Plaintiff is a farm selling eggs produced by it and others, some of which are packed in Illinois at a facility called Phil's Fresh Eggs. Defendant, HFAC, is a food certification organization. During an annual inspection of Phil's, an HFAC inspector reported that she was unable to find certain ethical certifications on file. On the basis of this report, HFAC's executive director drafted an email stating that plaintiff's certification was "not current" and that there was "no validation" for its "Pasture Raised" certification. She sent the email to individuals employed at 39 companies, including the top 10 conventional grocery chains in the United States, urging these grocery store representatives to consider changing suppliers. In fact, plaintiff's USDA certifications were up to date. Plaintiff sought a temporary restraining order and, later, a preliminary injunction. The court granted the injunction, finding that the email was commercial speech given the sender's organizational goal of directing consumer demand toward certain consumer goods. The court also affirmed plaintiff's Lanham Act standing even though the parties were not direct competitors, and concluded that the email served a promotional purpose and was distributed sufficiently to constitute advertising. View the decision.
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