Aug 24 The Clorox Co clawed away parts
of a class action lawsuit claiming its cat litter advertising
was false and misleading on Friday, but a judge refused to scoop
away the entire mess.
U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti in San Francisco dismissed
some but not all of the lawsuit by consumers of Clorox's Fresh
Step letter brand. The lawsuit said scientific studies showed
Fresh Step wasn't preferred by cats over other litters or more
effective at cutting down odors.
A lawyer for Clorox, Kenneth Lee, declined comment. Lawyers
for the plaintiffs did not respond to requests for comment.
The decision came amid a series of legal headaches that have
dogged Clorox over its advertising for Fresh Step, a popular
brand of cat litter which has been on the market since 1984.
The company faced two separate lawsuits in New York by rival
Church & Dwight Co Inc, the maker of litter Arm & Hammer
Super Scoop, claiming Clorox's commercials were misleading.
One set of ads depicted cats choosing a box of Fresh Step
over one with Super Scoop and stated they're "smart enough to
choose the litter with less odors." Another set said Clorox
made "scoopable litter with carbon, which is more effective at
absorbing odors than baking soda."
Church & Dwight, whose litter uses baking soda, went so far
as to commission a laboratory to study its litter's odors
compared to Clorox's and swayed a judge in January to blocked
one set of Clorox commercials.
The companies have since settled, but after the judge's
January order, consumers sued.
In his decision Friday, Conti dismissed the plaintiffs'
claims to the extent they were based on Clorox's statements that
cats "like" or "are smart enough to choose Fresh Step."
"But he said the lawsuit could proceed "to the extent that
it is predicated on Clorox's representations that Fresh Step is
better at eliminating odor than other baking soda-based cat
The case is In re Clorox Consumer Litigation, U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of California, 12-cv-00280