Proskauer on Advertising Law
Proskauer on Advertising Law

Category Archives: Labeling Claims

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Snack Time: Court Finds Prominent Pictures of Produce on Fruit Snacks Not Deceptive

Last month, the Northern District of California held that prominent photographs of fruits and vegetables on Plum Organics’ food packaging were not enough to mislead a reasonable consumer into believing that the pictured produce were the product’s predominant ingredients. A picture on food packaging may speak a thousand words but, according to the court, reasonable … Continue Reading

Staying Natural: Hain Label Dispute Must Wait for Ninth Circuit Decisions

A district judge in the Northern District of California pressed pause on a mislabeling suit involving “natural” claims pending the outcome of two Ninth Circuit appeals. Astiana v. The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., et al., No. 11-cv-06342 (PJH) (N.D. Cal.) is a putative class action in which the consumer plaintiffs alleged that Hain misleadingly labeled … Continue Reading

Ruling Allows Gerber False Advertising Suit to Crawl Onward

For plaintiffs concerned that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals’ June 19, 2015 decision in Brown v. GNC Corp. signaled the muscling in of a stricter new pleading standard for false advertising class actions nationwide, a recent ruling out of the Central District of California likely acted as a pacifier. On July 14, 2015, U.S. … Continue Reading

Makers’ Mark Two: Bourbon Distiller Slips another “Handmade” False Advertising Suit

In another blow to the class action plaintiff’s bar, a court in the Southern District of California has dismissed a false advertising class action against Maker’s Mark for describing its product as “handmade.” We recently covered a similar case involving the same bourbon and “handmade” claim in the Northern District of Florida, which was also … Continue Reading

Sun-Blocked: California Court Dismisses Sunscreen Labeling Case

It’s summertime, and for many of us that means buying and applying sunscreen. Lots of it. Indeed, when selecting sunscreen rated at, say, SPF 30, we rely on national standards promulgated by the FDA. It thus comes as no surprise that a California state appellate court recently rejected attempts by several plaintiffs to impose different … Continue Reading

Beer-Maker Puts an End to Brewhaha: Anheuser Busch Agrees to Settle Second of Two Class Action Lawsuits over Beer Origin Disclaimers

Anheuser Busch recently agreed to settle a consumer class action over Beck’s Beer labeling that we previously reported on with regard to the uptick in consumer class actions proceeding past the pleading stage in the Southern District of Florida. Marty et al. v. Anheuser-Busch Cos., 13-cv-23656-JJO (S.D. Fla.). Anheuser-Busch’s decision to settle the Beck’s suit … Continue Reading

Procter & Gamble Must Say Goodbye to Proposed Amended Claim against Hello, while Hello Says Goodbye to Lawsuit

A lawsuit between Procter & Gamble (“P&G”) and Hello Products (“Hello”) – a toothpaste start up that promotes its products as “naturally friendly” – settled last week with the entry of a stipulated injunction, but Hello might still have reason to smile. Days before the settlement, the Southern District of New York rejected P&G’s motion … Continue Reading

Catch of the Day: Tuna Fish Brand StarKist Swims into a Sea of Trouble After Agreeing to Settle Claims Against It

StarKist Co. recently agreed in principle to a $12 million settlement with a putative class of plaintiffs concerning alleged under-filling of tuna fish cans. But agreeing on the dollar figure seems to have been the easy part; the parties in this bitterly-fought case have become embroiled in motion practice about the allocation of that $12 … Continue Reading

Tailoring the Suit: Plaintiffs File Amended Complaint in Nordstrom Rack Price-Tag False Advertising Lawsuit

Nordstrom Rack has recently found itself at the center of an unwelcome suit over its labeling practices. Nordstrom Rack discloses the savings it offers customers by placing “compare at” labels on its price tags which show two prices: the “compare at” price and a lower, actual sale price. A recent class action filed in the … Continue Reading

Maker’s Marketing: Bourbon Distiller Racks up “Handmade” False Advertising Victory

In a decision that will interest distillers and hipster connoisseurs of artisanal beverages alike, a district court in the Northern District of Florida has decided that Maker’s Mark can describe its whiskey as “handmade” despite the fact that it is produced in industrial quantities to serve the national market. Accordingly, the court refused to allow … Continue Reading

A Court in the Sunshine State Blocks Injunctive Relief against Neutrogena Sunscreen Claims; Meanwhile P&G Cannot Flush Charmin Claims for the Same Relief in New York

Assume the following: plaintiff brings a putative class action under state consumer protection laws alleging that he bought a product based on false claims on its packaging. He seeks monetary and injunctive relief. However, plaintiff vows never to buy the product displaying the allegedly false advertising again or cannot purchase the product so-labeled because the … Continue Reading

Tomorrow is Another One-A-Day: FDA Guidelines Preempt Vitamin Claims, but Consumer Class Still Has Opportunity to Supplement

Although consumer class actions in California are dime-a-dozen, a recent Northern District of California case involving One A Day vitamins stands out because it demonstrates how federal regulations can preempt certain state law claims regarding the health benefits of dietary supplements. The putative class alleged that three statements made by Bayer on their One A … Continue Reading

Tripping the Light Cran-tastic: Ocean Spray Washes Away Attempted Class Certification

Class certification in false advertising cases often fails due to problems with the class itself such as ascertainability. But what happens when a class action plaintiff admits she didn’t rely upon the purportedly deceptive claims in making her purchasing decision? A recent decision in California’s “food court” may provide an answer. In Major v. Ocean … Continue Reading

Court’s Maine Message to Plaintiff Suing Poland Spring: You Don’t Have a Leg to Stand on

The District Court of Maine recently provided a reminder that – even in the post-Lexmark world of Lanham Act false advertising standing – Article III standing requirements can still impose a meaningful barrier on plaintiffs. On March 18, 2015, District of Maine Judge George Z. Singal dismissed Maine Springs, LLC’s complaint against Nestle Waters North … Continue Reading

No Longer at Lager-Heads: Anheuser-Busch Settles Claim over Kirin Beer’s Origin

Early this year, Anheuser-Busch settled a class suit filed against it by two Miami residents who alleged that the company was deceptively advertising Kirin beer as imported from Japan, when in fact it is brewed in the United States using domestic ingredients. The plaintiffs, Lady J. Suarez and Gustavo E. Oliva, claimed they had each … Continue Reading

Made in the USA?: Suit Against Nordstorm Alleging Misleading Jeans Labels May Proceed

How much of a product has to be “Made in the USA” for a company to label it as such, and who gets to decide? Those questions are raised by an ongoing class action lawsuit before a federal court in the Southern District of California. In Paz v. AG Adriano Goldschmied, Inc., plaintiffs allege that Nordstrom … Continue Reading

(Baby)Food for Thought: In Alleging Unlawful and Misleading Product Labeling, Plaintiff Needed More Than One Gerber Baby

Last month, Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California granted summary judgment in favor of Gerber because the plaintiff failed to satisfy the “reasonable consumer standard” in backing up her allegations that Gerber baby food labeling was misleading in violation of California state law. The case illustrates an important threshold to the reasonable … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Irons Out “Powerful” Performance False Advertising Dispute

The Third Circuit has rendered a notable decision with important implications for the use of fine print in advertising. The Court held that small print statements that explicitly define the terms of a more prominent superior performance claim can render that performance claim unambiguous – and thus subject to a literal falsity claim – even if … Continue Reading

Consumer Class Actions Brewing in Florida as Federal Courts Deny a Series of Motions to Dismiss

While California historically has a reputation as the most plaintiff-friendly forum for alleged consumer class action deceptive advertising cases, Florida is emerging as stiff competition for the title after a recent trio of orders denying motions to dismiss consumer fraud actions emerged out of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. … Continue Reading

Wasted Away in Margaritaville: With Unascertainable Class, District Court Denies Class Certification in Skinnygirl Margarita Case

Alleging violations of Illinois statutory and common law, Amy Langendorf brought suit on behalf of “Any and all persons who purchased ‘Skinnygirl’ Margarita spirits in Illinois from March 1, 2009 until the date notice is disseminated” against Skinnygirl Cocktails, LLC, Bethenny Frankel, SGC Global, LLC, and Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. According to Langendorf, … Continue Reading

Lawful Waffle: California Courts Dismiss “Natural” Food False Ad Claims

Two California courts have recently dismissed false advertising claims concerning the marketing of food products as “natural,”  marking a departure from the trend in consumer class actions in that state.  In Richards et al. v. Safeway, Inc., 13-cv-04317, the plaintiff alleged that Safeway falsely labeled its Open Nature 100% Natural Multi-Grain Waffles and Open Nature … Continue Reading

California Court Has a Bone to Pick with Male Enhancement Pill Maker

We try to avoid puns in this blog but sometimes, well, we just can’t help it. The makers of “Rockhard Weekend,” a male sex enhancement pill, have successfully sidestepped a claim that they violated federal drug labeling laws but will have to continue to defend against claims that the product’s labelling misleads consumers into believing … Continue Reading

What KIND of Juice Did They Say It Was?

On July 14, 2014, Northern District of Illinois Judge Sara L. Ellis dealt a blow to putative class action members protesting the use of “evaporated cane juice” to describe sugar in product ingredients lists.  Plaintiff alleged that she was deceived by the label on KIND’s Vanilla Blueberry Clusters, which contained the claim “no refined sugars” … Continue Reading

What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive: Second Circuit Holds that “Deliberate Deception” Creates Legal Presumption of Consumer Confusion and Injury in a Two-Player Market

On July 29, the Second Circuit clarified its view that, in a two-player market, willfully deceptive advertising – even non-comparative advertising – creates a legal presumption of consumer confusion and injury, applicable to determination of both liability and damages. This emphatic opinion makes plain the peril that follows a finding that defendant willfully engaged in … Continue Reading
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