Insights
Firm News

Farella Braun + Martel Wins Important Victory for Businesses Prosecuting False Advertising Claims

April 16, 2010 Announcement

Companies May Defend Their Business Against Competitors' False Advertising Without Being Subjected to Anti-SLAPP Motions

SAN FRANCISCO, April 16, 2010 - Farella Braun +Martel secured, in an appellate decision certified for publication, an important victory for businesses that must prosecute false advertising claims against their competitors' and associated third-party organizations.

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, the nation's leading liquid soap brand, filed a suit against some of its competitors, which are alleged to have falsely labeled their products as organic, and the trade association "Oasis," which is made up of some of the defendants in Dr. Bronner's suit.  Oasis purports to certify (only its members') products as "Oasis Organic," pursuant to its own standard.  

Oasis brought an anti-SLAPP motion, which the Dr. Bronner's team defeated in the trial court.  Farella defeated it again in the First District Court of Appeals.

In a published opinion, released April 14, the First District largely accepted Farella's analysis of the proper application of the anti-SLAPP statute in the context of a trade association's promotional activities of its members' products, an issue not squarely addressed in any prior published opinions.  In denying Oasis' anti-SLAPP motion, the Court of Appeals held that Oasis' certification only promotes the sale of Oasis-members' products and was not "true third-party endorsement or criticism, in the nature of consumer protection information"; nor did the certification contribute to the broader debate on the meaning of the term "organic." 

The Court of Appeal's opinion affirms that companies may defend their business against false advertising from their competitors without being subjected to an anti-SLAPP motion, including an anti-SLAPP motion brought by a trade association or related third-party organization. 

Attorneys representing Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps are John Cooper of San Francisco's Farella Braun + Martel and Joseph Sandler of Washington D.C.'s Sandler Reiff & Young PC.  John Cooper argued the appeal; assisting him on the brief was Farella Braun + Martel attorney Morgan Jackson.

More about Dr. Bronner's lawsuit and "organic" labeling of personal care products is available on Dr. Bronner's Web site at http://www.drbronner.com

Farella Braun + Martel represents clients throughout the United States and abroad in sophisticated business transactions and high-stakes commercial, civil and criminal litigation. Founded in 1962, the firm is headquartered in San Francisco and maintains an office in the Napa Valley focused on the wine industry. Farella Braun + Martel lawyers are known for their imaginative legal solutions, dynamism and intellectual creativity. With an unwavering service ethic and interdisciplinary team approach, the firm is committed to advancing clients' objectives in the most effective, coordinated and efficient manner. Farella Braun + Martel is a green business. www.fbm.com

Contacts:

Melinda Hepp / Traci Stuart                        
Blattel Communications                                          
415.397.4811                                                           
[email protected] / [email protected]             

Cheryl Loof
Farella Braun + Martel
415.954.4433
[email protected]

Firm Highlights

News

Farella Wins Complete Defense Ruling at Trial for Smart Meter Technology Company

Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel secured a complete defense victory for a smart meter technology company following a two-week bench trial in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California...

Read More
News

Farella 2024 Partner Elevations: Cynthia Castillo and Greg LeSaint

Northern California legal powerhouse Farella Braun + Martel is pleased to announce the election of two lawyers to partnership effective Jan. 1: Cynthia Castillo and Greg LeSaint. “We are thrilled to elevate Cynthia and...

Read More
Publication

Wire Fraud Victims Have New Reporting Factors After Ciminelli

Originally published by  Bloomberg Law . Courts around the country have seen an influx of challenges to indictments and convictions since the US Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in  Ciminelli v. United States  last May...

Read More
Publication

Disputes Between Shareholders May Not Be Governed by Fiduciary Duties but Could Be Covered by Insurance

(As published in Private Company Director ) Disputes regarding ownership interests often arise in the context of closely held corporations, particularly when directors, officers, or majority shareholders sell or acquire ownership interests in the...

Read More
Publication

Major Decision Affects Law of Scraping and Online Data Collection, Meta Platforms v. Bright Data

On January 23, 2024, the court in Meta Platforms Inc. v. Bright Data Ltd. , Case No. 3:23-cv-00077-EMC (N.D. Cal.), issued a summary judgment ruling with potentially wide-ranging ramifications for the law of scraping and...

Read More
Publication

Compelling Employees to Arbitration Suddenly Has Less of an Upside

On July 17, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Adolph v. Uber Techs Inc., as to whether employees still have standing to sue for "non-individual" PAGA claims when they have been...

Read More
Event

21st Annual Stanford Digital Economy Best Practices Conference

Erik Olson is speaking at the 21st Annual Stanford Digital Economy Best Practices Conference for the session "Track A: Content Moderation." To register for the event, please click  here .

Read More
News

Scraping Battles: Meta Loses Legal Effort to Halt Harvesting of Personal Profiles

Alex Reese spoke to Matt Fleischer-Black of  Cybersecurity Law Report about the Meta v. Bright Data decision and its impact on U.S. scraping case law. Read the article here (paywall or trial).

Read More
Publication

Reporting Dispute Claims Within Closely Held Wineries

Many wineries operate as closely held companies, meaning they’re owned by an individual or small group of shareholders, who are often members of the same family. Disputes regarding ownership interests can arise, particularly when directors...

Read More
Publication

Ensuring Your Website Complies With the ADA

In today’s digital age, having an online presence is crucial for businesses, including wineries, breweries, and other beverage companies. Accordingly, it’s essential to ensure that your beverage website meets federal standards for accessibility to avoid...

Read More