WASHINGTON — U.S. cashmere textile producers will get their day in court.
A federal judge in Boston Tuesday set a Jan. 12 trial date for a jury to weigh mill claims that Harvé Benard, Saks Fifth Avenue and Filene’s Basement misled consumers by not prominently labeling garments that contained 10 percent recycled cashmere, in violation of federal fair business practice rules.
The producers are seeking damages and a court injunction requiring labels to state recycled cashmere content in larger letters on hang tags. A second trial, at a date to be determined, will examine the cashmere company and association claims that the firms in question initially failed to disclose recycled cashmere content in the labels in violation of federal labeling laws.
The case was first lodged in 1996 by cashmere maker L.W. Packard & Co. and the Cashmere & Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute and has taken several turns since.
In 1996, the three firms scored a victory when a District Court judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence of consumer deception to bring the case to trial. That decision was reversed last spring by the Court of Appeals in Boston. Benard, Saks and Filene’s Basement then agreed to label garments as to their recycled cashmere content.