Creative Representation | Expert Litigation

BartkoZankel Obtains Dismissal In Favor Of Organic Personal Care Manufacturer

On August 8, 2012, United States District Judge Susan Illston entered judgment for BartkoZankel client Country Life and other defendants in connection with federal false advertising claims by Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.  Dr. Bronner’s alleged that Country Life’s Desert Essence Organics personal care products were falsely labeled as Organic because they did not comply with the organic food standards of the National Organic Program or “consumer expectations.”  After four years of litigation and multiple rounds of motions to dismiss, the Court dismissed the Third Amended Complaint as against all defendants based on the primary jurisdiction doctrine.  The Court held that the USDA had jurisdiction over the regulation of Organic personal care products.  Accordingly, Dr. Bronner’s was barred from suing in federal court since the claims “would necessarily require the Court to interpret and apply federal standards regarding what constitutes an ‘organic’ personal care product or ingredient.”

Ben Riley and Jayne Laiprasert represented Country Life.