A federal court in Minnesota has determined that the maker and seller of hunting clothes with embedded activated carbon cannot continue to promote the products by claiming that they eliminate human odor or that the clothing can be reactivated to pristine condition in a standard clothes dryer. Buetow v. A.L.S. Enter., Inc., No. 07-3970 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Minn., decided May 13, 2010). A class of claimants alleged that these claims were false and/or misleading because the clothing cannot eliminate odors and cannot be restored to be “like new.” The court agreed that these statements were literally false. The court determined that other product-performance claims, which were qualified by phrases like “substantially reduces the chance” that a deer will detect a hunter’s odor, or simply stated that the product could be reactivated, were capable of other reasonable interpretations and, thus, were not actionable.
The court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim under the Minnesota Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act because that law “provides relief from future damage, not past damage,” and no risk of future harm to plaintiffs existed since they “are aware of Defendants’ false advertising” and “are unlikely to be deceived by such advertising in the future.” The court included graphic representations that the clothing eliminated all odor in its order granting, in part, plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment.