P&G lawsuit against Amway thrown out


Detroit Free Press/March 30, 1999
By Jennifer Bott

A federal judge in Utah has thrown out a Procter & Gamble lawsuit suggesting Amway Corp. and its distributors spread rumors the company is linked to devil worshiping.

Federal Judge Dale Kimball in Salt Lake City dismissed the final three of 11 claims filed by P&G of Cincinnati late Friday after nearly four years in the courts.

The consumer products company accused competitor Ada-based Amway and several of its distributors of perpetuating a more than 20-year-old Satanism rumor about the company.

"We believe the Utah ruling is wrong and we're appealing immediately," Elaine Plummer, a P&G spokeswoman, said Monday. The company has a similar suit pending in Texas with added claims that Amway falsified P&G ingredients and that Amway is a pyramid scheme.

Amway officials say a Texas distributor in 1995 innocently repeated the Satanism rumor in a voice mail to a Utah distributor who forwarded it to others. However, they say the distributors formally retracted the messages.

P&G filed suit against the Utah distributor and then added Amway and other distributors to it.

"After the lawsuit was filed, it appeared that P&G was cynically using Amway as a publicity scapegoat for a rumor that P&G has not been able to stop for almost 20 years," Mike Mohr, an Amway attorney, said Monday.

The rumor suggests P&G's president once spoke in support of Satanism on television and that the company's moon-and-stars trademark is a Satanic symbol.

P&G sources say no president has ever spoken in favor of devil worshiping and that its trademark dates back to the mid-1800s, when a man in the moon was a popular design.

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