Category: Consumer Fraud Class Claims

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Plaintiffs Seek New Targets in “All Natural” Class Actions

Recently, there have been both positive and negative developments in California regarding "All Natural" consumer class action litigation. By way of background, these cases are typically brought under California’s Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code §17200), False Advertising Law (Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500) and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (Civ. Code §1750) regarding … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Orders FDA to Address “All Natural” Labeling on GMO Foods

Coauthored by Claire Mitchell and Thomas Woods: California federal courts now appear positioned to lead the way nationally on the issue of whether food products containing genetically modified ingredients, commonly referred to as “GMOs” can be labeled “All Natural.” Just last week a federal judge in Colorado stayed the case of Nicole Van Atta v. General … Continue Reading

UCL Class Actions in California Expand Beyond “All Natural” Claims

The “All Natural” class action litigation in California has continued into 2012, as expected.  The claims in California are being filed under California’s consumer-friendly unfair competition law (or UCL), which is codified in sections 17200 and 17500 of the California Business & Professions Code, and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA). Given the costs and … Continue Reading

“All Natural” Class Action Litigation in California: What’s in Store for 2012?

California litigators Tom Woods and Melissa Jones have prepared a Litigation Legal Alert on "All Natural" class action litigation in California and what to expect in 2012.  The Alert, which is linked above, provides background information regarding "All Natural" class action litigation in California.  It also discusses why the authors believe that class action litigation in this area … Continue Reading

Health Claims Class Actions Set to Explode

Stoel Rives food liability attorney Ken Odza discussed with NutraIngredients-USA.com the significance of a rise in activism from consumer lobby groups combined with food manufacturers pushing the envelope with more aggressive health claims. General Mills recently lost its bid to invalidate class action certification at the Eleventh Circuit of Appeals in a Florida lawsuit involving … Continue Reading

Defeating a Consumer Fraud Putative Class Case Early

Last week at the DRI products liability conference in New Orleans, Lara White from Adams and Reese and I presented "Regulatory Compliance Alone Is Not Enough: Understanding and Mitigating Consumer Fraud Claims." Our presentation dealt with putative class claims aimed at the marketing and labeling of food products. A link to the slide-deck can be … Continue Reading

Prop 65 Targets Cooked Food, Coffee and Vitamin Supplements

This blog entry was originally written by Lee Smith from the California Environmental Law Blog. The Industry Acrylamide Coalition (Coalition) filed suit against the State of California Office of Environmental Health  Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the agency that manages and revised the Prop 65 list to include 4-metheylimidazole (4-MEI), as a carcinogen.  4-MEI is often found … Continue Reading

Why CSPI’s Loyalty Card Suit Has No Merit and Does Not Promote Food Safety

Following the playbook it has followed in the past with sodium and other issues, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed yet another complaint of very questionable legal merit to promote a policy agenda. This time CSPI seeks to compel all retailers to use loyalty cards as a recall alert system. … Continue Reading

Strategies to Defeat Putative Class Claims Challenging Labeling and Marketing of Food Products

April 8, 2011 – Scott Rickman from Del Monte, Lara White from Adams and Reese, and I will be talking at the Defense Research Institute (DRI) food law break-out. This event is held in conjunction with the DRI annual product liability conference in New Orleans. Click here for the complete manuscript that we’ve prepared to … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs Question “Carbon Negative” Water

The Fiji Water Company has attracted the attention of plaintiffs lawyers with its “carbon negative” bottled water.  The Newport Trial Group, a law firm representing California consumers, sued Fiji Water last month, arguing that Fiji’s carbon offset claims are deceptive and misleading.  The complaint against Fiji Water argues that the product is not necessarily carbon … Continue Reading

Dannon Forced to Open Wallet and Change Advertising (Again)

Note: The following is posted by David Pacheco from the Essential Nutrition Law Blog. The multinational food company Dannon agreed to a 45 million dollar class action settlement earlier this year based on consumer complaints about advertising claims regarding the health benefits of its probiotic line of dairy products. Now the company has entered into a … Continue Reading

Front of Package Labeling Claims Survive Motion to Dismiss

A recent decision held that Front of Package (”FOP”) labeling claims may not (yet) be subject to federal preemption. The decision in a putative class action, Chacanaca v. The Quaker Oats Company, involves what has become a common fact pattern: The FDA says an issue is complex and subject to industry guidance and possibly rule-making … Continue Reading

FTC Green Guides, Sustainability & Third Party Certification

Our previous blog entry discusses last week’s release of the Federal Trade Commission’s ("FTC") revised, proposed "Green Guides" generally, discussing how the FTC is focused on "deception" and is not taking a radical departure from the 1998 version (the last version) of the Green Guides. But under the new Guides what are the consequences of the … Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Orders

Two recent court orders in motions to dismiss consumer fraud class actions illustrate the fine lines that exist in the analytical process courts engage in when determining whether or not a claim may continue forward. In Zeisel v. Diamond Foods, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied Diamond Foods‘ motion … Continue Reading

Regulatory Compliance Alone Is Not Enough: Understanding and Mitigating Consumer Fraud Claims

Click on the image below to view the slide-deck from the presentation that I recently gave with Scott Rickman from Del Monte at ACI’s summit on Food Safety and Regulatory Compliance in Chicago. The ACI summit was a nice introduction to food regulation byFDA, USDA, FTC, EPA and DHS. Our presentation was intended to start … Continue Reading

Strategy to Defeat Consumer Class Claims

As we’ve discussed previously in this blog, the Supreme Court’s plausibility pleading standard, as articulated in the Iqbal and Twombly cases often provides a rapid (and relatively inexpensive) pathway to defeat consumer fraud claims. At the ACI food regulatory conference last week, we discussed a strategy to take advantage of the plausibility pleading standard in … Continue Reading

Dismissal of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Claims: Another Example of Iqbal/Twombly Succeeding Where Preemption Cannot

Judge James Ware dismissed on an FRCP 12(b)(6) motion putative class claims against Unilever alleging violations of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act , Unfair Competition Law, and False Advertising Law . Judge Ware’s decision can be found here. Plaintiff alleged that Unilever misrepresented the ingredients of its butter-substitute product through its advertising and product labeling. … Continue Reading

Difficult Week for the Food Industry (Good Week for the Plaintiffs’ Bar): HVP Salmonella and FDA Warning Letters

The week of March 1 saw a double whammy hit food manufacturers. I. Open Letter to Industry on Marketing Claims First, on March 3, FDA sent warning letters to 16 food manufacturers concerning their labeling practices. FDA also issued an Open Letter to Industry warning against certain practices. For example, FDA warned that: o Nutrient content claims … Continue Reading
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