Last month, an Ohio federal district court refused to dismiss a putative class action lawsuit filed against Foot Levelers, Inc. (“Foot Levelers”) concerning the orthotics maker’s sweepstakes sponsorship and marketing practices, reinforcing the importance of consulting an experienced sweepstakes lawyer when formulating and/or sponsoring a promotional contest or sweepstakes.
How can a sweepstakes lawyer help keep promotions legally compliant?
Sweepstakes and Promotional Contests
Since 1952, Foot Levelers has manufactured, marketed and sold a variety of stabilizing orthotics and other therapeutic products designed to reduce foot, leg, hip, back and neck pain.
Foot Levelers sponsors a variety of in-person and online promotional contests and sweepstakes as a marketing vehicle for its orthotics products. Prizes and giveaways have included free tablet computers, smartwatches, seminar tickets, designer handbags, shoes, gift cards and Foot Levelers products.
In March 2016, Swetlic Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Center, Inc. (“Swetlic”) sued Foot Levelers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Case No. 16-cv-236) for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).
Swetlic’s putative class action complaint claims that Foot Levelers delivered unsolicited faxes to dozens of recipients to promote its sweepstakes drawing on Foot Levelers’ website for a free iPad Air tablet and Michael Kors clutch. The alleged fax advertisement also promoted a Foot Levelers webinar and related sweepstakes drawing for a $250 VISA gift card and five free pairs of Foot Levelers orthotics.
On January 26, 2017, the Court denied Foot Levelers’ motion to dismiss the sweepstakes lawsuit, finding that Swetlic had sufficiently alleged violations of the TCPA. The parties have scheduled a preliminary pretrial conference to be held on February 23.
How a Sweepstakes Lawyer Can Help
Many sweepstakes-related legal risks can be minimized or eliminated entirely by working with experienced marketing counsel before sponsoring a promotion. Well-planned promotions can help protect contest and sweepstakes sponsors from substantial liability. Additionally, a sweepstakes lawyer can help promotion sponsors address a number of other legal concerns related to contest rules, lotteries, advertising, consumer privacy, bonding requirements and other areas of compliance.