Brazil · Decision · Judicial

Sadia S.A. v. Consumer Protection Agency of the State of Sao Paulo – 2020

Issue:

A lawsuit questioning the legality of a fine issued against Sadia S.A. for a marketing campaign that targeted children.

Summary:

Instituto Alana submitted a complaint to Consumer Protection Agency of the State of Sao Paulo (PROCON-SP), arguing that food company Sadia S.A. was marketing their products to children. Regarding this, PROCON-SP issued an administrative decision that found Sadia S.A. in violation of advertising rules, and fined Sadia on the amount of R$305.000,00 (three hundred and five thousand Brazilian reais). PROCON-SP sanctioned the company because of a campaign that encouraged consumers to collect five stamps of different colors from the packaging of their products so that with additional R$3,00 (three Brazilian reais) they could acquire Sadia mascot dolls, available in five different collectible versions.

The company challenged this decision requesting the fine to be annulled, exhausted all administrative remedies, and the decision was upheld. Then, Sadia filed a lawsuit against PROCON and requested that PROCON’s administrative decision be annulled. In 2011, a first instance trial court (14ª Vara Central de Fazenda Pública de São Paulo) ruled in favor of Sadia S.A. to annul the administrative decision and, consequently, the fine it had imposed on the company. PROCON-SP appealed and, in 2012, an appellate court upheld the lower court decision to annul the administrative decision and cancel the fine. PROCON-SP appealed again and, in 2020, the Superior Court of Justice [Superior Tribunal of Justice] ruled in favor of PROCON. Sadia S.A. presented a motion of clarification [embargos de declaração], which is currently pending at the Superior Tribunal of Justice.