California Judge Says Product Claims Were Preempted or Non-Actionable Puffery
According to a news source, a Los Angeles Superior Court has dismissed a putative class action seeking damages against One World Enterprises LLC for allegedly misleading consumers about the nutritional value and hydrating properties of its coconut water product. Shenkman v. One World Enters. LLC, No. BC467165 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cty., dismissed on July 18, 2012). The court apparently agreed with the defendant that part of the plaintiff’s case involved a product representation that was simply “puffery” and stated that marketing a product’s “superior” hydrating power “is not actionable because consumers are used to hearing advertisers make general boasts and were not born yesterday.”
The court dismissed the case without prejudice to give the plaintiff an opportunity to replead state-based fraud and false advertising claims about the product’s allegedly false nutritional label. According to the court, the plaintiff “correctly notes federal law will not preempt his claim if the label violated federal labeling requirements. But the complaint does not offer a ‘clear and precise’ allegation of how One World broke federal law, as necessary in this context.” The plaintiff was given until September 18, 2012, to file an amended complaint. See Law360, July 18, 2012.