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Fitness Program Prevails in False Advertising Case

Key Facts

  • Client obtained partial summary judgment on First Amendment grounds
  • Persuasive Lanham Act arguments led to client’s first victory
  • Court later imposed harsh sanctions against opposing party

The Situation

CrossFit, Inc., a global fitness and training company, sought Mintz’s counsel in 2013 when the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) published a study in its premier international journal, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, falsely claiming that CrossFit’s fitness methodology injured participants at an alarming rate. As a result of this falsified report, our client’s competitors began citing the article’s findings as “scientific evidence” that their fitness regime was dangerous.

The Approach

The Mintz team moved for an aggressive litigation strategy, filing for partial summary judgment on the grounds of Lanham Act (false advertising) claims based on the false injury data. The NSCA then filed its own summary judgment motion opposing our Lanham Act claims, arguing that the information published in the article should be protected by the First Amendment. In September of 2016, the court ruled in favor of CrossFit on all key issues, with a particular emphasis on our persuasive Lanham Act argument.

The Outcome

Most recently, we achieved another victory for CrossFit in its ongoing dispute against the NSCA. In this latest victory, the court imposed harsh evidentiary, issue, and monetary sanctions against the NSCA after concluding, “There is plainly sufficient evidence to find willfulness, bad faith, or fault on the part of the NSCA in withholding the recently discovered documents and in lying under oath in the federal proceedings.” If additional evidence of discovery misconduct is found, the court will allow CrossFit to renew its motion for terminating sanctions. These two victories are tremendous wins on both First Amendment and procedural grounds.

Supporting Professionals

Mitch Danzig, a Member in the firm’s Employment, Labor & Benefits Practice, worked with CrossFit, Inc. to secure these two major victories.