Dunkin’ “Angus” Suit Dismissed
A New York federal court has dismissed a putative class action alleging that Dunkin’ Brands Inc. misled consumers by marketing a sandwich and a wrap as containing “Angus steak.” Chen v. Dunkin’ Brands, Inc., No. 17-3808 (E.D.N.Y., entered September 17, 2018). The court first dismissed the claims brought by a non-resident of New York, finding it did not have jurisdiction to consider them. The court also dismissed the resident plaintiff’s breach-of-warranty allegation under the Magnuson-Moss Act, holding that the description “Angus beef” is “‘at most’ a ‘product description,’ not a written warranty.”
Turning to the state-law claim of deceptive practices, the court disagreed with the plaintiff’s argument that a reasonable consumer would interpret “Angus steak” as “an intact cut of meat,” finding that the television commercials show “zoomed-in pictures of the sandwich and wrap, with ground-meat patties.” The plaintiff also asserted that the beef patties contained additives and preservatives, which a reasonable consumer would allegedly not expect to find in an “Angus steak” product. “Without other qualifications, ‘Angus Steak’ guarantees just some Angus beef,” the court held. “A review of Defendant’s ingredient list—a document integral to the Second Amended Complaint—shows that the patties at issue here contain ‘Angus Beef.'” The court dismissed the final allegation and directed the clerk to close the case.