Tag Archives slack-fill

An Illinois federal court has dismissed a putative class action alleging that Fannie May Confections Brands Inc. underfills its Mint Meltaways and Pixies candy boxes. Benson v. Fannie May Confections Brands Inc., No. 17-3519 (N.D. Ill., E. Div., entered December 10, 2018). The court previously dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint on the grounds that it provided “bare-bones” factual allegations and failed to allege a claim that would not be preempted by the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The court dismissed the plaintiffs’ argument that Fannie May’s 14-ounce boxes contained less slack fill than its seven-ounce boxes, the subject of the complaint. “This type of comparison tells the Court nothing about the slack-fill in the containers in question,” the court found. “The fact that a different container is filled to a different level is not only unsurprising, it is what one would expect.” The court compared the plaintiffs’ allegations with those…

Two consumers represented by the same plaintiff's attorneys have filed lawsuits alleging food companies misleadingly label their products as natural because they contain malic acid. Morris v. Mott's LLP, No. 18-1799 (C.D. Cal., filed October 4, 2018); Clark v. Hershey Co., No. 18-6113 (N.D. Cal., filed October 4, 2018). The plaintiffs assert that Mott's Assorted Fruit Flavored Snacks and Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai & Blueberry are marketed as free from preservatives and artificial flavorings but contain d-l malic acid, "an undisclosed artificial flavor made from petrochemicals." Both complaints note that "the natural and unnatural forms of malic acid are considered 'GRAS' (generally recognized as safe) for use as flavorings in foods marketed to adults," but "the d-malic acid form, however, has never been extensively studied for its health effects in human beings." The plaintiffs each allege violations of California's consumer-protection statutes and seek class certification, injunctions, damages and attorney's fees.…

A New York federal court has dismissed allegations from a putative class action arguing that Pret A Manger Ltd. sold sandwich wraps with excess slack fill between the wrap's halves. Lau v. Pret A Manger (USA) Ltd., No. 17-5775 (S.D.N.Y., entered September 28, 2018). The court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing for an injunction despite their argument that they would consider purchasing the wraps in the future, finding "no sufficient basis for inferring that plaintiffs would ever seek to purchase a Pret wrap again as long as the status quo persists." The court also disagreed with the plaintiffs' argument that the slack fill in the wraps amounted to an intent to defraud consumers. "Specifically, plaintiffs state that less than half, or 45 percent, or Pret wraps surveyed contained slack-fill," the court noted. "Drawing all reasonable inferences in plaintiffs' favor, the Court finds that the facts are insufficient to nudge…

Trader Joe's has agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle allegations that it underfills its five-ounce tuna cans. In re Trader Joe's Tuna Litig., No. 16-1371 (C.D. Cal., motion filed September 14, 2018). Under the agreement, class members will receive $29, which will be diluted pro rata if the total amount of claims exceeds the available funds. According to the motion for preliminary approval, the plaintiffs' investigation included "commissioning pressed weight testing of Trader Joe's Tuna and reviewing numerous pressed weight test reports in cooperation with qualified experts from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."

A federal court in Missouri has denied class certification in a slack-fill action against Just Born Inc., ruling that the plaintiff was unable to represent one proposed class and that individual issues would predominate for the other two. White v. Just Born, Inc., 14-4025 (W.D. Mo., entered August 7, 2018). Alleging that boxes of Mike and Ikes and Hot Tamales were underfilled, the plaintiff sought certification of three classes: a Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) class, an unjust enrichment (Restatement) class and an unjust enrichment (Appreciation) class. First, the court found that the Restatement class did not include Missouri residents, so the Missouri plaintiff could not serve as a representative of the potential class members. “In an attempt to account for variations in states’ unjust enrichment laws, [the plaintiff] seeks certification of two separate unjust enrichment classes,” the court held. “In doing so, however, [the plaintiff] defined himself out of one.”…

A New York federal court has dismissed a putative slack-fill class action against Tootsie Roll Industries, finding that the packaging of Junior Mints contains sufficient information for consumers to determine its volume and that “[t]he law simply does not provide the level of coddling plaintiffs seek. ... The court declines to enshrine into the law an embarrassing level of mathematical illiteracy." Daniel v. Tootsie Roll Industries LLC, No. 17-7541 (S.D.N.Y., entered August 1, 2018). The court found that “consumers can easily calculate the number of candies contained in the Product boxes simply by multiplying the serving size by the number of servings in each box, information displayed in the nutritional facts section on the back of each box.” In addition, the court rejected arguments that consumers depend on the size of the candies as shown on the package. Moreover, the court found that the plaintiffs did not show that the…

Two consumers have filed a putative class action alleging that Eden Creamery "underfills its 'pints' of ice cream"—“[d]ramatically so at times, and as a course of business." Kamal v. Eden Creamery LLC, No. 18-1298 (S.D. Cal., filed June 15, 2018). The complaint alleges, "Purchasers of the premium-priced ice cream simply have no idea how much ice cream they will get each and every time they buy a Halo Top 'pint.' And Halo Top has been doing this for years." The "amount of underfilling appears to be random to consumers" and "appears to be unrelated to flavor of ice cream or the location of purchase," the plaintiffs assert. The complaint also points to a form allegedly created by Halo Top that allows consumers to report underfilled containers to argue that Halo Top knows of its alleged underfilling practices. The plaintiffs allege violations of California's consumer-protection statutes and seek class certification, damages, an…

A federal court in New York has dismissed a putative class action alleging that Storck USA L.P. packaged Werther’s Original Sugar Free Chewy Caramels with nonfunctional slack fill and misrepresented the candy's effect on blood glucose levels. Kpakpoe-Awel v. Storck USA L.P., No. 18-1086 (S.D.N.Y., entered June 8, 2018). According to court filings, the parties have entered into a confidential settlement agreement.

Ferrara Candy Co. has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a putative class action alleging its candy boxes contained an unnecessary amount of slack fill. Iglesias v. Ferrara Candy Co., No. 17-849 (N.D. Cal., motion filed May 10, 2018). Under the agreement, Ferrara will "modify its fill level quality control procedures and target fill levels to at least 75% for theater box Products, and at least 50% for bag-in-a-box Products." In addition, the company will pay $2.5 million into a common fund; class members may submit claims for an unlimited number of purchases, but recovery for claims without proof of purchase will be capped at $7.50 per member. The named plaintiff will receive an incentive award of $5,000, and attorney's fees will be capped at 30 percent of the common fund, or about $522,000.

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging boxes of Cookie Dough Bites, made by Taste of Nature Inc., contain up to 58 percent slack fill. Gillespie v. Taste of Nature, Inc., No. 18-2105 (C.D. Cal., filed March 13, 2018). The complaint alleges that the candies are packed in a plastic pouch inside the box that makes the box appear to be more than half full, but if the candy is removed from the pouch and poured back into the box, the box appears to be about one-third full. Claiming violations of California’s consumer-protection laws, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages, restitution and attorney’s fees.

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