. defense

In a blow to cigarette giant R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, the California Supreme Court upheld the validity of a state law restricting free distribution of cigarettes on state property. The case involved R.J. Reynolds handing out 100,000 packs of free cigarettes to a total of 14,834 adults during six events. California law prohibits giving away cigarettes on public property unless minors are barred from the grounds. The free cigarettes were given out in tents protected by security guards who admitted only adults who were carrying cigarettes. R.J. Reynolds argued that it did not violate the law because minors were barred from the tents. The court also rejected R.J. Reynolds claim that it was protected by a federal law that bars states from regulating cigarette advertising and promotions. Justice Joyce Kennard, speaking for the court, said that:

We here find no clear and manifest purpose of Congress to bar state regulation of the nonsale distribution of cigarettes to minor or adults.

But R.J. Reynolds can at least breath easier for a while. The court also noted that the $14.8 million fine on the tobacco company might be unconstitutionally excessive and sent the case back to Los Angeles County Superior Court to allow the company a second wind. The case was People ex rel. Lockyer v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and it can be found here as a pdf or here as a Word document.

December 23, 2005 at 7:00 am 2 comments


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