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Sharper Image Suit Is Tossed

November 11, 2004|From Bloomberg News

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, won the dismissal Wednesday of a lawsuit filed by Sharper Image Corp. that claimed product reviews contained misleading and false statements about the Ionic Breeze Quadra air purifier.

U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney in San Francisco granted Consumers Union's motion to dismiss Sharper Image's suit as an attempt to chill free speech in connection with a public issue.

Sharper Image claimed that Consumer Reports used inaccurate and unreliable test criteria in its February 2002 and October 2003 reviews of the Ionic Breeze air purifier, one of the retailer's bestselling products.

Consumer Reports has never paid damages or money in any of the roughly 15 times it has been sued since 1968 over its critiques of products.

"Sharper Image has not demonstrated a reasonable probability that any of the challenged statements were false," Chesney wrote.

Aimee Cooper, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Sharper Image, didn't return a call for comment. Shares of Sharper Image fell 39 cents to $18.80 on Nasdaq.

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