The FTC Gets Real About Fake "Organic" Claims
Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a $1.76 million settlement with Truly Organic, Inc. and its founder and CEO Maxx Harley Appelman regarding false "organic" claims. This is the first time the FTC has obtained monetary relief for deceptive "organic" claims, and the buzz around this settlement signals it may not be the last. The Commissioners' vote was unanimous, and Commissioner Rohit Chopra released a statement in support of the settlement calling for the FTC to issue a Policy Statement setting forth the Commission's approach to enforcement in cases involving dishonesty or fraud.
Mr. Smith Goes to New York: Takeaways from the Keynote Address of the FTC’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the NAD Annual Conference
The National Advertising Division held its Annual Conference in New York this week. Andrew Smith, the head of the Bureau of Consumer Protection for the FTC, delivered the keynote address and provided attendees with an excellent overview of the past year's landmark decisions in FTC jurisprudence. It comes as no surprise that the hottest discussions focused on the recent trend among courts to question the FTC's broad interpretation of its enforcement authority under Section 13(b), concentrating on rulings in the Shire ViroPharma decision from the Third Circuit, the LabMD decision from the Eleventh Circuit, and the recent Seventh Circuit decision in Credit Bureau Center.
A Morning Cup of COPPA From the NAD Annual Conference
The National Advertising Division Annual Conference kicked off with Andrew Smith, the Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, as the keynote speaker. Near the close of his remarks, Director Smith announced that the FTC will hold a workshop on the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). For a refresher, COPPA is designed to protect the privacy of children by establishing certain requirements for websites that market to children. The FTC operates under the assumption that if children are the target demographic for a website, the website must assume that the person accessing the website is a child, and proper consent must be obtained. This assumption exists even if the website did not start with children as the target audience.
Alzheimer's and Cancer? FTC Announcement Shows That FDA Is Not the Only Agency That Is "Serious"
The Federal Trade Commission issued a press release recently announcing that it had issued warning letters to three unnamed sellers of cannabidiol (CBD) products who marketed everything from gummies to creams with bold claims that the products could treat a wide variety of the most serious diseases known to man.
Of Specificity and Shotgun Pleadings: Southern District of New York and Southern District of Florida Toss Claims Lacking Sufficient Specificity and Clarity
In two recent decisions, federal district courts have dismissed at least some of the claims brought by federal and state authorities, finding the complaints insufficiently specific in alleging that a defendant's conduct met the relevant statutory requirements and/or insufficiently clear regarding their allegations as a whole. These rulings may provide a useful roadmap for future challenges to complaints brought by federal and state regulatory agencies and/or attorneys general.
When Skiptracing + Autodialing = $267 Million
Companies engaged in debt collection were not-so-gently reminded this month that making calls using an automated dialer to any number other than the one provided by the consumer is incredibly risky—and in Rash Curtis & Associates' case, a $267 million risk.
Eleventh Circuit Holds That A Single Text Message Does Not Satisfy Injury In Fact Requirement for Standing Under the TCPA
Many children were taught the childhood mantra: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." The chant intended to be a retort to name calling—a declaration that you were above the insults. But what about text messages? Could a single text message hurt me in a way that could amount to the harm required to sustain a Telephone Consumer Protection Act claim?