September 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 261

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More Than Puffery: Claims Against Canada Goose Survive Motion to Dismiss

Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York recently largely denied a motion to dismiss claims that Canada Goose misled consumers by representing that the fur on Canada Goose jackets is ethically and sustainably sourced. In doing so, the court determined plaintiff’s allegations were “thin,” but viewing the complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiff, found plaintiff had plausibly alleged that a reasonable consumer would be misled. Lee v. Canada Goose US, Inc., No. 20 Civ. 9809 (VM) (S.D.N.Y. June 29, 2021).

In his complaint, plaintiff cited Canada Goose’s representations that the fur was acquired through “ethical, responsible, and sustainable sourcing.” Plaintiff also alleged a tag on the coats referred to Canada Goose’s “Fur Transparency Standard,” and stated that the company purchases fur in accordance with certain third-party standards only from licensed trappers. Plaintiff alleged these representations were misleading, because allegedly inhumane practices like leghold traps and snares are widely used by trappers in the U.S. and Canada.

However, plaintiff did not specifically allege that Canada Goose sources fur from coyotes trapped using these methods. Rather, he alleged that these allegedly inhumane practices were widely used by trappers who abide by standards cited by Canada Goose. While the court found these allegations thin, they were enough to support a reasonable inference that Canada Goose obtained fur from trappers whose methods are inhumane.

But not all of Plaintiff’s claims survived the motion to dismiss. The district court dismissed claims that customers would be misled by Canada Goose’s representations about their (1) compliance with third-party trapping standards and (2) sourcing through licensed trappers. Plaintiff merely alleged that the standards/regulations were themselves inhumane, not that Canada Goose’s statements concerning its compliance were false.  This case represents just one of a recent wave of sustainability-related class action lawsuits. For example, class actions have been filed against:

© 2021 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 216
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About this Author

Lawrence I Weinstein, False Advertising and Trademark Copywright Law, Proskauer
Partner

Larry Weinstein is a Partner in Proskauer's Litigation Department. He is co-head of the firm’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group, and also co-head of the firm’s False Advertising & Trademark Practice. Larry is both a distinguished trial lawyer and counselor, whose practice covers a broad spectrum of intellectual property law, including Lanham Act false advertising and trademark cases, consumer class action cases, NAD and FTC proceedings, and trade secret and copyright litigations, as well as sports, art and other complex commercial cases.

212-969-3240
Jeffrey H Warshafsky, Proskauer Law firm, Litigation Attorney
Associate

Jeffrey H. Warshafsky is an Associate in the Litigation Department, resident in the New York office. He is a commercial litigator with a particular emphasis on false advertising, trademark, and counterfeiting disputes. Jeff also advises clients on trademark portfolio management, anti-counterfeiting strategies, cybersquatting prevention, and other Internet-related trademark infringement matters.

212-969-3241
Anisha Shenai-Khatkhate Litigation Attorney Proskauer Rose Law Firm
Associate

Anisha Shenai-Khatkhate is an associate in the Litigation Department at Proskauer Rose LLP.

212.969.3574
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