Topic: Recent consumer products case law

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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 and Mary Swearingen based on allegations that Defendant Frito-Lay misled consumers by advertising the products “Frito-Lay’s Rold Gold Sticks Pretzels,” “Frito-Lay’s Rold Gold Thins Pretzels” and “Frito-Lay’s Rold Gold Low Fat Tiny Twists Pretzels” as “Made With All Natural Ingredients” when the products contained the … 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.  BlueHippo offered the following deal to consumers: if a consumer made 13 consecutive installment payments and signed an installment contract, BlueHippo would ship the computer and permit the consumer to finance the remaining balance.  If the consumer missed a payment, the consumer would not … 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 Minnesota state court, alleging that Hebrew National, a ConAgra company, falsely advertises its meat products (primarily hot dogs) as kosher.  Plaintiffs based their conclusion that the products were not all kosher on alleged business practices of ConAgra, namely, that employees are pressured to meet a … Continue Reading