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From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Thu Feb 6 2014 (Updated 02/07/14)
Settlement of False Advertising Lawsuit Against Petaluma Egg Producer
Thu Feb 6 2014 (Updated 02/07/14)
Lawsuit Alleged Packaging of Judy's Eggs Misled Consumers to Believe Hens Outdoors
The Cotati-based national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) announced the settlement of a false-advertising lawsuit against defendant Steven Mahrt, doing business as Petaluma Farms and owner of Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs (“Judy’s Eggs”). The lawsuit alleges that imagery and statements used on Judy’s Eggs packaging led consumers to mistakenly believe the eggs came from hens with significant outdoor access. The lawsuit also alleges that consumers bought Judy’s Eggs because of these representations.

As a result of the settlement, and without admitting wrongdoing, Petaluma Farms has: (1) agreed to modify the packaging by removing the illustration of hens on a green field, and removing the language that Plaintiff alleged could lead consumers to mistakenly believe the eggs come from hens with significant outdoor access; (2) obtained Certified Humane certification (which includes a minimum animal welfare requirements) without changes to its facilities; and (3) agreed to donate $14,666.67 to Sonoma Humane Society for hen rescue efforts, $14,666.67 to the Public Justice Foundation to provide assistance to the victims of consumer fraud and false advertising, and $14,666.66 to Consumer Action to provide assistance to the victims of consumer fraud and false advertising.

After several months of litigation and extensive negotiations, the parties agreed to settle the lawsuit on an individual basis rather than as a class action. Petaluma Farms will also provide $1,000 compensation to Plaintiff Glover in lieu of any recovery to which she would have been entitled had she prevailed in this action through class-certification and trial, and pay some of the attorney fees Plaintiff’s counsel incurred to prosecute this lawsuit.

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