Florida court holds company’s non-disparagement clause unlawful

We have from time to time blogged about non-disparagement clauses inserted into consumer contracts to try to prevent consumers from complaining publicly about a product or service. Yesterday, a district court in Florida, in a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission against weight-loss supplement marketer Roca Labs, granted the FTC's summary judgment motion in a case in which the FTC challenged the company’s enforcement of “gag clauses” to stop consumers from posting negative reviews

The court found that the defendants violated the FTC Act by making deceptive weight-loss claims about their dietary supplements, known as Roca Labs Formula or “Gastric Bypass Alternative.” The court also found that the defendants’ threats to sue, and filing of lawsuits against, dissatisfied consumers for violating non-disparagement clauses in their online sales contracts unfairly suppressed negative information about the defendants and their products, to the detriment of subsequent purchasers, in violation of the FTC Act.

The court's opinion is here.

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