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Class Actions Lawsuits – April 2024

legal compliance for grocery stores

The following is a summary of relevant, notable Class Action Lawsuits that were filed in April 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]

Elders v Ocean Spray

Ann Elders and Rebecca Crampton have filed a class action lawsuit against Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., alleging deceptive marketing of “Craisins Dried Cranberries” and “Cranberry Bites.” The lawsuit claims these products, marketed as healthy, contradict USDA dietary guidelines due to their high sugar content, which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The plaintiffs are pushing for an injunction against Ocean Spray’s marketing tactics, along with demands for restitution and damages. Filed in the Southern District of California, this case underscores significant consumer health concerns related to misleading food labeling.

Garcia v Lenny & Larry’s

Samuel Garcia and Samantha Kotcher have initiated a class action lawsuit against Lenny & Larry’s, LLC, accusing the company of false advertising with their product, “Lenny & Larry’s The Boss Immunity Bars.” They contend that the bars, which are marketed as enhancing immune health and protein absorption through the inclusion of BC30 Probiotic, do not contain a sufficient amount of the probiotic to substantiate these health claims. This alleged misrepresentation is said to breach warranty terms and contravene several regulations including California and New York business and consumer protection laws, the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, and California’s Sherman Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law. Garcia and Kotcher are demanding a jury trial and are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future misleading practices.

Serrano v Campbell Soup

Monic Serrano and Debra Shaw have initiated a class action lawsuit against Campbell Soup Company, alleging false advertising and violations of consumer protection and unfair competition laws. The lawsuit focuses on Campbell’s “V8 Splash” beverages, which are promoted as healthy, naturally-flavored fruit juice drinks but are primarily composed of water and high fructose corn syrup, with artificial flavoring from malic acid. The plaintiffs accuse Campbell of misleading consumers by not adequately disclosing the artificial ingredients and the minimal fruit juice content, thereby misbranding the products. They further argue that marketing these drinks under the “V8” brand, which is synonymous with natural vegetable juice, falsely associates them with health benefits. The complaint extends to claims of breach of warranties, misrepresentation, and fraud, emphasizing the products’ unsuitability for children and contrasting Campbell’s labeling practices with those of its competitors. Seeking injunctive relief, restitution, and punitive damages, the case is filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, aiming to rectify the alleged deceptive practices.

Karabas v TC Heartland

Mete Karabas has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, against TC Heartland LLC, concerning its product, Splenda Naturals Stevia. The lawsuit alleges false advertising by marketing the sugar alternative as “100% Natural” despite containing synthetic ingredients. Karabas argues that the production processes for the ingredients are not natural and that TC Heartland’s disclaimers and website explanations failed to clarify these misrepresentations. Furthermore, subsequent modifications to the product’s labeling have not addressed the misleading claims. The complaint includes additional allegations such as violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment. Karabas seeks injunctive relief to stop further misleading marketing and compensation for the class members. This case highlights ongoing issues with the transparency of product labeling and consumer deception.

Vera v Prime Hydration

Lara Vera has initiated a class action lawsuit against Prime Hydration LLC in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging false advertising regarding the caffeine content in their “PRIME Energy” drinks. According to the complaint, the company claims that these drinks contain 200mg of caffeine per serving, whereas they actually contain between 215-225mg. This discrepancy is significant as it could pose health risks, especially to children. The complaint outlines violations of specific statutes, framing this misrepresentation as a substantial concern for consumers. Vera’s lawsuit includes additional claims such as breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, and fraud, and she seeks various remedies including compensatory damages, statutory damages, restitution, injunctive relief, and a specific injunction to prevent future misrepresentations. This case underscores ongoing issues with transparency in product labeling and the potential dangers of inaccurate ingredient listings.

Zimmerman v Big Heart Pet Brands

Margot Zimmerman has filed a class action lawsuit against Big Heart Pet Brands Inc. in the Brooklyn Division of the Eastern District of New York, citing false advertising and misbranding under New York law. The lawsuit centers on the claim that Pup-Peroni dog snacks prominently advertise “Real Beef” as the #1 ingredient. Zimmerman argues that this label is misleading because the term “beef” suggests a quality of meat suitable for human consumption, whereas the product contains “feed grade beef,” which is a lower quality and processed differently. This distinction, she claims, affects consumer perception and potentially violates advertising standards. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and asserts jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. Zimmerman’s legal action highlights issues with transparency in pet food labeling and consumer rights, demanding remedies including injunctive relief to correct the labeling practices and ensure consumer awareness.

Simon v Bountiful

Rick Klingbeil has initiated a class action lawsuit on behalf of Jason Lewis Simon and others against a group of defendants including The Bountiful Company, Nordic Naturals, Inc., Pfizer, Inc., Alacer Corp., Quten Research Institute, LLC, Bayer HealthCare, LLC, Pharmavite, LLC, and Church & Dwight Co., Inc. The complaint, filed under Oregon and federal laws, accuses these companies of providing misleading and deceptive information on the packaging of dietary supplements. Specifically, the lawsuit contends that the companies overstated the quantity of supplements in each package by failing to clearly indicate the serving size. This alleged misrepresentation breaches FDA guidelines and Oregon statutes mandating that the principal display panel (PDP) accurately reflect the net quantity of contents. The plaintiffs argue that inadequate labeling, the use of small or inconspicuous text, and the omission of material facts render these supplements misbranded and, consequently, illegal to sell. The complaint provides exhaustive tables that detail the discrepancies between the labeled and actual content amounts of the products, asserting their worthlessness and illegality. The lawsuit articulates the plaintiff’s claims, defines the proposed class, identifies common legal and factual questions, and justifies the necessity of a class action. Klingbeil seeks monetary and injunctive relief for the class, aiming to rectify the alleged labeling infractions and ensure consumer protection.

Waldrop v. Cinemark USA

Shane Waldrop has filed a class action lawsuit against Cinemark USA, Inc., alleging deceptive business practices in their sale of 24-ounce drink containers that purportedly only hold 22 ounces of liquid. This case, brought forth in the Eastern District of Texas, claims that Cinemark violated the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and state laws by misbranding food items. Waldrop’s complaint details several causes of action, including violations of the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, negligent misrepresentation, common law fraud, and unjust enrichment. He seeks to represent a class of consumers who were misled by these practices during the specified class period. The lawsuit contends that Waldrop’s claims are not subject to the doctrines of preemption or primary jurisdiction, thereby maintaining the court’s jurisdiction over this federal case. Waldrop is pushing for both compensatory and injunctive relief to correct Cinemark’s alleged deceptive practices and to prevent future occurrences.

Palacios v Built Brands

Attorney Charles C. Weller represents plaintiff Mario Palacios in a class action lawsuit filed against Built Brands LLC, alleging deceptive labeling and misbranding of Built Protein Bars. The complaint, lodged in the Northern District of California, claims that Built Brands LLC overstated the protein content in their bars, a discrepancy verified by independent testing from two laboratories. This misrepresentation, which contravenes federal labeling regulations, reportedly allowed the company to charge a premium. The lawsuit argues that consumers were misled and would either not have purchased the bars or would have paid less had they known the true protein content. The legal action seeks class certification and outlines additional counts of violation under the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, unjust enrichment, and breach of express warranty. The complaint pursues jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act or, alternatively, diversity jurisdiction, asserting that the venue is properly placed in the Northern District of California due to the significant part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claims occurring there.

Hortin v Kraft

Cori Hortin and Valerie Morrison have initiated a class action lawsuit against Kraft Heinz Foods Company, LLC, citing violations of California Business and Professions Codes, the False Advertising Law, and unjust enrichment. The lawsuit is based on findings from a Consumer Reports study that detected significant levels of lead, cadmium, and phthalates in three varieties of Lunchables: Turkey and Cheddar Cracker Stackers, Pizza with Pepperoni, and Extra Cheesy Pizza. According to the study, the lead levels in these products would expose a child to 74%, 73%, and 69% of California’s maximum allowable dose level, respectively, while the two pizza varieties also contained more than 50% of the maximum allowable dose level for cadmium. The plaintiffs allege that Kraft Heinz was aware or should have been aware of the presence of these harmful substances in their products but failed to reduce or eliminate them, and also failed to disclose their presence on product labels. Hortin and Morrison are seeking an injunction to halt Kraft Heinz’s unfair and deceptive business practices, as well as compensation for those affected. The lawsuit seeks to represent a broad class of consumers who purchased these potentially harmful products.

Palmeri v Heinz

Vincent Palmeri has filed a class action lawsuit against The Kraft Heinz Company, accusing it of deceptive and misleading business practices related to the marketing and sale of three Lunchables products. The lawsuit alleges that the company failed to disclose the presence of unsafe levels of lead, a known neurotoxin, in these products. This omission is particularly contentious given the products’ packaging claim of “100% Freshness Guaranteed,” which Palmeri argues could mislead consumers into believing the products are safe. The dangers of lead exposure are well-documented, especially its harmful effects on children, and the lawsuit contends that Kraft Heinz had a duty to inform consumers about the lead content. The complaint asserts that the company’s failure to disclose was both intentional and material, suggesting that consumer decisions would have been different had they been aware of the contamination. Palmeri and the proposed class members claim they lost the full benefit of their bargain upon purchasing a product contaminated with lead. The legal action brings forth claims under New York General Business Law §§ 349 and 350, alleges negligence per se, and cites breach of warranties concerning the safety and quality of the products.

LaSpisa v Kraft

Laura LaSpisa has initiated a class action lawsuit against Kraft Heinz Foods Company, filed in the United States District Court Southern District of New York, alleging false, misleading, and deceptive advertising practices concerning their pre-packaged meal kits, “Lunchables.” The complaint accuses Kraft Heinz of failing to disclose that these products contain high levels of harmful substances, including lead, cadmium, and phthalates, which pose significant health risks, particularly to children. The lawsuit details LaSpisa’s personal experience with purchasing and consuming Lunchables, highlighting the economic loss suffered by her and other class members who now deem the products unsafe and unusable.

The complaint defines the affected class and poses common questions of law and fact pertinent to the case, specifically focusing on two counts of violations under New York General Business Law. These violations center on the company’s non-disclosure of dangerous chemicals in their products and the consequent misleading representation of their safety and quality. LaSpisa seeks relief for all class members for the economic losses incurred from purchasing what they believed were safe and healthy food options for children.

Miran v Hard Eight Nutrition

Sean Miran has filed a class action lawsuit against Hard Eight Nutrition LLC, doing business as (“Bulk”), represented by attorney Trinette G. Kent from Lemberg Law, LLC. The lawsuit, filed over the company’s Magnesium Glycinate Powder dietary supplement, alleges that Bulk misrepresented the magnesium content in their product. Despite claims on the label stating that one serving contains 400 mg of magnesium as magnesium glycinate, the plaintiff argues this is scientifically impossible given the actual concentration of magnesium in magnesium glycinate. The complaint outlines the scientific basis for these allegations and points to violations of federal and state laws, specifically noting breaches of express warranty and engaging in unlawful and unfair business practices.

The document details ten specific causes of action, including fraudulent concealment, unjust enrichment (listed twice with different contexts), multiple breaches of express warranty, violations of the California Business and Professions Code, the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and California’s Unfair Competition Law, as well as a breach of the implied warranty of merchantability. Miran’s complaint underscores the need for clarity and truth in product labeling, particularly in dietary supplements. He is seeking a jury trial, arguing that a class action is the most efficient method to resolve these widespread issues concerning consumer rights and product integrity.

Lambert v Pepperidge Farm

Christopher Lambert has initiated a class action lawsuit against Pepperidge Farm, Inc. and DOES 1 through 10, for misleading marketing claims about their Goldfish Flavor Blasted Snack Crackers. The packaging claimed “No Artificial Flavors or Preservatives,” yet included citric acid, identified as a synthetic preservative. Filed on behalf of a broad class of consumers across Missouri and states with similar consumer protection laws, the lawsuit alleges breach of warranty, breach of implied contract, and unjust enrichment, also citing violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA). The complaint emphasizes that the false advertising was intentional to attract health-conscious consumers, supported by evidence from the FDA, USDA, and academic sources that validate the preservative nature of citric acid. Lambert argues for the necessity of a class action to effectively address and rectify these widespread misleading practices and claims that terms like “fresh” and “healthy” further compound the deceptive marketing strategies.

Ozonian v Jack in the Box

Nicole Ozonian has filed a class action lawsuit against Jack in the Box Inc. (JITB) and Does 1-100, accusing them of making false and misleading claims about the recyclability of their packaging. Filed in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego, the complaint alleges that JITB’s advertising that their packaging is “recyclable” does not meet statewide recyclability criteria, misleading consumers like Ozonian who value environmental considerations in their purchasing decisions. She contends that had she known the truth about the recyclability claims, she would not have purchased JITB products. The lawsuit highlights the alleged cooperation among JITB’s shareholders, executive officers, managers, and supervisors in perpetuating these false representations. Additionally, Ozonian argues that resolving these widespread issues through individual lawsuits is impracticable, making a class action necessary. The legal action also addresses violations of California Business & Professions Code §§17500 and § 17200, seeking to hold JITB accountable for their misleading environmental claims.

Eickmeier v Sauce Ventures

Tim Eickmeier has initiated a class action lawsuit against Sauce Ventures LLC and DOES 1-10, challenging the marketing of their TRUFF-branded Black Truffle Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce. Filed in the Circuit Court for St. Louis County, Missouri, the lawsuit claims that the product’s packaging deceptively states “No Preservatives,” despite containing citric acid—a common preservative recognized by the FDA. Eickmeier contends that this misrepresentation misleads consumers, particularly because the average buyer may not identify citric acid as a preservative, posing potential health concerns. The complaint disregards the subjective intent behind using citric acid, emphasizing its preservative function. Seeking relief under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA), the lawsuit also includes claims for breach of warranty, breach of implied contract, and unjust enrichment. Eickmeier represents a proposed class of Missouri residents and others in states with similar consumer protection statutes, arguing that a class action is the most effective way to address the widespread impact of false labeling on consumers and the marketplace.

Williams v Hannaford Bros

Justin Williams has filed a class action lawsuit against Hannaford Bros. Co. LLC, addressing the misleading labeling of their “Yellow Cling Diced Peaches in 100% Fruit Juice” product. The lawsuit, lodged in response to consumer demand for real ingredients and widespread aversion to food additives, argues that Hannaford Bros. misleadingly advertises the product as containing only peaches and 100% fruit juice. However, the ingredient list reveals additional components such as white grape juice concentrate, lemon juice concentrate, natural flavor, ascorbic acid, and citric acid. The complaint challenges the claim that juice concentrate qualifies as 100% fruit juice, noting that the concentration process alters both the flavor and nutritional profile of the juice.

Filed amidst a backdrop of stringent food regulation history, including the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the lawsuit also references New York’s Agriculture and Markets Law, General Business Law, and the FTC Act, underscoring the legal standards Hannaford Bros. is accused of violating. The complaint articulates how the product is “misbranded” due to these discrepancies and argues that Hannaford Bros.’s failure to fully disclose its ingredients or processing methods is misleading to consumers. It establishes jurisdiction and venue, identifies the involved parties, and details the class action structure, defining the class and highlighting the pivotal legal questions that unite the class members’ claims.