Neal Marder Examines Two Greenwashing Cases

Over the last several years, Neal Marder has written and spoken about the rising trend of greenwashing, an advertising technique that involves falsely showcasing a company’s environmental commitment. Neal Marder addressed the topic in an article titled “The ‘Reasonable Consumer’s’ View of Green Labels—Lessons From Two Greenwashing Cases,” which appeared in GCI Magazine in March 2012.

In this piece, he and colleague Christian E. Dodd highlighted several examples of greenwashing that led to class actions. The authors cited the 2010 case Koh v. SC Johnson & Son, Inc., in which SC Johnson placed a “Greenlist Ingredients” “seal of approval” on a bottle of Windex and advertised Greenlist as an environmental rating system; however, because SC Johnson fabricated the Greenlist logo and standards itself, the plaintiff argued that the company had engaged in false advertising. Consulting the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California concluded that the label was indeed misleading to a reasonable consumer and allowed the plaintiff to move forward with the class action suit.

In a second example, the authors examined the 2011 case Hill v. Roll International Corp. In this case, the plaintiff argued that Fiji Water has misrepresented its environmental commitment with a “Green Drop” on its label; however, a California appellate court determined that the symbol would not cause a reasonable customer to assume that an independent organization had certified the product as green.

A partner and leading attorney at Winston & Strawn’s Los Angeles offices, Neal Marder has published an array of other articles, which are listed on www.winston.com.

Neal Marder Presents at 2011 Law Seminars International Conference

In May of 2011, Winston & Strawn partner Neal Marder took part in a discussion at the Seventh Annual Comprehensive Conference on Litigating Class Actions. The Seattle-based event set out to share strategies and developments in class actions which could help legal practitioners address many ethical and practical concerns which crop up while navigating these types of cases.

The conference featured dialogue on topics such as motion issues in class action suits, trends in national class action litigation, and the role of Internet advertising and privacy in class actions. Neal Marder participated in a panel titled “Emerging Subject Areas Where Regulatory Enforcement May Lead to Class Action,” during which he discussed the potential impact of the Dodd Frank Act on class action litigation.

Mr. Marder currently serves as the chair of the consumer class actions practice with Winston & Strawn. Neal Marder concentrates his practice in a variety of areas including class action and litigation.