Three strikes, you’re out! New York Federal Courts Reject Three Implausible Mislabelling Actions | Jenner & Block


Federal courts in New York have recently shown their willingness to dismiss the implausible mislabelling claims on pleadings. The recent dismissal of three consumer class actions — all filed by the same plaintiff’s lawyer — suggests that these federal courts are increasingly skeptical of lawyers’ claims regarding alleged food labeling confusion. popular.

November 4, 2021, at Boswell v Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc., Judge Furman of the Southern District of New York dismissed an alleged class action suit alleging that Entenmann’s “All Butter Loaf Cake” was misleadingly labeled because it contained not only butter, but also butter oil. soy and artificial flavors.[1] In reaching this conclusion, the court specifically called the plaintiff’s lawyer for bringing “a long series of putative class actions.[alléguantquel’emballaged’unalimentpopulaireestfauxettrompeur »[2] In particular, the court took judicial notice not only of the labeling of the contested Entenmann product, but also of the labeling of other butter cake products – which the court found to be conclusive of the context in which consumers buy these products.[3]

November 9, 2021, at Kamara v. Pepperidge Farm Inc., Judge Castel of the Southern District of New York City prejudicedly dismissed a putative class action suit alleging that the term “Golden Butter Crackers” was misleading because the crackers also contained vegetable oil.[4] In that decision, the court noted that “a reasonable consumer might believe that the expression ‘Golden Butter’ refers to the flavor of the product and was not a representation of the proportions of the ingredients.”[5] But even if a consumer believed it, “[t]The packaging clearly stated that the product contained “butter,” which featured prominently on the ingredient list, just after flour.[6] The court ruled that “[t]he’s complaining [did] does not plausibly claim why a reasonable consumer would understand the phrase “Golden Butter” to mean that “wherever butter could be used in the product, it would be used instead of using its synthetic substitute, vegetable oil “.[7]

More recently still, on December 3, 2021, in Warren v. Whole Foods Market Group Inc.New York’s Eastern District Judge Kovner dismissed an alleged class action claim alleging Whole Foods Market’s instant oatmeal label misled consumers into believing the product was sugar-free or low in sugar.[8] The court ruled that “even if a reasonable consumer was not aware of the many names of sugar or the purpose of the nutrition label, the fact remains that the words ‘Sugar 11g’ are prominently displayed immediately next to it. from the list of ingredients. As the court noted, “[t]pipe words are hard to miss.[9]

These rulings may signal that federal courts, at least in New York City, are increasingly inclined to take a closer look at the pleadings in food mislabelling cases, as well as the broader context in which the products are sold, and to grant motions to dismiss when the allegations are far from plausible. While these rulings are unlikely to completely deter lawyers for other plaintiffs from pursuing these lawsuits, they undoubtedly provide ammunition for defendants facing similar food labeling lawsuits in federal courts of Canada. New York.

[1] Boswell v. Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc., # 20-CV-8923 (JMF), 2021 WL 5144552, at * 1 (SDNY November 4, 2021).

[2] Identifier.

[3] Identifier. at 4 o’clock.

[4] Kamara v. Pepperidge Farm, Inc., No. 20-CV-9012 (PKC), 2021 WL 5234882, at * 2 (SDNY November 9, 2021).

[5] Identifier.

[6] Identifier. at 5.

[7] Identifier.

[8] Warren et al. v. Whole Foods Market Group, Inc., # 19CV6448RPKLB, 2021 WL 5759702, at * 1 (EDNY December 3, 2021).

[9] Identifier.


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