ALS Enterprises, Inc., owners and marketer of the Scent-Lok® brand of scent control hunting apparel, has claimed a major victory in the long-standing class action lawsuit that challenged the products’ ability to control human odor. After four years of litigation, which was brought by a group of five Minnesota hunters, a federal appeals court issued its decision on August 18, rejecting plaintiffs’ core allegations and overturning an injunction issued last year.
Among other things, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit noted that evidence introduced in the district court showed that carbon-containing hunting clothing dramatically outperformed non-carbon clothing at adsorbing odors: “Defendants’ expert, Dr. Hartman, conducted quantitative permeation testing and estimated that Defendants’ products ‘blocked’ ninety-six to ninety-nine percent of odor compounds, whereas non-carbon garments blocked only five to fifty-five percent.”
The Eighth Circuit also ruled that ALS’s use of the terms “odor eliminating” and “reactivation” in describing its products was not literally false, and that the district court had erred in basing “its determination of literal falsity on the most absolute of competing dictionary definitions of the word ‘eliminate.’” In support, the Court noted that “Defendants introduced evidence of substantial customer satisfaction with ALS’s Scent-Lok® products, as well as evidence that, when those products first came on the market in the early 1990’s, numerous soaps, powders, and cover sprays were being marketed to deer hunters as ‘odor-eliminating’ products.”
The Court also ruled that “Plaintiffs led the district court into error” in entering an injunction, and ordered the dismissal of all claims for injunctive relief because “Plaintiffs failed to prove both the requisite irreparable injury and their core allegations that Defendants’ use of the terms ‘odor eliminating’ and ‘reactivation’ were literally false.”
Scent-Lok® president and inventor of activated-carbon hunting apparel, Greg Sesselmann, commented: “We are gratified by the decision. It gives me great satisfaction that our products continue to provide hunters the ability to get close to wildlife and experience the beauty of nature like never before. At the same time, we are saddened at the burden that this lawsuit has caused our team members and their families, as well as the frustration that our retailers, field staff and sales rep organizations have experienced. We thank all of those who have stood beside us in this fight, especially our ultimate customers—people who have purchased Scent-Lok® gear and know that it works.”
“Customers have never needed an attorney to get total satisfaction from our company.” Sesselmann remarked. “Our satisfaction level is extremely high and, based on the unsolicited testimonials that we receive and our own experience in the field, we know that Scent-Lok® products are highly effective at reducing odors. On behalf of our retail partners, we remain focused on making the best hunting apparel in the world.”