Deceptive Labeling Claims Against Beverage Maker Dismissed
A federal court in Illinois has dismissed claims that Coca-Cola labeling for its “classic” and “original formula” soda products violated consumer fraud laws because the products contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which did not exist when the beverage was first sold in the 1880s. Kremers v. Coca-Cola Company, No. 09-333 (S.D. Ill., decided April 27, 2010).
One named plaintiff in this putative class action apparently testified during her deposition that she knew the products contained HFCS as early as the 1990s. The court found the litigation time-barred as to her claims. Another named plaintiff testified that he did not realize the product’s label included the phrase “original formula” until counsel brought it to his attention. The court found that he failed to establish an essential element of his deception claim. Because both testified that they continued to buy the product despite knowing that its sweetener differed from the formulation sold 100 years ago, the court determined that they failed to establish a causal link between the defendant’s conduct and their damages.
The Coca-Cola Company was represented by Shook, Hardy & Bacon lawyers Zach Chaffee-McClure, Chris Cotton, Scott DuPree, Jim Eiszner, John Murphy, Laurie Novion, Antwaun Smith, Holly Pauling Smith, and Gene Williams.