Topic: Recent consumer products case law

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Appellate ruling signals potential sea change in Prop 65 enforcement for reproductive toxins

A recent decision from the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, in Environmental Law Foundation v. Beech-Nut Corporation applied the familiar substantial evidence standard to uphold a trial court judgment in favor of defendants that has enormous implications for Prop 65 enforcement cases. Beech-Nut Trial Court Holding Beech-Nut involved claims that users were exposed … Continue reading

Ninth Circuit says no preemption for Benecol’s “No Trans Fat” label claims

Reversing an order from the Southern District of California, the Ninth Circuit has held that state law false advertising claims based on “No Trans Fat” statements on the butter/margarine substitute Benecol are not preempted by federal law. Robert Reid filed class claims for violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law and False … Continue reading

Plaintiffs’ energy zapped in Redline Xtreme lawsuit

A Florida federal judge refused to certify a nationwide class of purchasers of Redline Extreme Energy Drink stating that the class lacked ascertainability (a topic we have previously addressed on this blog). The plaintiffs claimed in Mirabella v. Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc., S.D. Florida Case No. 0:12-cv-62086, that Vital Pharmaceuticals Inc. concealed the dangerous side effects … Continue reading

California court creates split of authority for class action damages modeling in the same case

Class certification is a do or die moment for class action plaintiffs. Currently, a hotly contested issue at class certification is whether or not a plaintiff can propose a damages model that is common to the putative class. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Comcast v. Behrend that at the class certification stage, … Continue reading

Making online terms and conditions stick

Because the interaction between online retailers and their customers is limited, online retailers have little choice but to present terms and conditions of sale on their websites. These online terms and conditions present concepts important to online retailers, including arbitration and choice of law provisions. The way in which online retailers present these terms and … Continue reading

Ski resorts and outdoor industries may face increasing liability

When a business’s consumers are skiers and snowboarders, knowing the potential liability for negligence is critical. Ski resort operators often encounter claims of unsafe terrain and failure to warn. Equipment manufacturers and sellers often run into product liability and personal injury claims regarding faulty bindings, skis, or other equipment. Outdoor Sports Liability Protections Early personal … Continue reading

UPDATE: California AG appeals foie gras ruling

In the wake of the federal court’s decision enjoining California’s foie gras ban, many restaurant owners rejoiced, making the delicacy immediately available. But restaurant owners may not want to throw out their creative menu techniques just yet. Following the court’s decision, the California Attorney General has filed a notice of appeal. The ball is in … Continue reading

UPDATE: No Appeal In Jeans “Made In USA” Claim

We previously posted about the case Paz v. AG Adriano Goldschmied, in which the Southern District of California denied a motion to dismiss a complaint alleging violations of California’s “Made in the USA” standard. In denying the motion, the court held that California’s stricter standard (i.e., all components of a product, even a screw, must … Continue reading

Class certified in EZ Seed case in New York and California

Early this week, Judge Vincent Briccetti in the Southern District of New York certified classes of consumers in New York and California who purchased the product Scotts Turf Builder EZ Seed. In re Scotts EZ Seed Litigation. The lawsuit alleges violations of the UCL, FAL, CLRA and New York’s General Business Law based on sales … Continue reading

Ninth Circuit finally poised to decide ascertainability split

At long last, the Ninth Circuit has heard the cries of confused class action litigants and will be weighing in on whether self-identification of class members (without the benefit of a receipt or other indicia of purchase) is enough to pass the implicit ascertainability requirement of Rule 23. As we have often commented on this … Continue reading

No plaintiff, no problem: Apple court allows action to proceed after plaintiff disqualified

Last week a N.D. California judge refused to dismiss a long-running class action suit against Apple Inc., despite disqualifying the last remaining named plaintiff. The parties rested Friday in the multi-million dollar antitrust trial accusing Apple of holding a digital-music monopoly, without a lead plaintiff to represent the class. The case began with three plaintiffs … Continue reading

Class claims certified for Hain Celestial Organic Cosmetics

Last week, Magistrate Judge Beeler in the Northern District of California certified a class of purchasers of cosmetics marketed as “organic” by The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. In so doing, Judge Beeler weighed in on several hot spot issues for class certification, including ascertainability, consumer reliance and class-wide damages models. Her determinations seem generally in … Continue reading

One plaintiff not enough to prove advertising likely to deceive reasonable consumers

It seems that lately, all it takes to bring a false advertising class action regarding “all natural” or “no sugar added” representations on product packaging is the say-so of one consumer who claims the representations are misleading (even though they might not be technically “false”). Indeed, at the motion to dismiss stage, courts tend to … Continue reading

Certification of damages class denied in “All Natural Fruit” false labeling suit

Updating our previous post, another federal district court has interpreted Comcast Corp. v. Behrend to require plaintiffs to demonstrate a viable “means of showing damages on a classwide basis through common proof,” and denied certification of a damages class based on a challenge to the validity of the regression model offered by the plaintiff’s expert. … Continue reading

Jamba Juice class deemed ascertainable; Skinnygirl class is not

Federal courts continue their divide on ascertainability requirements for small-ticket items in the wake of Carrera v. Bayer. Just recently, district courts in California and Illinois (neither of which are bound by Carrera), took opposite stances in applying the 3rd Circuit decision, leaving litigants to wonder when or if the Supreme Court is going to weigh … Continue reading

UPDATE: Recent jeans case confirms harsher “Made In USA” standards exist in California

A California federal district court judge recently provided some clarity on the apparent disparity between California’s “Made in the USA” law and the standard set forth by the Federal Trade Commission. The Southern District Court of California’s recent decision in Paz v. AG Adriano Goldschmied confirms that California’s “Made in the USA” standard sets forth … Continue reading

No more rubber stamps: courts critical of class action settlements

A number of recent cases show courts taking a more active role in approving class action settlements, more closely scrutinizing settlements meant to benefit class members. Just last month in Redman v. RadioShack Corporation the Seventh Circuit rejected a class action settlement providing for dissemination of $10 coupons to class members and $1 million in … Continue reading

Courts disagree whether attacks on expert damage models defeat class certification in the wake of Comcast

Federal courts continue to be split on whether the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend  requires plaintiffs seeking class certification to present viable, common methodologies to prove class-wide injury and damages. Two recent federal decisions highlight these competing views of Comcast. Uncertainty over the standards for the use of expert damages testimony … Continue reading

Red Bull settlement problems show consequences of certifying unascertainable classes

Since the Third Circuit’s opinion in Carrera v. Bayer Corp., courts have been battling with the approach to consumer classes for small-ticket items because consumers often do not retain receipts or proofs of purchase (think consumer products like OTC drugs, food items, beverages, etc.). The challenge is that without receipts or proofs of purchase, a … Continue reading

Breadth of primary jurisdiction expanded in class actions

The doctrine of primary jurisdiction gained ground in false advertising litigation, as Judge Sammartino of the Southern District of California dismissed a putative class action against Kashi Company because FDA signaled that it was reevaluating draft guidance that served as a partial basis for the plaintiffs’ complaint. In Saubers v. Kashi Co., 2014 WL 3908595 … Continue reading

Failure to define “natural” stops pretzel case false advertising claims at the pleading stage

A Northern District Court recently told plaintiff’s counsel that merely alleging that a product contains ingredients that are not “natural”, without supplying any objective definition of natural,  will not allow such claims to move past the pleading stage. On August 12, 2014, Judge Samuel Conti dismissed several false advertising claims filed by plaintiffs Robert Figy … Continue reading

FTC and presumption of consumer reliance

Question:  What’s the difference between $600,000 and $14 million in a contempt action?  Answer:  Presumption of consumer reliance, according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Federal Trade Commission v. BlueHippo Funding, LLC. The case began in 2003, when BlueHippo first began marketing computers and electronic products to consumers regardless of their credit history.  … Continue reading

Eighth Circuit says failing to allege personal injury is “not kosher” for Article III standing

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion by Chief Judge Riley, found that plaintiffs seeking to represent a class of purchasers of Hebrew National meat products did not have Article III standing because the named plaintiffs failed to allege that the products they themselves purchased were defective. Eleven named plaintiffs filed suit in … Continue reading
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