Challenging Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs’ Deceptive Advertising

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed false-advertising lawsuit against Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs for imagery used on packaging that led consumers to mistakenly believe the hens had significant outdoor access.

Updated

December 31, 2014

Work Type

Litigation

Status

Victory

Settlement

Next Step

Case Closed

In 2014, the Animal Legal Defense Fund settled a false-advertising lawsuit against Defendant Steven Mahrt, doing business as Petaluma Farms and owner of Judy’s Family Farm Organic Eggs.

The lawsuit alleged 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 alleged that consumers bought Judy’s Eggs because of these representations.

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. The settlement agreement provides consumers with most of the relief sought in the complaint such as a change to advertising practices.

As a result of the settlement, Petaluma Farms 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. They also obtained Certified Humane certification — which includes a minimum animal welfare requirements — without changes to its facilities.

Additionally, Petaluma Farms donated $14,666.67 to the 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.

Petaluma Farms also provided $1,000 compensation to the plaintiff in lieu of any recovery to which she would have been entitled had she prevailed in this action through class-certification and trial, and to pay some of the attorney fees her counsel incurred to prosecute this lawsuit. The settlement did not extinguish claims that may be held by other consumers.

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