Proskauer on Advertising Law
Proskauer on Advertising Law

Category Archives: Labeling Claims

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State of Nature: District Courts Diverge in Treatment of “Natural” False Advertising Claims

Two recent contrasting decisions in class action false advertising cases alleging misleading uses of the term “natural” for food products underscore the difficulty in predicting the likelihood of achieving an early stage dismissal in these cases. Late last year, Judge Richard Seeborg in the Northern District of California denied Williams-Sonoma’s motion to dismiss an alleged … Continue Reading

Kimberly-Clark Unable to Flush Wet Wipes Case

On December 10, 2018, the Supreme Court denied certiorari in Kimberly-Clark Corp, v. Davidson, No. 18-304 (2018), in which Kimberly-Clark sought to overturn a controversial Ninth Circuit decision allowing a plaintiff in a false advertising case to seek injunctive relief on behalf of an alleged consumer class notwithstanding that plaintiff’s complaint acknowledged she was aware … Continue Reading

Failure to Disclose Claims Washed Away in Facial Scrub Case

On December 17, 2018, Judge Andrew J. Guilford in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted defendant Unilever’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims in a putative class action concerning St. Ives Apricot Scrub. Browning v. Unilever United States, Inc., 2018 WL 6615064 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 17, 2018). Plaintiffs alleged … Continue Reading

No Use Crying Over Spilled (Almond) Milk: Ninth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Almond Milk Labeling Suit

On December 20, 2018, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal without leave to amend of a putative class action complaint against Blue Diamond Growers, which alleged that the term “almond milk” on Blue Diamond’s beverages was misleading. Painter v. Blue Diamond Growers, — Fed.Appx. —, 2018 WL 6720560 (9th Cir. Dec. 20, 2018). The named … Continue Reading

Cheez-Its Class Action Revived in “Whole” by Second Circuit

We recently blogged about the Second Circuit’s December 3, 2018 decision in Jessani v. Monini, where, applying the reasonable consumer standard, the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the dismissal with prejudice of a complaint alleging that the label of an extra virgin olive oil product advertised as “truffle flavored” falsely implied that the product contained … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Works Out Preclusion and Preemption Issues in Protein Powder Dispute

On December 4, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit partially reversed the dismissal of Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals’ suit against HBS International Corp. for alleged violations of the Lanham Act and Georgia’s Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. HBS International Corp., No. 17-13884 (11th Cir. 2018). Hi-Tech alleged that the label of HBS’s protein-powder supplement – … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Puts Restitution Claims to Rest in Discount Advertising Case

The Ninth Circuit recently addressed once again the common practice in outlet stores and other retail establishments of juxtaposing the price at which a fashion item is offered for sale with a higher price advertised as a former price, or as the supposed market value, of that item.  Chowning v. Kohl’s Dep’t Stores, 2018 WL … Continue Reading

Federal “Spring Water” Standards Runneth Over State Claims

We often cover cases in which false advertising claims brought under state law are challenged as preempted by a federal regulatory scheme.  Poland Spring was a recent target of state law false advertising claims, and successfully obtained the dismissal of those claims on the ground that they were preempted by federal statute.  Patane v. Nestle … Continue Reading

Diet Soda Lawsuit Fizzles Out

Recently, a plaintiff’s purported class action against Diet Dr. Pepper went flat when a California federal judge held that the term “Diet” alone on a soft drink label does not constitute a claim that the soft drink will assist in weight loss. In Becerra v. Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., Plaintiff Shana Becerra brought a putative … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Finds Grounds to Dismiss Iced Coffee False Advertising Suit

Recently, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a putative class action claiming that Starbucks deceived its customers by under-filling the liquids in its iced drinks and adding ice to make the cups appear full. Forouzesh v. Starbucks Corp. The Ninth Circuit held that “no reasonable consumer would think (for example) that a 12-ounce … Continue Reading

No More Baby Talk: Class Certification Denied in Gerber False Advertising Suit

The Northern District of California recently denied class certification to a plaintiff who alleged that Gerber Products misbranded nutritional claims about baby food products in violation of state and federal labeling laws.  Bruton v. Gerber Products Co. et al.  The plaintiff had previously moved to certify a damages and an injunctive relief class in 2014.  However, … Continue Reading

Class Certification Denied in Juice Dispute

Recently, a New Jersey federal district court judge refused to certify a class of consumers claiming an orange juice product was mislabeled as “pasteurized.”  In re: Tropicana Orange Juice Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation. According to plaintiffs, Tropicana’s “Pure Premium” orange juice contained added natural flavoring in violation of FDA pasteurization standards.  The court denied the … Continue Reading

New York Federal Court Latest to Dismiss Outlet Pricing Class Action

Last month, Judge Valerie Caproni of the Southern District of New York dismissed with prejudice a putative deceptive pricing class action filed against Burberry.  This is the first decision within the Second Circuit to determine whether shoppers claiming to have been victimized by discount price advertising in outlet stores have suffered actual injury for purposes … Continue Reading

When the Strength of the Facts Cannot be Lifted – SDNY Dismisses Muscle Maker Slack-Fill Class Action

The Southern District of New York recently dismissed a putative class action against Cytosport, the maker of Muscle Milk protein powder. The plaintiff, Orlando Bautista, alleged that he bought a container of Muscle Milk protein powder for $28 but was “surprised and disappointed” to discover that the package contained roughly 30% empty space. The suit … Continue Reading

IntenseX False Advertising Claims Lack Power and Performance

Last month, in Kanfer v. Pharmacare US, Inc., U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff of the Southern District of California dismissed on what were essentially puffery grounds a consumer suit styled as a class action alleging that defendant PharmaCare falsely advertised its nutritional supplement, IntenseX, as an aphrodisiac that “would improve. . .sexual power and performance.” … Continue Reading

Standing to Assert Injunctive Relief is Not in the Tea Leaves, Court Says

In Lanovaz v. Twinings North America, Inc., Judge Whyte of the Northern District of California recently decided that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue injunctive relief, and granted summary judgment for defendant Twinings.  The class action alleged that Twinings tea products were misbranded under California law as “natural source[s] of antioxidants.”… Continue Reading

Accurate Net Weight Disclosures May Defeat Slack-Fill Claims in California

Last April, we reported on Ebner v. Fresh, Inc., in which a Ninth Circuit panel held that the plaintiff failed to state a claim that Sugar lip balm packaging was misleading because it contained non-functional “slack-fill.” Last month, the Ninth Circuit rejected plaintiff’s petition for rehearing en banc but also amended its earlier opinion. Though … Continue Reading

De-certifiably Natural – Ninth Circuit Finds “All Natural” Label May be Misleading While Upholding Class Decertification

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed in part and affirmed in part a Northern District of California ruling (discussed previously, here) concerning the “All Natural Fruit” labeling on Dole’s packaged fruit products. Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, No. 14-17480, 2016 WL 5539863 (9th Cir. Sept. 30, 2016). The appeals court reversed the lower court’s … Continue Reading

Not Sweet Enough: Ninth Circuit Tosses Claims Over Fresh Sugar Lip Balm Labeling and Packaging

Plaintiff Angela Ebner filed a putative class action against Fresh, Inc. alleging that the label, design and packaging of its Sugar lip balms deceived consumers about the amount of available product. In a published panel decision, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety. Sugar lip balm, which … Continue Reading

California District Court Unplugs Duracell False Advertising Suit

Recently, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California dismissed a putative class action claiming that Procter & Gamble and Gillette deceptively advertised Duracell Coppertop AA and AAA batteries. Defendants advertised the batteries as having “Duralock Power Preserve Technology,” which, according to the challenged advertising, made them “GUARANTEED for 10 YEARS in storage.”  … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Holds Organic Labeling Suit a Natural Fit in State Court

In December, the California Supreme Court held that a challenge to a farm’s labeling of its herbs as “organic” under state false advertising laws is not preempted by the federal Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (“Organic Foods Act”). Although the Defendant, Herb Thyme Farms, Inc., typically used conventional herb-growing methods, one of its farms … Continue Reading
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