Header graphic for print
Private Surgeon General Class Action Defender

Category Archives: False Advertising Claims

Subscribe to False Advertising Claims RSS Feed

FDA Extends Comment Period on “Natural” Food Labeling by 90 Days

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

In November we reported that the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was seeking public comments on the use of the term “natural” on food labeling, including foods that are genetically engineered or that contain ingredients produced through genetic engineering. On December 28, FDA announced that it is extending the comment period… Read More

Stand Down! Court Rejects Yakult Yogurt False Advertising Class for Lack of Standing

Posted in Class Certification, False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

On January 5, 2016, in Torrent v. Yakult U.S.A., Inc., U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney denied the plaintiff’s motion to certify a class of Yakult yogurt consumers who were allegedly misled by Yakult’s packaging and advertising claims.  The Court found that the sole named plaintiff lacked Article III standing to seek injunctive relief… Read More

No Soup for You! Judge Denies Preliminary Approval of Settlement in CJ Foods’ Annie Chun Soup Case

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

A recent decision from the Southern District of California highlights two challenges with obtaining preliminary approval of nationwide food misbranding class action settlements.  On December 16, 2015, in Peterson v. CJ America, Inc. d.b.a. CJ Foods Inc., Case No. 3:14-cv-02570, U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw denied preliminary approval of the proposed class action settlement… Read More

California Supreme Court Opens the Door to Organic Mislabeling Claims

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

Last week, the California Supreme Court issued a long awaited ruling on organic labeling in Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms, Inc., No. S216305, 2015 WL 7770635 (Cal. Dec. 3, 2015). At issue in Quesada was whether consumers may bring state law fraud and misrepresentation claims to challenge herb products allegedly mislabeled as “certified organic.” The… Read More

Trader Joe’s Wins Dismissal of Soymilk Products Mislabeling Claims

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

On December 2, 2015, Judge Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California dismissed with prejudice claims that grocery retailer Trader Joe’s violated California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) by using the term “soymilk” to describe certain food products that did not have cow’s milk. The plaintiffs alleged that Trader Joe’s’ use of the word “soymilk”… Read More

Red Light for Green Claims: FTC Sends Warning Letters to Green Certifiers

Posted in Client Alerts, False Advertising Claims

This week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it has sent warning letters to five marketers of environmental certifications and seals, as well as over 30 product companies displaying those certifications, citing concerns that the certifications failed to comply with the agency’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (“Green Guides”). The… Read More

Sales Data Alone Insufficient to Support CAFA Jurisdiction in Gerber’s Graduates Puffs Labeling Case

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

In Gyorke-Takatri v. Nestle USA, Inc., the United States District Court for the Northern District of California held that parties in a class action seeking to remove an action to federal court must provide sufficient admissible evidence supporting the jurisdictional basis for removal. No. 15-cv-03702-YGR.[1]  Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers remanded to California state court an… Read More

FDA Requests Public Comments on “Natural” Food Labeling

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

On November 10, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is seeking public comments on use of the term “natural” on food labeling. FDA, “Natural” on Food Labeling (Nov. 10, 2015). The agency explained that its actions were prompted by the “changing landscape of food ingredients and production, and in direct response… Read More

Consumers Win Class Certification in Sturm Foods’ Grove Square Coffee Pod Suit

Posted in Class Certification, False Advertising Claims, Motion to Dismiss

An Illinois federal judge recently certified a class of consumers who allege that Sturm Foods and its parent company Treehouse Foods Inc. marketed their Grove Square Coffee pods for use in Keurig Inc. brewers—and designed them to mimic Keurig’s “K-Cups” that yield fresh coffee—but hid the fact that they were 95% instant coffee by using… Read More

False Advertising Suit Regarding Plum Organics Mighty 4 Puree Pouches Dismissed

Posted in False Advertising Claims

On November 2, 2015, Judge Alsup of the Northern District of California dismissed a consumer class action against food manufacturer Plum Organics for failure to state a claim. In Workman et al. v. Plum Inc., D/B/A Plum Organics, Case No. C 15-02568, the putative class alleged that Plum Organics’ Mighty 4® puree pouches and fruit bars… Read More

Blue Diamond and WhiteWave Win Dismissal of Injunctive Relief Claim for Almond Milk Products

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

A recent decision from the Southern District of New York demonstrates the challenges consumers face in seeking injunctive relief on behalf of a class.  On October 21, 2015, in Albert et al. v. Blue Diamond Growers, et al., Case No. 1:15-cv-04087-VM, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the injunctive relief claim… Read More

Ninth Circuit Holds That Google AdWords Class Can Go Forward, Despite Individualized Damages Calculations

Posted in Class Certification, False Advertising Claims

In Pulaski & Middleman v. Google, Inc., the Ninth Circuit recently held that a class could be certified in connection with Google AdWords, even though damages would require some individualized calculations. Under Google’s AdWords program, advertisers paid Google for ads based on the click-through rate. Google, however, allegedly never told advertisers that their ads might… Read More

“Food” Courts Confirm That Price Premium Is the Proper Measure of Damages in Misbranding Cases

Posted in Class Certification, False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

The flurry of food mislabeling class actions filed in California federal courts has recently come to a halt under the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in Comcast v. Beherend. Comcast requires that putative class action plaintiffs present a damages model tied to their theory of liability. District courts in food mislabeling cases have limited plaintiffs’ recovery… Read More

A Handmade Dismissal for Maker’s Mark

Posted in False Advertising Claims

A recent decision from the Southern District of California demonstrates the uphill battle consumer lawsuits face when challenging “handmade” or “handcrafted” labels on alcoholic beverages.  On July 27, 2015, in Nowrouzi et al. v. Maker’s Mark Distillery Inc., Case No. 3:14-cv-02885, U.S. District Judge John A. Houston granted Maker’s Mark’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ four… Read More

Rescue Remedy Decision Confirms that CLRA Notice Requirement Has Real Teeth

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

A recent decision from the Southern District of California demonstrates the potential narrowing effect of a failure to strictly comply with the notice requirement for claims for damages under California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), Cal. Civ. Code § 1750 et seq. In Ruszecki v. Nelson Bach USA Ltd., No. 12-cv-495 (S.D. Cal. June 25,… Read More

Ninth Circuit Reverses Class Certification In Joint Supplement Case Because Not All Class Members Saw Misrepresentation

Posted in Class Certification, False Advertising Claims

The Ninth Circuit has held that a district court abused its discretion in certifying a class based on allegedly false health claims because not all class members saw the advertising. The Ninth Circuit said that the trial court thus erred in ruling that the predominance requirement was satisfied: “[I]n order for the issue to predominate,… Read More

Skinnygirl Margarita Class Rejected Again: Proof Fell Below Third Circuit’s High Bar for Ascertainability

Posted in Class Certification, False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

A New Jersey federal court ruled that plaintiffs once again failed to demonstrate the ascertainability of a class of purchasers seeking to challenge “all natural” claims by the makers of Skinnygirl Margarita. Stewart v. Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., No. 11-5149 (D.N.J. June 8, 2015). The court held that the Third Circuit’s high bar for… Read More

Plaintiff’s Mislabeling Claims Against Honest Tea Survive Motion to Dismiss

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding, Preemption

On January 5, 2015 Judge Kimberly Mueller of the Eastern District of California denied Honest Tea’s motion to dismiss a case involving accusations that the company misled consumers about the antioxidant content of one of its teas.  Salazar v. Honest Tea, No. 2:13-CV-02318 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 5, 2015).  The plaintiff claimed that Honest Tea has… Read More

Kimberly-Clark Corporation Wins Motion to Dismiss in Flushable Wipes Case

Posted in False Advertising Claims

Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Northern District of California recently granted Kimberly-Clark’s motion to dismiss a case challenging the truthfulness of the defendant’s claims that its wipes are flushable. Davidson v. Kimberly-Clark Corp. et al. Case No. C 14-1783 PJH (N.D. Cal. Dec. 19, 2014). The court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims based on failure… Read More

Pom Wonderful Drops Ninth Circuit Appeal of State Claims Filed Against Coca-Cola

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding, Preemption

On September 19, 2014, Pom Wonderful, LLC dropped its Ninth Circuit appeal of a ruling that dismissed its state deceptive advertising and unfair competition claims against Coca-Cola, a sibling case to a recent Supreme Court decision.  (See prior Pom Wonderful blog post here.)  Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit will not revisit whether Pom Wonderful’s state court… Read More

FTC Warns Advertisers to Check the Fine Print in “Operation Full Disclosure”; Shot Across the Bow Could Signal Law Enforcement Actions to Come

Posted in Client Alerts, False Advertising Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced this week that it sent warning letters to more than 60 national advertisers regarding the inadequacy of disclosures in their television and print ads.  The letters are part of an initiative named “Operation Full Disclosure,” which the FTC implemented to review fine print disclosures and other disclosures that it… Read More

Plaintiffs Sent Back to the Drawing Board in Mislabeling Suit Over “All Natural” and “Fat Free” Claims on Frito-Lay Rold Gold Pretzels

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

Judge Samuel Conti of the Northern District of California recently issued another blow to class action plaintiffs—this time at the motion to dismiss stage—in Figy v. Frito-Lay N. Am., Inc., Case No. 13-3988-SC (N.D. Cal. Aug. 12, 2014) (See post for Judge Conti’s defense-friendly class certification decision in In Re Clorox Consumer Litigation, Case No…. Read More

Class Action Suit Against Sunflower Seed Manufacturer Dismissed as Implausible

Posted in False Advertising Claims, Misbranding

In a recent food mislabeling case, Judge Manuel Real of the Central District of California dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit finding the plaintiffs’ claims to be implausible as a matter of law. Last year, Judge Real and Judge George Wu dismissed class actions challenging the labeling of food and cosmetics on this same basis…. Read More

Class Certified in Homeopathic Products Case

Posted in Class Certification, False Advertising Claims

The plaintiffs’ theory of harm drove a recent decision from the Central District of California certifying a nationwide class of purchasers of ten homeopathic products. Allen v. Hyland’s Inc., Case No. 12-01150 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 1, 2014) (Docket No. 291). The Allen plaintiffs contend that Hyland’s Inc.’s homeopathic products were mislabeled as to their uses and effectiveness… Read More