False Advertising Lawsuit Against Yogurt Maker to Proceed as Class
A federal court in California has denied a motion for summary judgment filed
by the company that makes YoPlus® probiotic yogurt and certified a class of
consumers alleging that it misled them in its product marketing. Johnson v.
General Mills, Inc., No. 10-00061 (C.D. Cal., summary judgment
denied March 3, 2011; class certification granted March 7).
The court disagreed with the company’s attempt to characterize its product
statements as “either true or . . . untestable and subjective statements of
opinion” or “mere puffing.” According to the court, General Mills sought to
“isolate each particular statement or image and divorce it from its full context.”
Rather, the court determined that “properly considered in context, General
Mills successfully communicated a ‘common message that eating Yo-Plus
aids in the promotion of digestive health in ways that eating normal yogurt does not.’” The court reportedly granted class certification from the bench. See Law360, March 8, 2011.