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Class Action Review- March 2024

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The following is a summary of relevant, notable Class Action Lawsuits that were filed in March 2024.  Below is a summary of the plaintiff’s allegations.  To request a copy of a particular complaint or for queries or further discussion, you’re welcome to reach out via email at [email protected]

  • Baird v Del Monte Foods Inc.

The increasing preference for natural ingredients and the rejection of artificial additives is a trend supported by various studies. This trend is anchored in the legal landscape of food regulation, highlighted by the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law, emphasizing the crucial role of clear product labeling. The spotlight is on Del Monte Foods Inc.’s “Diced Peaches in 100% Juice,” marketed for its simplicity but containing additional elements like water, ascorbic acid, and lemon juice concentrate, raising questions about misleading labeling. This situation underscores the potential violation of transparency regulations and the legal dynamics involved, including jurisdiction and party information. The narrative also touches on the plaintiff’s claim of overpaying due to the undisclosed ingredients, setting the stage for a class action lawsuit against Del Monte. This discussion highlights the ongoing shift towards greater transparency and authenticity in the food industry.

  • B.D. and L.M. v MIT45 Inc.

Plaintiffs B.D. and L.M. have launched a class action lawsuit against MIT45 Inc., accusing the company of deceptive marketing practices concerning its kratom products. Central to their claim is the allegation that MIT45 Inc. failed to disclose kratom’s opioid-like effects and its potential for addiction and dependency, despite marketing it as a safe, natural product. Highlighting the significant health risks associated with kratom, the lawsuit alleges that the company’s packaging and labeling misleadingly downplay these dangers. By focusing on kratom’s primary alkaloids—Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine, which interact with the mu-opioid receptors in the brain—the complaint argues that MIT45 Inc. knowingly omitted critical information about the product’s addictive nature. This case not only raises questions about the ethical obligations of companies to accurately represent their products but also addresses broader issues of consumer protection, seeking redress under warranty law, California’s Unfair Competition Law, the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and claims of unjust enrichment and fraudulent misrepresentation.

  • Veronica Bustamante v Welch Foods Inc.

Veronica Bustamante has initiated a class action lawsuit against Welch Foods Inc., accusing the company of misleading consumers under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the Unfair Competition Law, alongside breaching an express warranty. The core of the complaint centers around Welch Foods’ Light Grape Juice Product, specifically its claim of containing “No Artificial Flavors or Preservatives,” which the plaintiff contends is a deliberate falsehood designed to make consumers believe they are purchasing a premium, healthier option. This misrepresentation, according to the lawsuit, leads to consumer deception and economic injury. Further, the document outlines Bustamante’s call for injunctive relief, underscores the suitability of a class action for addressing such grievances, and elaborates on the legal framework underpinning the claims. The Southern District of California is highlighted as the appropriate jurisdiction for the case, emphasizing the legal proceedings and the pursuit of justice for affected consumers.

  • Cristina Diaz v Barilla America, Inc.

Cristina Diaz has filed a lawsuit against Barilla America, Inc., citing deceptive practices in the marketing and labeling of their pasta sauces. Central to Diaz’s claim is the accusation that Barilla misleadingly advertises their sauces as containing “No Preservatives,” despite the presence of citric acid, a compound recognized as a preservative by the FDA. This alleged misrepresentation is said to contravene several Florida statutes, including the Uniform Commercial Code, the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and regulations against false, misleading, and deceptive advertising. Furthermore, Diaz charges that Barilla breached an express warranty and profited unjustly from these practices. The lawsuit invokes diversity jurisdiction and the Class Action Fairness Act as grounds for federal court jurisdiction, aiming to represent a nationwide class as well as a Florida subclass bound by shared legal and factual issues. Diaz contends that she, like many consumers, was duped by Barilla’s product labeling, leading to purchases she would have foregone had she been aware of the truth. She argues that Barilla’s allegedly deceptive labeling enabled the company to command a higher price for their products, exploiting consumer trust.

  • Ann Elders and Rebecca Crampton v Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc.

Ann Elders and Rebecca Crampton have initiated a class action lawsuit against Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., challenging the company’s claims that its “Craisins Dried Cranberries” and “Cranberry Bites” are healthy options. The lawsuit centers on the argument that these products, despite being marketed as healthful, contain high levels of added sugar, posing a risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and metabolic syndrome—conditions that starkly contrast with the USDA’s dietary guidelines. The plaintiffs accuse Ocean Spray of misleading consumers by omitting crucial information about these guidelines on its packaging and argue that the complexity of nutrition labels further obscures the true health implications of the products. Through the lawsuit, Elders and Crampton seek a cessation of these marketing practices by Ocean Spray, in addition to restitution, damages, and a campaign to correct the advertising misrepresentations. The complaint also outlines allegations of breaches of express and implied warranties, negligent and intentional misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment, reflecting the breadth of legal challenges Ocean Spray faces over its product labeling and health claims.

  • Tamara Fletcher v The Coca-Cola Company

The discussion centers around the marketing of a “Margarita Hard Seltzer” by the Coca-Cola Company, underscoring the critical role of the blue agave plant in authentic tequila and margarita concoctions. Highlighted is the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAAA), which demands truthful disclosures to protect consumers from dishonest sellers. The issue at hand is that Coca-Cola’s product, lacking tequila and failing to specify its malt beverage classification as required, might mislead consumers. This potential for confusion is exacerbated by the product’s branding, which includes imagery of agave plants, misleadingly suggesting the presence of tequila. The situation raises concerns about the clarity of the term “hard seltzer” and how other brands communicate the inclusion or absence of tequila in their products. With a call to action for representing Floridians misled by such labeling, the dispute includes allegations of violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and engaging in false and misleading advertising, drawing on various authoritative sources for support, including the Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM), the International Bartenders Association (IBA), and the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

  • Albert Fried v Snapple Beverage Corp.

Albert Fried has filed a lawsuit against Snapple Beverage Corp., challenging the company’s claim that its beverages are “all natural” despite containing manufactured citric acid and coloring agents. This, Fried asserts, contravenes the FDA’s guidelines on natural products, which exclude any color additives, as well as California’s False Advertising Law and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act. The lawsuit articulates multiple claims against Snapple, including breach of express and implied warranties and unjust enrichment, and seeks both an injunction to halt Snapple’s alleged deceptive marketing practices and compensation for consumers misled by these claims. This legal action has been initiated in the California Superior Court in San Diego County, with Fried being represented by Fitzgerald Monroe Flynn PC.

  • Samuel Garcia and Samantha Kotcher v Lenny & Larry’s, LLC.

Samuel Garcia and Samantha Kotcher have initiated a class action lawsuit against Lenny & Larry’s, LLC, accusing the company of misleadingly advertising their “Lenny & Larry’s The Boss Immunity Bars” as beneficial for immune health and protein absorption. The plaintiffs allege that the bars lack a sufficient amount of the BC30 Probiotic to back these health claims, arguing that such marketing practices breach the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, California’s Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law, the Unfair Competition Law, along with various consumer protection statutes in California and New York. They are pursuing damages, punitive damages, and various forms of equitable relief, including declaratory and injunctive relief, plus restitution based on quasi-contract/unjust enrichment. The lawsuit has been filed in the Southern District of California, seeking legal redress for alleged deceptive marketing tactics.

  • Jaime Guzman v Walmart, Inc.

Jaimé Guzmán has launched a class action lawsuit against Walmart, Inc., representing a group with similar grievances. The lawsuit accuses Walmart of committing three key legal violations: infringing upon the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the Unfair Competition Law, and breaching implied warranties. At the heart of the complaint is Walmart’s Equate Daily Fiber Orange Smooth Product, which is promoted as a healthy option containing “100% Natural Psyllium Husk.” However, an investigation by uncovered that the product harbors unsafe levels of lead. Guzmán contends that Walmart’s claims mislead reasonable consumers, leaving them unknowingly exposed to potential harm, and asserts that the legal system is the only recourse for addressing such deceptive practices. The action seeks to hold Walmart accountable for its false advertising and deceptive conduct, with the plaintiff demanding restitution, injunctive relief, and damages for affected consumers.

  • Syed Hussain v Campbell Soup Company

Syed Hussain has filed a lawsuit against Campbell Soup Company, alleging false advertising and unfair competition related to its Kettle Brand potato chips. Hussain claims that the chips are marketed as “Air Fried” despite actually being fried in oil, a labeling he contends misleads consumers into believing the product is healthier than it is. Adhering to Rule 9(b), Hussain meticulously outlines his allegations against Campbell Soup Company, details the proposed class for the lawsuit, and argues the case’s suitability for class action status. He accuses the company of contravening California law, particularly the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, by misrepresenting the product’s preparation method. Seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief to prevent future misleading practices, Hussain is represented by attorneys James Pazos and Craig Smith in the Northern District of California, aiming to hold Campbell Soup Company accountable for its marketing of Kettle Brand potato chips.

  • Patrick Jura v Food Lion LLC.

The discussion highlights the growing consumer preference for natural flavors over artificial ones, against the backdrop of regulatory standards set by the FFDCA and MDFDCA, which mandate clear disclosure of artificial flavorings. It dives into the specific case of blueberry flavors, emphasizing the critical role of malic acid in mimicking the authentic taste of blueberries. Notably, malic acid exists in two forms, including a synthetic variant. The contention arises with Food Lion LLC’s Fruit & Grain Cereal Bars, which, despite being marketed as “Naturally Flavored,” are argued to contain a greater proportion of artificial blueberry flavor due to the inclusion of synthetic malic acid. This, the document suggests, misleads consumers into believing they are purchasing a product with purely natural flavors. It lays out the plaintiff’s claim that the deceptive labeling led to their purchase based on incorrect information, setting the stage for a class action lawsuit aiming to represent similarly misled consumers. This situation underscores the legal and ethical implications of food labeling practices and the importance of transparency in marketing food products.

  • Brian Keegan v Michael Lee, Travis Myers and Mihon Corp.

Brian Keegan has initiated a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California, targeting Michael Lee, Travis Myers, and Mihon Corp for their involvement in the marketing and sale of EnduranceXtra, a product falsely promoted as a natural male enhancement supplement. In reality, this product contains Sildenafil, a pharmaceutical ingredient, unbeknownst to consumers. The lawsuit alleges that by concealing the presence of this pharmaceutical, the defendants have not only misled consumers but also potentially endangered the health of the public. The complaint accuses the defendants of directly overseeing the deceitful distribution and sale of this tainted supplement. It also defines the scope of the proposed class, elucidates the shared legal and factual bases uniting class members, and validates Keegan’s suitability to represent the class. Enumerated within the complaint are three primary causes of action: false advertising, common law fraud, and an infringement of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act. Keegan’s legal challenge seeks to establish jurisdiction and venue within the Northern District of California, aiming to hold the defendants accountable for their fraudulent actions.

  • Kate Krechting and Andrea Fahey v Molson Coors Beverage Company USA LLC

Kate Krechting and Andrea Fahey have filed a lawsuit against Molson Coors Beverage Company USA LLC in the United States District Court Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, accusing the company of misleading consumers with its “Mimosa Hard Seltzer” product. The plaintiffs argue that the product’s name, imagery of oranges, and claims of being “Made With Real Orange Juice” falsely imply the presence of sparkling wine, an essential component of traditional mimosas, leading consumers to believe they are purchasing a different kind of product. Furthermore, they challenge the clarity of the term “Hard Seltzer,” suggesting it adds to consumer confusion due to inconsistent usage across similar beverages. The complaint alleges that such marketing practices result in the product being “misbranded” under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and the Food Safety Act (FSA), failing to accurately convey its basic nature or ingredients, and misleadingly identifying it as “beer” in inconspicuous fine print. The lawsuit also criticizes Molson Coors for not disclosing the absence of sparkling wine, positing this omission as deceptive to consumers. Highlighting common questions of law and fact, Krechting and Fahey further assert claims for violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and engage in false and misleading advertising, seeking legal redress for these alleged misrepresentations.

  • Nicole Loza, Kimberly Hall, and Nicole Rivera v The Hershey Company

Nicole Loza, Kimberly Hall, and Nicole Rivera have initiated a class action lawsuit against The Hershey Company, accusing it of misleadingly labeling its Lily’s chocolate products as “Stevia Sweetened” while they primarily use erythritol as a sweetener. The plaintiffs allege that this mislabeling was intentionally crafted to deceive and mislead consumers, leading them to pay a premium under the belief they were purchasing chocolates sweetened exclusively with stevia. They contend that The Hershey Company’s practices not only aim to deceive consumers but also to secure an unfair advantage in the marketplace. The health concerns tied to erythritol consumption, coupled with the “No Sugar Added” claim, are argued to exacerbate the deceptive nature of the product labeling. The complaint delineates the class action allegations, defines the class and subclass, and discusses the adequacy of representation and superiority of the class action mechanism in this context. The plaintiffs list multiple causes of action, including violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) and False Advertising Law (FAL), common law fraud, deceit,and misrepresentation, as well as violations of California’s Business and Professions Code. Accompanying the legal arguments are declarations from two plaintiffs, along with images and descriptions of the implicated Lily’s chocolate products, underscoring the plaintiffs’ claims. The lawsuit asserts jurisdiction in the Northern District of California, where the case is properly venue, aiming to hold The Hershey Company accountable for its alleged misleading advertising practices.

  • Pearl Magpayo v Walmart Inc.

Pearl Magpayo has filed a class action lawsuit against Walmart Inc., alleging false and deceptive marketing practices concerning its Spring Valley Fish Oil Omega-3 supplement. The suit claims that Walmart misleadingly promotes the product as beneficial for heart health without substantive scientific backing, referencing a report from JAMA Cardiology to highlight the lack of conclusive research supporting such health claims. Magpayo asserts that this misrepresentation led her and other consumers to pay a premium for the supplement under false pretenses. The complaint criticizes Walmart for not adhering to FDA guidelines that necessitate disclaimers for health-related claims, a requirement Walmart allegedly neglected. Filed in the Northern District of California, where Magpayo resides and purchased the supplement, the lawsuit aims to represent a broader class of consumers similarly misled by Walmart’s claims. The legal action is grounded in allegations that Walmart’s practices violate California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), False Advertising Law (FAL), and Unfair Competition Law (UCL). Additionally, it accuses Walmart of breaching both express and implied warranties and benefiting unjustly from its misleading advertising. The complaint underscores the necessity of a class action as the most efficient means to address the widespread issues raised, seeking redress for the alleged deceptive marketing strategies employed by Walmart.

  • Ruben Mencia-Montes v Fit Foods Distribution Inc.

Ruben Mencia-Montes has initiated a class action lawsuit against Fit Foods Distribution Inc., alleging misleading representations of the protein content in its “Mass Extreme 2500” supplement. The complaint contends that despite claims of containing 92 grams of protein, the product only delivers 30 to 60 grams per serving, with the higher amount contingent on adding milk—a detail not disclosed on the label. This misrepresentation pits Fit Foods against other protein powder brands that accurately represent their protein content, highlighting the company’s deceptive marketing practices. The lawsuit accuses Fit Foods of violating FDA regulations concerning nutrient content claims and breaches California’s stringent consumer protection statutes, including the Unfair Competition Law. Mencia-Montes seeks restitution, injunctive relief to halt the misleading advertising, and coverage for attorneys’ fees, aiming to enforce transparency and accountability in product labeling within the dietary supplement industry.

  • Jennifer Moore v Bluetriton Brands, Inc.

Jennifer Moore has launched a legal battle against Blue Triton Brands, Inc., challenging the authenticity of its Poland Spring bottled water’s claim to be “100% Natural Spring Water.” The lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of New York, raises serious concerns over the presence of phthalates and microplastics in the water—substances associated with significant health risks—that belie the product’s advertised purity. Moore’s accusations span false advertising and consumer protection violations, spotlighting the discrepancy between the product’s marketing and its actual content. By alleging breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, and infractions of New York General Business Law §§ 349 and 350, Moore’s case not only underscores the need for transparent product labeling but also seeks to certify the lawsuit as a class action, aiming for a broader impact on how natural resources are represented and sold. Kevin O’Rourke v Nestle USA Inc.

  • Einav Ronen v Borges Usa, Inc.

Einav Ronen, represented by attorneys Todd M. Friedman and Adrian R. Bacon, has filed a class action lawsuit against Borges USA, Inc., spotlighting the company’s alleged mislabeling of its artichoke hearts as sugar-free despite containing two grams of sugar per serving. This lawsuit, grounded in claims of false advertising and consumer protection violations, leverages multiple California statutes including the Unfair Competition Law, the Civil Code, the False Advertising Act, and the Unfair Business Practices Act, to outline Borges’ purported legal infringements. Ronen’s complaint seeks not only an injunction to halt Borges’ misleading practices but also damages for those affected, underlining the lawsuit’s goal of consumer protection. With class action allegations that define both a National Class and a California Sub-Class, the complaint emphasizes the uniformity of legal and factual questions at its core, asserting Ronen’s position as a fitting representative due to the typicality of his claims with those of the class members. Chanya Roye v Eggland’s v Best, Inc. and. Eggland’s Best, LLC

  • Daniel Tepper v The Quaker Oats Company

Daniel Tepper has initiated legal action against The Quaker Oats Company, accusing it of concealing the presence of chlormequat chloride—a toxic chemical pesticide—in its oat-based products. This lawsuit, rooted in concerns for consumer health and transparency, stems from findings by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which detected chlormequat in several oat-based foods, including those produced by Quaker Oats, at levels surpassing EWG’s health benchmarks. Chlormequat chloride is associated with reproductive and developmental issues in animal studies, raising alarms about potential human harm. Despite Quaker Oats’ assertions of commitment to high standards of health and nutrition, Tepper contends that the company fails to inform consumers about the pesticide’s presence in its products. Filed in New York, the lawsuit targets violations of state consumer fraud, deceptive business practices, deceptive acts and practices, and false advertising laws. Tepper seeks injunctive relief to enforce full disclosure of ingredients in marketing and packaging, mandatory testing for harmful substances, class certification, a monetary judgment, and further injunctive measures to rectify the alleged misinformation and protect consumer well-being.

  • Brandon Wong v Iovate Health Sciences USA. Inc.

Brandon Wong has filed a class action lawsuit against Iovate Health Sciences U.S.A. Inc., challenging the accuracy of protein content claims on its “Muscletech” dietary supplements. Wong contends that the protein levels promoted on the product labels are attainable only with the addition of milk, a critical detail omitted from the packaging. This omission, according to Wong, positions Iovate’s labeling and advertising as false, misleading, and deceptive, in direct violation of FDA regulations regarding clear preparation instructions. Furthermore, the complaint cites breaches of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law, underscoring the legal foundations of the allegations against Iovate. Seeking a jury trial, Wong demands equitable relief to compensate for the damages incurred by him and other affected class members, spotlighting the broader implications of Iovate’s alleged misleading practices in the health and wellness industry.

  • Craig Woolard v The Glad Products Company

A class action lawsuit has been initiated against The Glad Products Company and The Clorox Company, accusing them of falsely advertising their “Recycling” trash bags as recyclable, despite being made from non-recyclable low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastics. This suit echoes a recent case against Hefty, underlining a pattern of alleged consumer fraud regarding recyclability claims, in violation of the FTC’s “Green Guides.” The complaint stresses the significant environmental stakes of such misinformation and parallels the defendants’ actions with those recently scrutinized by the State of Connecticut. Filed in the Southern District of California, the lawsuit invokes the Class Action Fairness Act, citing violations of California’s consumer protection laws, and seeks to address these issues through a class action, advocating for accountability in environmental marketing claims and rectification for misled consumers.