October 2009 – Case Battle Part 1: NANPS vs Scotts

Case battle Part 1: NANPS vs Scotts
Really – a case of G.ROD vs R.WEED. This reads like a tabloid shocker: G.Rod declared ‘noxious’ and implicated in Hayfever Scandal. NANPS sues to protect G.Rod’s good name. Not a simple case of mistaken identity but a case of identity theft! Goldenrod vindicated! Ragweed dragged through the muck! Unrepentant Scotts’ spokesperson sends rebuttal – kicking native plant enthusiasts in the aster. NANPS is not amused. Read all the sordid details of this scandalous case that has become a bit of a cause célèbre.
NANPS forced a supplier of garden products, Scotts Canada, to be truthful in advertising with a little help from the Advertising Council of Canada. The Scoop cuts through the legal rhetoric to bring you not just the half Scoop, but the whole Scoop and nothing but The Scoop. Let’s take a closer look at the case.
There were two original complainants, the North American Native Plant Society and ‘Number 2′. An informant, who can only be identified as ED, was apparently not Number 2. She sent a separate complaint to the head office in the U.S. of A., after noticing that a local merchant had posted the erroneous ‘Wanted’ poster above a display of Scotts’ products. The Scoop has not been successful yet in unearthing the other complainant.
This was a particularly nasty case with Scotts Canada trying to pit two native species against each other. Both are in the Asteraceae Family, a large and powerful conglomerate. While G.Rod has been accused of being a bit of a prima donna, has allelopathic tendencies, and is a bit in your face invasive, R.Weed is more notorious (labeled as obnoxious for causing hayfever), wanted in many jurisdictions under The Weed Act, and has been on the lam for some time. The problem is no one seems to know exactly what R.Weed looks like and as such, it has always been a species to grow under the radar. According to a Scotts’ spokesperson, R.Weed bears a striking resemblance to G.Rod.
Both G.Rod and R.Weed were made to defend themselves without legal representation. The prognosis looked grim. They weren’t packing a passport, a driver’s licence, or even a dry cleaning stub between them. They did not stand a chance without help and could have languished for months, if not years, in purgatory. But, in stepped the firm of NANPS, NANPS, NANPS, & NANPS (hereby referred to as NANPS) to defend G.Rod on a quid pro quo basis (in return for a promise of their first-born seed for the NANPS Seed Exchange program). Unfortunately, R.Weed was left to represent itself.
At least they didn’t have to go the route of providing DNA samples because their photos didn’t bear a resemblance to their true identities. Expert testimony from the North American Native Plant Society confirmed the identity of both asters.
NANPS accused Scotts of slander and inciting the whole-sale slaughter of innocent G.Rod (watch for the movie based on this case, The Killing Fields). In their defense, Scotts maintained that the picture was a true representation of the aster in question. In the ruling, Judge ACC (Advertising Council of Canada) did point out that there was much confusion and sided with Scotts in that it was a case of mistaken identity, not of identity theft. A second charge of procuring, alluding to the living off the avails of crime, was dropped. However, the Judge ordered Scotts to change their ways. Grudgingly and without remorse, Scotts re-submitted a new version of the wanted poster with the corrected picture.
NANPS is not content with the ruling, maintaining that it was indeed a case of identity theft and is presently assessing their options, including suing for damages and trying to secure a settlement so that G.Rod can obtain a full public makeover. R.Weed is still a little miffed at being identified as culpable in this sordid affair and may pursue further action through the courts or travel abroad…under an assumed identity.
(Editor’s Note: Scoop this to see Part 2.)