Our notable ruling roundup aims to keep our readers up to date on recent rulings in the food & consumer packaged goods space.

Selina Valencia v. Snapple Beverage Corp., No. 23-cv-1399 (CS) (S.D.N.Y. – March 18, 2024): The Southern District of New York dismissed a challenge to multiple varieties of beverage products bearing an “All Natural” claim. Plaintiff alleged that the “All Natural” representation was false or misleading because the beverage products also contained vegetable and fruit juice concentrates for color as well as citric acid. The court dismissed, reasoning that plaintiff had not plausibly alleged that a significant portion of reasonable consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances would find the “All Natural” label misleading in this context where the added color is from natural sources. The court further concluded that even if plaintiff’s theory could be credited, that would merely show that the challenged representation was ambiguous, and a reasonable consumer would resolve the ambiguity by reading the ingredient list on the back of the package. Regarding citric acid, the court rejected plaintiff’s argument about citric acid via a fermentation process as somehow being “synthetic,” concluding that “[a] reasonable consumer would not think that a compound found in nature is artificial even if it is produced in a different way than nature produces it, if the way it is produced is that it is derived from a natural product and does not contain anything synthetic.” Because the deficiencies in the pleading would not be cured by amendment, the court granted dismissal with prejudice. Note: Perkins Coie LLP represented Snapple Beverage Corp. Opinion available here.

Deborah Brown, et al. v. Coty Inc., No. 1:22-cv-02696-AT (S.D.N.Y. – March 1, 2024): The Southern District of New York dismissed a putative class action alleging that defendant’s cosmetics products contain synthetic chemicals (PFAS), which can have adverse health effects. Plaintiffs asserted claims under consumer protection laws in seven states, as well as a claim for unjust enrichment under New York law. The court found that plaintiffs failed to allege that they each suffered an injury in fact and granted defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing. The dismissal is without prejudice, and plaintiffs may move for leave to file an amended complaint. Opinion available here.

If you are a food or CPG company contact interested in receiving our daily email update on filings and notable rulings, please reach out to Kellie Hale with your request to be added: khale@perkinscoie.com.

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Photo of David T. Biderman David T. Biderman

David Biderman, a partner in Perkins Coie’s San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, focuses his practice on mass tort litigation and consumer class actions. He heads the firm’s Mass Tort and Consumer Litigation group. He has represented a wide variety of companies in…

David Biderman, a partner in Perkins Coie’s San Francisco and Los Angeles offices, focuses his practice on mass tort litigation and consumer class actions. He heads the firm’s Mass Tort and Consumer Litigation group. He has represented a wide variety of companies in state and federal courts in California for 30 years.

On consumer class actions, David represents packaged food companies, coffee companies, dairy companies, footwear companies and others whose nutritional or health claims have been challenged. He also has represented search engines and other online companies. He has a record of favorable results for clients. He successfully tried a major consumer fraud class action on behalf of one of the world’s major search engines in a case involving online gambling advertisements. For that same client, he negotiated a favorable settlement of a class action challenging its online advertising pricing. He represented a major coffee retailer in defeating a class action on standing grounds. He also has litigated pre-emption defenses arising out of food labeling and obtained a dismissal for a client whose nutritional statements were challenged.

For fifteen years, David managed the firm’s full-service product liability team responsible for defending over 1,000 toxic tort cases pending in Los Angeles and Northern California state courts. These cases entailed ongoing trial activity at various levels for several trials set each month. The highly experienced and well-coordinated team has handled thousands of asbestos toxic tort cases for a variety of clients, including FORTUNE 500 companies from such industries as consumer products, aerospace manufacturing, household goods, dry cleaning and industries that generate electromagnetic fields, such as electric utilities and operators of wireless communications systems.

Photo of Tommy Tobin Tommy Tobin

Thomas Tobin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and class action matters involving statutory, constitutional, and regulatory issues in a range of industries, including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and cannabis. In the food and beverage sector, Tommy has experience defending false…

Thomas Tobin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and class action matters involving statutory, constitutional, and regulatory issues in a range of industries, including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and cannabis. In the food and beverage sector, Tommy has experience defending false advertising claims and consumer protection claims for well-known international corporations.