The call came late at night to a Spencer Fane attorney’s home phone. A national company with a new advertising campaign had been served that afternoon with a petition for a temporary restraining order attacking their entire campaign. Could Spencer Fane attend a hearing the next day to defend the client before the federal district court? The answer was, “Of course!”
The plaintiff, a national telecommunications company in bankruptcy, claimed our client’s advertising campaign improperly highlighted that status. Plaintiff asked the court to order removal of references to its bankruptcy, order a recall of all direct mail materials, and award damages for lost profits. Plaintiff claimed that our client’s references to the bankruptcy violated the federal Lanham Act (prohibiting false advertising or deceptive trade practices), and further contravened various state consumer protection laws, some of which allowed punitive damages and attorney’s fees.
Spencer Fane quickly assembled a team of attorneys for the matter, whose first task was to prepare a brief opposing plaintiff ’s myriad requests for injunctive relief, which had to be filed less than 48 hours after the initial call. Spencer Fane succeeded in obtaining a court ruling that largely rejected plaintiff ’s efforts to decimate our client’s advertising campaign. The court entered an order that restricted continued use of only one line in the campaign, containing six words, and left the rest of the advertising campaign intact. Based largely on the results of that initial hearing and court decision, the remainder of the case settled in weeks instead of years.
Spencer Fane was able to secure a quick, inexpensive outcome to a potentially multi-million dollar litigation by pursuing an aggressive initial defense.