New Filings For August 29, 2016

Berni, et al. v. Barilla S.P.A., et al¸ No. 1:16-cv-4196 (E.D.N.Y.): Putative class action asserting a violation of New York GBL 349 and raising a claim of unjust enrichment, based on the claim that Defendants misleadingly market their “Whole Grain” and “Protein Plus” varieties of pasta by packaging them in boxes that are the same size as “regular” pasta, although the boxes have significant non-functional slack-fill.  Complaint.

Envtl. Research Ctr., Inc. v. Omega Protein Corp. et al, No. RG16-825174 (Cal. Super. Ct. – Alameda Cnty.): Proposition 65 action alleging Defendant’s dietary supplement products contain lead.

Envtl. Research Ctr., Inc. v. Grenade (U.K.) Ltd., No. RG16-825048 (Cal. Super. Ct. – Alameda Cnty.): Proposition 65 action alleging Defendant’s dietary supplement products contain lead.

Haack v. Drew’s LLC, No. 7:16-cv-60222 (S.D.N.Y.): Putative class action asserting violations of multiple states’ consumer protection laws on behalf of a national class, New York’s consumer protection statutes on behalf of a New York subclass, and raising claims for breach of express warranty, fraud (under Vermont common law), and common law unjust enrichment. Plaintiff claims Defendant’s salad dressings and marinades are deceptively marketed as “All Natural,” although the products contain synthetic ingredients, including xanthan gum, lactic acid, and citric acid.  Complaint.

Final Approval of Settlement in Tortilla Trans Fat Suit

Guttmann v. Ole Mexican Foods, Inc., No. 3:14-cv-4845 (N.D. Cal.): The Court granted final approval of class settlement in this putative class action alleging a breach of express warranty claim and violations of California’s CLRA, UCL, and FAL, based on Defendant’s failure to disclose that its “Xtreme Wellness” line of tortillas contain partially-hydrogenated oil, an artificial trans-fat food additive. The terms of the settlement are as follows: (1) Defendant will immediately refrain from using any partially-hydrogenated oils in its products for ten years; (2) Defendant will pay the class representative a $1,800 incentive award; and (3) Defendant will pay $85,000 in attorneys’ fees and $2,162.85 in costs.  Order.

Class Certification Granted in Olive Oil Suit

Kumar v. Salov North America Corp., No. 4:14-cv-2411 (N.D. Cal.):  The Court granted Plaintiff’s motion for class certification in this action alleging Defendant uses inferior bottles for its extra virgin olive oil and falsely markets its oil as “Imported from Italy” when the olives are not grown or pressed in Italy.  Continue Reading

Partial Dismissal of Tuna Suit

Soto v. Safeway Inc., No. 3:15-cv-05078 (N.D. Cal.): In this putative class action alleging Defendant’s five-ounce canned tuna products are under-filled and substantially underweight, the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendant’s motion to dismiss claims for breach of warranty, unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and violations of California’s consumer protection statutes.  Continue Reading

Court Enters Stipulated Consent Judgment in Proposition 65 Action Over Lead in Dietary Supplements

Envtl. Research Ctr., Inc. v. Chosen Foods Inc., et al, No. RG16-798895 (Cal. Sup. Ct. – Alameda Cnty.):  The Court entered the parties’ stipulated consent judgment in this Proposition 65 action alleging the Defendants do not warn that their nutritional health products contain lead. Continue Reading

Federal Judge in California Denies Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in Consumer Class Action Over Weight Prevention Claims

Bailey et al v. Kind, LLC, No. 8:16-cv-168 (C.D. Cal.):  The Court denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss this putative class action asserting violations of California and New York’s consumer protection statutes, as well as claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and breach of the express and implied warranty of merchantability.  Plaintiffs allege Defendant falsely represented that eating two Kind bars a day helps prevent weight gain.” Continue Reading

Court Grants Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in “All Natural” Action Involving Barbecue Sauce

Demmler v. ACH Food Cos., No. 1:15-cv-13556 (D. Mass.):  The Court issued an order closing this case after granting Defendant’s motion to dismiss this putative class action asserting a violation of Massachusetts’ consumer protection statute and raising a claim for unjust enrichment.  Plaintiff alleges Defendant’s Weber BBQ Sauce products are misrepresented as being “All Natural” when in fact they contain caramel color.  Continue Reading

BREAKING: House passes GMO labeling bill

A bill to create federal labeling standards for food products containing genetically modified organisms was passed by the House of Representatives yesterday, by a vote of 306 to 117. The bill, which was approved by the Senate last week, is now on its way to the President, who is expected to the sign the bill into law.

The bill requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create a mandatory national labeling standard for food products that contain genetically modified ingredients, and would preempt states from enacting their own labeling standards for such products. If signed into law, the bill would strike down a recently enacted GMO labeling law in Vermont, which went into effect on July 1, 2016 and imposed more stringent labeling regulations than the federal bill. In its current form, the new federal law would allow food producers to choose from a range of methods to disclose the presence of genetically modified ingredients, including the use of text, a USDA-created symbol, or a digital QR code that consumers can scan using a smartphone.

The full language of the statute is available here.

New Filings For July 13, 2016

Cumming v. Betterbody Foods & Nutrition LLC, No. 37-2016-19510-CU-BT-CTL (Cal. Super. Ct. – San Diego Cnty.):  Putative class action alleging violations of California’s UCL, CLRA, and FAL, and raising claims for breach of warranty (express and implied merchantability).  Plaintiff contends Defendant misleadingly labels and markets its coconut oil product as “inherently healthy, and a healthy alternative to butter and other oils,” when in fact it is inherently unhealthy and a less healthy alternative.  Complaint. Continue Reading