Case Presses Onward Against Our Secret
IRVINE, Calif.--On Aug. 9, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Taylor denied the motion for summary judgment by Albuquerque-based Our Secret Ltd. and its owner, Matt Walsh. Taylor also noted that a jury might hold Walsh personally liable for knowingly participating in and authorizing false advertising. The case in question began in June 2000, when Irvine, Calif.-based Aroma Naturals Inc. (www.aromanaturals.com) filed a $15 million lawsuit against Our Secret (www.oursecret.com) for labeling synthetic fragrances as "natural" in its aromatherapy candles. The case is scheduled to go to trial July 2002.
In the August ruling, the court noted that, "Defendant Our Secret concedes its use of the phrase 'pure essential oils' in its advertising and product labeling is false and misleading." Court papers stated that the defendant had removed language stating that Our Secret's aromatherapy candles contained 100-percent pure essential oils on its labels, promotional materials and Web site.
"This is a compelling case," said Levin & Hawes' William Levin, who represents Aroma Naturals, "because it is using our legal system to bring a uniform standard to the labeling practices of not only the candle industry, but all businesses that purport to manufacture and sell essential oil-based products."