Federal Judge Dismisses False Advertising Lawsuit Against FRS, Armstrong

On Tuesday, a federal judge dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit filed against FRS and its former endorser Lance Armstrong which claimed that the company deceptively marketed its products by linking them to the success of the disgraced cyclist.

Armstrong, who had won a record sever Tour de France titles, had long been the face of FRS until his admission that he had used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. The company cut ties with Armstrong in October, 2012, four months before being hit with the lawsuit.

While the suit alleged that consumer were deceived into believing that FRS beverages and supplements were the “secret weapon” behind Armstrong’s athletic achievements, U.S. District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell wrote that not only is “secret weapon” an unquantifiable term,  no reasonable consumer would be misled into believing the plaintiffs’ claim.

“Plaintiffs argue that ‘[t]he takeaway message from these ads for the ‘ordinary consumer’ was ‘Lance Armstrong is a seven-time Tour de France champion and his secret weapon is FRS. And that message is both quantifiably false and fundamentally deceptive,’” O’Connell wrote. “ In contrast, the Court finds that this inference is not quantifiable.”

“To take the advertisements as literally as Plaintiffs urge leads to other unreasonable inferences,” O’Connell continues. “Of course, after advertising a product, it is no longer a ‘secret,’ showing that a ‘secret weapon’ advertisement is a self-defeating concept. The Court is not persuaded by Plaintiffs interpretation of the reasonable consumer’s takeaway from the ‘secret weapon’ campaign.”

The plaintiffs had been seeking $5 million in restitution and damages.