News & Events

Chicago, June 3, 2016

Sheean Obtains Favorable Settlement in False Advertising Case

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP partner Christopher T. Sheean recently obtained partial summary judgment that led to a favorable settlement in a false advertising case.

Sheean, along with Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP associate Steven L. Vanderporten, represented the plaintiff, Underground Solutions, Inc. (UGSI), a plastic pipe manufacturer, in a false advertising claim against the spokesperson for a competitor. Last month, Judge Matthew Kennelly of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled in UGSI’s favor and found that the defendant made multiple false statements regarding the qualities of UGSI’s PVC pipe. The Court rejected the defendant’s arguments that his statements to potential customers were non-commercial, purely scientific speech protected by the First Amendment.

The victory by Sheean represents the culmination of a three-year litigation battle that included three separate reported decisions:

  • 41 F. Supp. 3d 720 (N.D. Ill. 2014) (adopting UGSI’s proposed choice of law and rejecting defendant’s motion to strike the complaint based on Anti-SLAPP statute).
  • 2015 WL 1594189, No. 13 C 8407 (April 14, 2015)(rejecting defendant’s motion to dismiss Lanham Act disparagement claim, finding statements by paid spokesperson constitute commercial speech, and that money spent on efforts to rehabilitate reputation damaged by disparaging remarks can be damages under Lanham Act)
  • 2016 WL 2899099, No. 13 C 8407 (May 17, 2016)(granting partial summary judgment on liability under Lanham Act claim for making false and disparaging statements regarding UGSI’s product).
More information on the case and Judge Kennelly’s rulings are available at this link.

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