Proskauer on Advertising Law
Proskauer on Advertising Law

Tag Archives: Food and Beverages

Suit Over Use of American Heart Association Certification Mark Maintains a Pulse

Is it deceptive to label food products with the mark of the American Heart Association (“AHA”) without disclosing that the AHA was paid for use of its certification mark? This was the question raised by a putative class action lawsuit in the Northern District of New York, which largely survived dismissal on March 25, 2019. … Continue Reading

Justin Timberlake Waves Bai Bai Bai to Partially Dismissed “No Artificial Flavors” Beverage Mislabeling Suit

Last month, a judge in the Southern District of California partially dismissed a putative class action against beverage company Bai Brands, LLC (“Bai”) and related defendants. Branca v. Bai Brands, LLC, No. 18-00757 (S.D. Cal. 2019). Plaintiff Kevin Branca filed this lawsuit against Bai, its parent company Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (“DPSG”), the CEOs of … Continue Reading

California Court Sours on Starbucks Gummies Lawsuit

Several months ago we covered two Second Circuit decisions that addressed false advertising claims related to ingredients and product labeling of foods, which reached differing results. Applying similar principles, a recent decision from the Southern District of California found that Starbucks’ packaging for its sour gummy candies did not reasonably suggest that the candies were … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Denies Review of Class Certification in Beer Labeling Brouhaha

In a 2-1 decision memorialized in a one-page order, a Ninth Circuit panel recently denied Kona Brewing’s request for leave to appeal a grant of class certification to a consumer class claiming that the company’s branding deceptively communicated the false message that Kona beer is brewed in Hawaii. Broomfield v. Craft Brew Alliance, No. 18-80145 … Continue Reading

Snack Bar Class Action Powers On After USDA Action and FDA Inaction

Unlike a fine wine, a snack bar does not get better with age. Neither, apparently, does litigation. Last month, Judge William H. Pauley III in the Southern District of New York lifted a years-long stay in a lawsuit against KIND LLC concerning the allegedly false marketing of KIND snack products as “all-natural” and “non-GMO.” In … Continue Reading

Nestlé’s Non-Disclosure of Child and Slave Labor Issues on Packaging Not Deceptive or Unfair, Massachusetts Federal Court Holds

Though child and slave labor is “widespread, reprehensible, and tragic,” a federal court in the District of Massachusetts found it was not deceptive for Nestlé to omit from product labels that those practices (allegedly) exist in its supply chain. In granting defendant Nestlé’s motion to dismiss, the court, after assuming that plaintiff’s allegations are true, … Continue Reading

SDNY Judge Not Sweet on Dannon’s Bid for a Preliminary Injunction

In a battle of leading yogurt beverage makers, Chief Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently denied Dannon’s application for a preliminary injunction in its false advertising suit against Chobani. The result of Judge McMahon’s decision is that Chobani can continue to sell its yogurt drinks … Continue Reading

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

San Francisco City Ordinance Takes a Hard Hit in Ninth Circuit Soft Drink Lawsuit

Can an en banc decision of a federal appellate court be controversial even when every single active judge of that court agrees with the outcome? The answer is emphatically yes, as confirmed by the Ninth Circuit’s January 31, 2019 en banc decision in American Beverage Ass’n et al. v. City & County of San Francisco, … 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

District Court Filters Out Preempted “Spring Water” False Advertising Claim

Earlier this year, we covered a decision from the District of Connecticut finding state law false advertising claims against the bottled water company Poland Spring preempted by the FDCA. Flowing from that decision is the case we are covering today: Frompovicz v. Niagara Bottling, LLC, 2018 WL 4465879 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 18, 2018).… Continue Reading

EDNY Sticks a Fork in Angus Steak Sandwich Class Action Complaint

A federal court in the Eastern District of New York recently dismissed a putative class action filed against Dunkin’ Brands alleging deceptive advertising with respect to its Angus Steak & Egg Breakfast Sandwich and Angus Steak & Egg Wake-Up Wrap. Judge Carolyn Amon dismissed the claims by out-of-state plaintiffs on jurisdictional grounds, and found the … 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

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 Meat on the Bones: Proposed Vegetarian Class Action against Buffalo Wild Wings Failed to Plead Actual Injury

Recently, a federal district court judge in the Southern District of New York dismissed claims asserted under New York General Business Law § 349 on behalf of a putative class of vegetarian customers of Buffalo Wild Wings. The court’s decision found that although the plaintiff had standing to bring her claims, her allegations did not … 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

Justice (and Lunch) is Served: Second Circuit Holds that Food Truck Branded with Ethnic Slurs is Entitled to First Amendment Protection

In a recently issued decision, the Second Circuit held that a food truck could not be excluded from a New York State lunch program solely because the truck and the food it sells was branded using ethnic slurs.  Wandering Dago, Inc. v. Destito et al.  This case is an early example of how the Supreme … 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

Sugar Rush: FDA Rejects Use of “Evaporated Cane Juice” to Describe Sweeteners

For years, food companies have been using the term “evaporated cane juice” in the ingredients list on food products. This has resulted in a number of lawsuits by consumers claiming that the term misled them into thinking those products did not contain sugar, including this failed putative class action against KIND.  In May 2016, the … Continue Reading

FDA New-trition Rules

Last month, the FDA finalized amendments to the Nutrition Facts labeling rules for packaged foods and dietary supplements to reflect developments in nutrition science, including new scientific information regarding the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. Here are the highlights:… Continue Reading

“KIND” of Nutritious—FDA Permits “Healthy” Label and Agrees to Rethink Its Definition of “Healthy” Foods

The Food and Drug Administration has kindly permitted Kind LLC to use the term “healthy” on its snack bars again, but with the caveat that the term must only be used in text clearly presented as part of Kind’s corporate philosophy, and not as a claim about the products’ nutrient content.… Continue Reading

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
LexBlog