Tag Archives: CLASS ACTION

As FDA Considers Revisions to the Regulatory Definition, a Federal Court Agrees That Consumers Are Not Misled by Coconut Milk Marketed as “Healthy”

 Danone Dodges Deceptive Ad Suit Over Coconut Milk (Subscription to Law360 required) The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California on August 14, 2019 dismissed a proposed class action alleging the term “healthy” is deceptive when used to market coconut milk containing high levels of saturated fat.  At issue in Andrade-Heymsfield v. Danone … Continue Reading

Hazelnut Crème Coffee False Advertising Lawsuit Revived

1st Circuit Gives Coffee Buyers 2nd Shot at False Ad Suit (subscription to Law360 required) On August 8, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit charging that the label on New England Coffee’s Hazelnut Crème coffee violates Massachusetts’ consumer protection laws because the product … Continue Reading

Federal Court Not Ready to Determine Whether an Ingredient is ‘Natural’ Solely on the Basis That it is Derived From a Plant

 LaCroix’s ‘Outraged’ Sanctions Bid in ‘Natural’ Suit Falls Flat (Subscription to Law360 required) The named plaintiff in a class action lawsuit filed in Illinois last year (Rice v. National Beverage Corp. d/b/a LaCroix Sparkling Waters, October 18, 2018) alleges that “all natural” labeling on LaCroix sparkling water is fraudulent because the sparkling water contains chemicals … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Whether Courts Must Defer to an Agency’s Interpretation of its Regulations – a Judicial Policy That Recently Resulted in Dismissal of Litigation Over ‘No Sugar Added’ Claims on 100% Juices

 Kavanaugh, Roberts In Crossfire of Battle Over ‘Auer’ (subscription to Law360 required) The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on March 27, 2019 about whether to overturn the principle of judicial review of federal agency actions that requires a federal court to yield to an agency’s interpretation of an ambiguous regulation that the agency has promulgated.  Under … Continue Reading

California Jury Awards $80 Million Verdict in Glyphosate Case

A California plaintiff, who used Roundup on his 56-acre Santa Rosa property and alleged glyphosate caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma, has been awarded $80 million by a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  The docket of the case, Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. et al., is available here (subscription required).  This … Continue Reading

Putative Class Action Filed Against Walmart, Costco, Amazon and Others Alleging Coffee is Falsely Labeled as “Kona”

Amazon, Walmart, Costco Sued Over Fake ‘Kona’ Coffee (subscription to Law360 required) Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. 1125) permits a civil action for, among other reasons, “false designation of origin.”  To prevail, a plaintiff must prove the designation of origin is false, that it is used in a commercial advertisement (e.g., a … Continue Reading

New York Judge Lifts 2-Year Stay on KIND “All Natural” Suit (subscription to Law360 required)

A New York federal court ordered a consumer class action against KIND LLC to move forward after a two-year stay. Consumers are suing KIND for allegedly mislabeling its snack products as both “non-GMO” and “all natural,” even though the products purportedly contain synthetic and genetically modified ingredients.  On September 15, 2016, U.S. District Judge William … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Remands “Whole Grain” Cheez-It Lawsuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a New York district court erred in ruling that labeling Kellogg’s Cheez-It crackers as “whole grain” was not misleading, despite the fact that the snacks were primarily made from enriched white flour.  Thus, the Second Circuit vacated the decision and remanded the case … Continue Reading

Flavored Sparkling Water, LaCroix, Sued Over Natural Claims

A class action lawsuit filed by Lenora Rice in Cook County, Illinois alleges that LaCroix manufacturer, National Beverage Corp, falsely markets its popular flavored sparkling water as “all natural.” The complaint states that LaCroix sparkling waters are “manufactured using non-natural flavorings and synthetic compounds,” but are labeled as “all natural” and “always 100% natural.” Specifically, LaCroix is … Continue Reading

Putative Class Action Challenge to Diet Dr. Pepper in California Fails for the Fourth Time

The Federal District Court for the Northern District of California has granted Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss (available for purchase here) in a putative class action originally filed in October 2017, which alleged that the marketing of Diet Dr. Pepper violated California’s False Advertising Law, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and Unfair Competition Law, … Continue Reading

CA Judge Certifies Class in Kellogg False Advertising Cereal Lawsuit (Law360 Subscription Required)

On August 17, 2018, a California federal judge certified three classes of consumers who allege that Kellogg falsely advertises its Raisin Bran, Frosted Mini-Wheats, and Smart Start cereals as healthy. The 51-page order granting the motion for class certification found claims that Kellogg misled consumers about the sugar contents of its cereals can be resolved … Continue Reading

Is Pet Food the Next Front for “Natural” Lawsuits?

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Rachel Ray’s Nutrish dog food brand, alleging that “natural” claims were false and misleading under state consumer protection laws, based on testing that showed the presence of glyphosate residues. Glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup®, is an EPA-approved herbicide that is used on food crops, including crops that have … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Denial of Injunctive Relief Where Named Plaintiff Concedes She Would Not Purchase Allegedly Mislabeled Tea in the Future

9th Circ. OKs Toss Of Twinings Tea Antioxidant Case – Law360 (subscription to Law360 required) Seeking injunctive relief in consumer class action cases requires the plaintiff to show there is a threat of future harm.  A recent decision emphasizes the difficulty that a plaintiff can face when she concedes she will not purchase the contested … Continue Reading

GM Labeling Update: Ingredient Disclosure Debate

As previously reported on this blog, legislation requiring labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods and food ingredients was signed into law on July 29, 2016.  This law directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop regulations and standards to create mandatory disclosure requirements for bio-engineered foods by July 2018. On June 28, 2017, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) posted a … Continue Reading

New “Natural” Lawsuit Targets Sanderson Farms’ “100 Percent Natural” Chicken

A leading poultry producer has been sued over “natural” claims on its chicken products.  (subscription to Law360 required) Americans’ increasing appetite for clean label, ethically-raised foods has resulted in the continued proliferation of consumer advocacy litigation targeting “natural” claims for products containing synthetic ingredients or preservatives.  Adding fuel to the continued uptick in “natural” litigation … Continue Reading

Kraft Motion to Dismiss ‘All Natural’ Lawsuit

Kraft seeks to end ‘all-natural’ sour cream labeling suit (subscription to Law360 required) Kraft Heinz Foods Co. (Kraft) asked the court (the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York) to dismiss a putative class action over claims the “All Natural” label on its Breakstone’s sour cream is misleading because the sour cream … Continue Reading

Natural Challenge Stayed

Court places “natural” challenge on hold pending FDA action (subscription to Law 360 required) As the food industry is well aware, lawsuits challenging “natural” claims continue to proliferate nationwide. Many challenges have focused on the presence or use of synthetic ingredients or processing aids in products positioned as “all-natural” or “100% natural.” For example, Kraft Foods … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Neutralizers

Ninth Circuit puts food labeling challenge on hold pending FDA action. As food industry stakeholders are well aware, “natural” claims invite the risk of consumer class action challenges in the absence of any formal regulatory definition or regime to govern the use of the term.  Similarly, food companies also have faced challenges related to the use of … Continue Reading

GM Updates: Chipotle & Congress

Chipotle non-GM claims challenged again in court. As previously covered on this blog, a plaintiffs’ class action lawsuit was filed against Chipotle in connection with its nationwide advertising campaign premised on a pledge to serve only “non-GMO” foods.  In February, the lawsuit was dismissed based on the lead plaintiff’s failure to specify that she had … Continue Reading

Court Curbs Chipotle Case

Chipotle dodges non-GM class action lawsuit…for now.  (subscription to Law360 required) In 2015, Chipotle Mexican Grill launched a nationwide advertising campaign premised on the chain’s pledge to serve food made only with non-genetically modified (GM) ingredients.  However, the company continued to serve meat and dairy products from animals that consume GM crops, as well as beverages with … Continue Reading

Organic Challenges OK

California Supreme Court ruling opens door to “organic” labeling challenges.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates organic production in the United States under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA).  USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) has promulgated a series of regulations that define the criteria for organic production, labeling, and certification.  Thus — unlike … Continue Reading

Postscripts

Parties settle “Made in USA” lawsuit in California. (subscription to Law360 required) As previously covered on this blog, a product may bear a “Made in USA”-type (MIU) claim in accordance with federal guidelines where “all or virtually all” of the product is made in the U.S.  Until a recent statutory change, California’s MIU claim standard had been … Continue Reading

Naturally Modified

Food producer settles class action lawsuit involving “all natural” claims for cooking oil made from GM crops. Challenges to “natural” claims continue to proliferate in court rooms across the United States, with many cases targeting “natural” claims for products derived from genetically modified (GM) crops.  FDA’s informal policy is that “natural” means nothing artificial (including artificial … Continue Reading
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