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Free speech doesn defend labor claims
For false advertising for allegedly lying about working conditions at Asian factories where its jogging shoes and clothes are made.
In a major freespeech answer, A divided court found that public statements the sportswear giant made in defending its treatments for overseas workers were "mercantile speech" And foreclosures lawsuits under the state's consumer protection law.
By a 43 election, The justices rejected Nike's argument that it was protected by constitutional guarantees of free speech because it was defending itself against critics accusing the particular business of maintaining sweatshop conditions at its factories
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in Vietnam, China and indonesia.
The company's statements denying those conditions were made in the mid 1990s in pr announcements and in letters to newspaper editors, Heads of universities or colleges and athletic departments. supreme court to review the case.
The state court said it was not advoiding a business from defending its labor practices. "It means only that when a business, To promote and defend its sales, Makes factual representations about its own product or its own procedure, It must speak seriously, Wrote in the court's advice.
Legal experts say the decision will severely limit what companies can say publicly about their working conditions by leaving them susceptible to litigation.
"Free dialog is the loser here, stated, An attorney with the in san fran, Which filed a brief to get Nike. "It opens businesses up to false advertising suits whenever they speak out on an issue of public debate when it is due to their business practices,
for the, Nike's Brown
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said the company takes comfort from because the high court did not rule on the merits of the
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case whether Nike made false statements about working conditions at its Asian factories. Nike insists its statement were true.
group, Which is based in Oregon, Has more than 700 factories practically, Run by skilled tradesmen, with more than 550,000 people.
Nike officials say they have taken several measures a lot to improve workplace conditions, that come with requiring workers to be at least 18 years old, hanging on to cleaner air in the factories and increasing wages more than 40 percent for some Indonesian workers.
judgment FOR CONSUMER RIGHTSIn ruling against Nike, The court adopted a new standard in defining what is credit card "commercially aware speech,
"When a corporation, To maintain and increase its sales and profits, Makes public statements defending labor practices and working conditions at factories where its bags are made, Kennard submitted, "Those public statements are commercial speech that can be regulated to prevent consumer deception,
The ruling prompted angry dissents from the three most traditional justices.
Justice said a great deal had "Unduly trammeled basic constitutional freedoms" Of businesses answering public criticisms. "When Nike tries to defend itself from all of these attacks, almost all denies it the same First Amendment protection Nike's critics enjoy, The justice said in an opinion joined by.
In a different dissent, Accused the court of in effect muzzling companies by adopting a simple standard for defining commercial speech. the judge "may make an overbroad test that, Taken to its logical observation, Renders all corporate speech commercially manufactured speech, She believed.
The ruling is a setback businesses that rely on "photography" marketing and advertising, In which a firm focuses on selling its good reputation including its working conditions and not just a product.
, The lawful professional
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for Kasky, Said the ruling is a vindication for his client. "If a corporation is going to share its labor practices or the working conditions at its factories, they can not be deceptive, he said.
Kasky, Former manager director of, Filed his court action in 1998. The suit demanded that Nike give up any profits gleaned from its allegedly false commercial statements and tell the public the inescapable fact regarding its overseas factories. s. fransisco Judge threw out the suit, Ruling that Nike's argument were protected by the First Amendment. A state appeal court agreed with Garcia. But the state supreme court, Reversing just about, Sent Kasky's case back up in the trial court.
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