Category: Natural

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California Northern District Judges Split on Sufficiency of Damages Evidence at Class Certification – Will Ninth Circuit Weigh In?

Judges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California are split on the sufficiency of damages evidence at the class certification stage. Jones v. ConAgra Foods, Inc,  No. C 12-01633 CRB, 2014 WL 2702726 (N.D. Cal. Jun. 13, 2014) is the most recent decision.  In Jones, Judge Charles R. Breyer rejected each of … Continue Reading

Court Denies Class Certification in “All Natural” Case

Jones v. Conagra Foods, Inc., No. 3:12-cv-1633 (N.D. Cal.): In a putative class action raising claims under California’s UCL, FAL, CLRA, and unjust enrichment, plaintiff alleged that 1) defendant’s Hunt’s tomato products are misrepresented as “100% Natural” or “Free of artificial ingredients & preservatives” when in fact they contain citric acid and/or calcium chloride; 2) … Continue Reading

100% Natural Tea Case Survives Dismissal

Von Slomski v. The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., No. 8:13cv01757 (C.D. Cal.): The court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging claims under California’s UCL, FAL, and CLRA, as well as breach of express warranty, based on defendant’s representation that its teas are “100% Natural” when in fact they allegedly contain chemical … Continue Reading

Court Gives Initial OK to Kashi “All Natural” Settlement

Astiana v. Kashi Co., No. 3:11-cv-01967 (S.D. Cal.):  Pending a final fairness hearing, a federal court in California granted preliminary approval to a class settlement of claims that Kashi misled consumers by falsely labeling several of its products that contained synthetic ingredients as “All Natural” or “Nothing Artificial.”  Under the settlement, Kashi agrees to establish … Continue Reading

Most Claims in Whole Foods “All Natural” Labeling Suit Survive Dismissal

Garrison v. Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., No. 3:13-cv-05222 (N.D. Cal.):  Most of plaintiffs’ California statutory and common law claims survived Whole Foods’ motion to dismiss a proposed class action alleging it falsely labels baked goods that contain synthetic ingredients as “all natural.”  Rejecting defendant’s preemption argument, the court held that the federal Food, Drug, … Continue Reading

Smuckers Denied Dismissal of “All Natural” Labeling Suit Over Crisco Oil

Ault v. J.M. Smucker Co., No. 03-cv-03409 (S.D.N.Y.):  A federal court in New York rejected Smucker’s motion to dismiss a putative class action that claims falsely marketing its Crisco cooking oils as “all natural” when the products are highly processed and made using genetically modified organisms (“GMOs”).  Defendant first argued that plaintiff’s state law claims … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Claims Regarding Products Plaintiff Did Not Buy

Smedt v. The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., No. 5:12-cv-03029 (N.D. Cal.):  On behalf of a putative nationwide class action, the plaintiff claimed defendant’s use of the phrases “evaporated cane juice,” “no trans fat,” and “all natural” on the labels of three products she bought and 11 she did not violated California consumer protection and false … Continue Reading

Class Certified in “All Natural” Labeling Suit Against Dole

Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods LLC, No. 5:12-cv-01831 (N.D. Cal.):  Judge Koh granted in part and denied in part plaintiff’s motion for class certification in a case alleging that Dole misrepresents its various fruit and berry products as “all natural” when they contain synthetic ingredients.  Largely tracking her class certification analysis in Werdebaugh v. Blue … Continue Reading

Court Certifies California Class in Almond Milk Labeling Case, But Not National Class

Werdebaugh v. Blue Diamond Growers, No. 5:12-cv-02724 (N.D. Cal.):  Judge Koh of the Northern District of California granted in part and denied in part plaintiff’s motion for class certification in a case alleging that Blue Diamond falsely labels its almond milk products as containing “evaporated cane juice” instead of sugar and as being “all natural” … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses—For Now—“All Natural” Labeling Suit Against Diamond Foods

Surzyn v. Diamond Foods, Inc., No. 4:14-cv-00136 (N.D. Cal.):  A California federal judge dismissed without prejudice a proposed class action alleging the Diamond Foods deceptively labels its Kettle Brand TIAS! tortilla chips made with synthetic ingredients as “all natural.”  Plaintiff brought claims for negligent misrepresentation and for violations of California unfair competition and false advertising … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs in Two All-Natural Food Lawsuits Voluntarily Dismiss Claims

In both Astiana v. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc., No 4:11cv04937 (N.D. Cal.), and Thurston v. Conopco Inc., No. 4:10cv04937 (N.D. Cal.), plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed with prejudice their claims in putative class actions alleging claims under California’s UCL, FAL, and unjust enrichment based on allegations that defendants’ products were misleadingly labeled “all natural.” Astiana. Thurston.… Continue Reading

Parties Ask Court to Approve Settlement of Kashi “All Natural” Class Action

Bates v. Kashi Co., No. 3:11cv01967 (S.D. Cal.): Parties moved for preliminary approval of a settlement in a putative class action regarding the labeling of certain Kashi products as “All Natural” and “Nothing Artificial.” The proposed settlement would require Kashi to remove the “All Natural” and “Nothing Artificial” terms from products containing specific alleged “synthetic” … Continue Reading

PopChips “Natural” Class Action Preliminarily Approved for Settlement

PopChips recently obtained preliminary approval for settlement agreeing to create a fund of $2.4M to allow class members who purchased PopChips products to receive up to $20 per person in refunds.  Plaintiffs alleged that PopChips’ use of the terms “all natural” “healthy” and “healthier” were misleading because the products were, according to plaintiffs, “highly processed, … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Chobani “Natural” Lawsuit With Prejudice

Kane v. Chobani, No. 5:12cv2425 (N.D. Cal.):  The court dismissed the third amended complaint in this putative class action with prejudice.  Plaintiffs alleged claims under California consumer protection laws and the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law, claiming that various of defendant’s products, including Chobani Greek Yogurt and Chobani Greek Yogurt Champions were misbranded as … Continue Reading

Certification Denied on Ascertainability Grounds in ZonePerfect “Natural” Class Action

Sethavanish v. ZonePerfect Nutrition Co., 12cv2907 (N.D. Cal.): The court denied class certification in a putative class action based on defendant’s alleged misuse of the phrase “All-Natural Nutrition Bars” on its products, where the products contain allegedly “synthetic” ingredients.  Plaintiff alleged that she purchased the bars for her husband and that she would have purchased … Continue Reading

Preliminary Settlement Approval Granted in Quaker Oats Lawsuit

In re Quaker Oats Labeling Litig., 10cv0502 (N.D. Cal.): The court granted preliminary settlement approval of a Rule 23(b)(2) injunctive relief class in this case, which involves allegations that the inclusion of partially hydrogenated oils (“PHOs”) in Quaker products violated state and federal labeling laws because of “wholesome” claims on some of the products’ labels.  … Continue Reading

FDA Responds to Court Referrals Regarding “Natural” and Bioengineering

Three federal judges previously stayed “natural” cases involving bioengineered ingredients and referred those cases to the FDA for further guidance on the issue.  In a response letter to the judges in those cases, the FDA wrote that private litigation was not the right forum to decide these questions.  Given the competing consumer and industry interests … Continue Reading

Class Certification Denied in Ben & Jerry’s “All Natural” Ice Cream Case

Astiana v. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, No. 10-cv4387 (N.D. Cal.):  The court denied plaintiff’s motion for class certification, finding that plaintiff had failed to establish ascertainability or commonality under Rule 23(a) and predominance under Rule 23(b).  The Astiana case involves ice cream labeled “all natural,” which plaintiff alleged contain “synthetic” alkalized chocolate. In denying class … Continue Reading

Court Preliminarily Approves Trader Joe’s “All-Natural” Settlement

Larsen v. Trader Joe’s Company, No. 3:11-cv-05188-WHO (N.D. Cal.):  A federal judge in California recently granted preliminary approval of a settlement of a lawsuit regarding certain Trader Joe’s products that had been labeled “All Natural.” Among other things, the settlement would establish a $3.375 million settlement fund.  Order.… Continue Reading

Bumble Bee Foods Wins Partial Summary Judgment in Omega-3 False Ad Class Action

In Ogden v. Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, No. 12cv1828 (N.D. Cal.), the court heard a putative class action in which plaintiff alleged that a variety of Bumble Bee products contain false or misleading label statements, including that its products are a “good source” or “excellent source” of Omega-3 fatty acids and “rich in” Vitamin A … Continue Reading

Coffee Suit Grinds to a Halt on Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment

Suchanek v. Sturm Foods, Inc., No. 11cv0569 (S.D. Ill.): Plaintiffs sued under eight states’ consumer protection statutes, alleging that defendants’ Garden Square coffee products falsely represent the products to be freshly ground when they are, in fact, instant. The court had previously denied class certification and here, denied a motion for reconsideration. The court adhered … Continue Reading

Potato Chip Misbranding Claims Half-Baked, Says Court

Wilson v. Frito Lay, No. 12cv1586 (N.D. Cal.): The court granted in part a motion to dismiss plaintiff’s suit over allegedly misbranded and mislabeled products containing claims such as “No MSG,” “All Natural,” and “0 Grams Trans Fat.” The court found that plaintiffs had failed to allege substantial similarity between the products plaintiffs alleged they … Continue Reading

Court Allows “All Natural” Claims to Proceed Against Blue Diamond Chocolate Almond Milk

Werdbaugh v. Blue Diamond Growers, No. 12cv2724 (N.D. Cal.): The court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss a complaint alleging that Blue Diamond’s Chocolate Almond Milk is falsely labeled as “all natural” because it contains preservatives and other synthetic chemicals; lists ECJ as an ingredient rather than “sugar”; and makes unlawful health claims on the corporate … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Complaint Attacking Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils

Simpson v. California Pizza Kitchen, 13cv0164 (S.D. Cal.). Plaintiff alleged that defendants’ frozen pizza products contain trans-fatty acids (TFAs) in the form of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVOs), an ingredient she claims is not safe for consumption at any level. The court granted the motion to dismiss without prejudice. First, the court found that plaintiff … Continue Reading
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