Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

October 25 roundup

Food roundup

  • Why manufacturers often push for the government to define food terms like “natural” [Peter Van Doren, Cato]
  • The curse of Prohibition: how government nearly killed the cocktail [Peter Suderman]
  • “Judge tosses class action suits over ‘100 percent grated Parmesan cheese’ label” [ABA Journal] “Food Court Follies: Fraud Suits Fall Apart after Plaintiffs’ Candid Admissions During Discovery” [Glenn Lammi, WLF] “Will a class-action suit really benefit those who bought Starburst [candies] expecting eight-percent fewer calories?” [Baylen Linnekin]
  • Farmers are good at replenishing their flying livestock: “How Capitalism Saved the Bees” [Shawn Regan]
  • “Menu labeling rules have not proven to have a significant effect on the amount of calories people consume” [Charles Hughes, Economics21 on FDA decision to proceed]
  • More reactions to the Seventh Circuit’s caustic ruling (“no better than a racket”) on the Subway footlong settlement [George Leef, Cory Andrews, earlier]

Martin Redish: “Commercial Speech and the Values of Free Expression”

The Supreme Court has been vigorous over the past 40 years in extending First Amendment protection to truthful commercial speech. Yet the “scholarly community has, with only rare exception, been either grudging or downright hostile to extending constitutional protection to commercial advertising. Most, although not all, scholars believe that protecting commercial speech trivializes what the First Amendment is truly about,” endangers vigorous regulation, “and risks diluting the strong protection traditionally given to more valuable areas of expression.” In this new Cato Institute policy analysis, Martin Redish of Northwestern University School of Law undertakes a defense:

…the question of protecting such speech should not be in doubt. Controversy comes from a failure to recognize how commercial speech furthers the values implicit in the First Amendment’s guarantee of free expression. To show how commercial speech advances free speech values, I adopt a “perspectives framework” for First Amendment theory. First Amendment values are appropriately viewed from four different perspectives: the speaker perspective, the listener perspective, the regulator perspective, and the rationalist perspective. Subsequently I will show how protecting commercial speech advances freedom of speech from each perspective; in contrast, rejecting or reducing constitutional protection for commercial speech contravenes the reasons each perspective values free speech.

Sugar in Jelly Bellies? Who knew?

In a lawsuit seeking class action status in California state court, Jessica Gomez alleges that Jelly Belly’s “Sport Beans,” which are touted as containing electrolytes and vitamins, “contain more sugar than she thought,” and that the ingredient list resorted to the euphemism “evaporated cane juice” to describe the sweetener. [John O’Brien and Sara McCleary, Legal Newsline]

Logic of olive oil settlement might be hard to press

Lawyers sued over the labeling of Filippo Berio olive oil as “imported from Italy” because the Italian-packed product derives from olives grown not only in Italy but also in other countries such as Greece and Tunisia. In the settlement of the class action Kumar v. Salov North America Corp., “the attorneys look to get over 300% of what their clients will.” [Ted Frank and Will Chamberlain, CEI]

“Cellino Sues Barnes. Who Gets the Jingle?”

“Ross M. Cellino Jr. and Stephen E. Barnes — known by many in New York and elsewhere simply as Cellino and Barnes, thanks to the infectious jingle that has made the two personal injury lawyers a single, household name — have been in practice together for decades.” Now they appear to be headed to court, but against each other. [Jonah Engel Bromwich, New York Times] Earlier coverage of the Buffalo-based firm, including some ethical scrapes of its principals, here, here, here, here, and generally here.

Cash discount OK; credit surcharge not OK

New York Business Law § 518 “prohibits merchants from imposing a ‘surcharge’ on customers who use credit cards, but allows for a ‘cash discount.’ To put it simply: the law allows stores to advertise ‘discounts’ for paying cash, but makes it a crime to advertise an economically equivalent ‘surcharge’ for paying with plastic.” The Supreme Court ruled late last month that by penalizing a merchant for its description of a transaction rather than for a transaction itself, the law triggered First Amendment scrutiny. So that’s a victory, if in the circumstances a narrowly limited one, for the modern trend toward serious First Amendment scrutiny of restrictions on commercial speech [Ilya Shapiro and Frank Garrison on Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman]

Eleventh Circuit: First Amendment protects right to label skim milk as “skim milk”

Florida law allows the sale of skim milk without vitamin A and D fortification but requires that it be sold under the name “imitation milk product.” Ochiltree Creamery, a business that views the addition of other than natural ingredients as contrary to its mission, was willing to put warnings on its all-natural skim milk alerting buyers to the absence of vitamin fortification, but resisted the law’s demand that it label the product something other than “skim milk.” The Eleventh Circuit ruled that the state had not met its burden under the First Amendment. [Eugene Volokh, Baylen Linnekin, Frank Garrison]

Liability roundup