A new lawsuit cries foul over Clorox Co's
Church & Dwight Co
Clorox spokeswoman Kathryn Caulfield said the company does not generally discuss pending litigation and had not been served with the lawsuit. A lawyer for Church & Dwight did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
In its complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Church & Dwight said Clorox ads mislead consumers by showing cats that refuse to use litter boxes containing Super Scoop, and which instead prefer boxes containing Fresh Step.
It said that in one ad, an announcer says cats like Fresh Step because Fresh Step's scoopable litter with carbon is better at eliminating odors than Arm & Hammer Super Scoop.
While the words based on lab tests appear on screen as the announcer speaks, Church & Dwight's independent testing confirms that, if anything, Clorox's Fresh Step is rejected more frequently by cats than Super Scoop, the complaint said.
Of the 158 cats in a study commissioned by Church & Dwight, six rejected litter boxes filled with Super Scoop and relieved themselves elsewhere, while eight rejected boxes filled with Fresh Step, the complaint said.
Church & Dwight said Clorox's ads have cost it market share, profit and consumer confidence. It is seeking to recover lost profits, obtain punitive damages, stop the alleged wrongful ads, and force Clorox to run corrective advertising.
Clorox is based in Oakland, California, and perhaps best known for its namesake bleach. Church & Dwight is based in Princeton, New Jersey. Sales data for the respective cat litters were not immediately available.
Church & Dwight shares closed Wednesday up 23 cents at $69.34, and Clorox shares rose 37 cents to $61.94. The lawsuit was filed three minutes after the close of regular trading.
The case is Church & Dwight Co v. Clorox Co, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-00092.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Bernard Orr)