Category Archives 2nd Circuit

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. misled her into believing that the restaurant's chicken tenders were composed of chicken tenderloins. Sanders v. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc., No. 22-4477 (E.D.N.Y., filed July 29, 2022). "Traditionally, chicken tenders are made from chicken tenderloins," the complaint asserts. "Chicken tenderloins are the small strips of meat that are loosely attached to the underside of each breast, along the breastbone. As a result, chicken tenderloins are more tender than regular chicken breast, and hence, the name chicken tender. Chicken tenderloins are also juicier, making them more desirable for consumption. They are significantly smaller than the remainder of the chicken breast, also making them more expensive than the rest of the chicken breast." The chicken tenders at Popeyes, the plaintiff argues, are instead made from the remainder of the chicken breast. The plaintiff asserts that Popeyes' competitors are accurate in their…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging Danone North America Public Benefit Corp. misleads consumers about the nature of its International Delight coffee creamers by labeling the products as creamers rather than non-dairy creamers. English v. Danone N. Am. Pub. Benefit Corp., No. 22-5105 (S.D.N.Y., filed June 17, 2022). The plaintiff argues that International Delight creamer "lacks cream or dairy ingredients beyond a de minimis amount of sodium caseinate" and instead "substitutes water and palm oil, the first and third ingredients, to reduce costs." The complaint notes that consumers "value cream from dairy ingredients for its nutritive purposes," and the plaintiff alleges she would not have purchased the product if she had not been misled by the packaging implying the presence of dairy ingredients. For alleged violations of New York consumer-protection statutes, fraud, unjust enrichment and breach of express warranty, the plaintiff seeks class certification, restitution, damages and attorney's fees.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has given final approval to a $7.5 million settlement in a lawsuit alleging that Godiva Chocolatier Inc.'s packaging misled consumers into believing all of its chocolate was produced in Belgium. Hesse v. Godiva Chocolatier Inc., No. 19-0972 (S.D.N.Y., order entered April 20, 2022). The approval dismisses concerns raised by the attorneys general of six states arguing that elements of the settlement were too favorable to Godiva. Their concerns included a $25 cap on claims with proof of purchase as well as a lack of notice about the settlement on Godiva's website, but the court found the cap to be reasonable and noted that Godiva sent 8.2 million initial emails and 7.7 million reminder emails to customers to provide notice of the settlement.

A consumer has filed a projected class action alleging Mondelez International Inc.'s Green & Black's chocolate packaging misleads as to the product's cacao content. Lee v. Mondelez Int'l Inc., No. 22-1127 (S.D.N.Y., filed February 9, 2022). The labels indicate that the products are 60%, 70% or 85% cacao, but "the back labels uniformly reveal that the principal chocolate ingredient is not cacao but cocoa, which [] is an inferior, highly processed derivative of the cacao bean that has been stripped of the nutritional qualities that make dark chocolate appealing to its consumers." The complaint explains that the ingredient list—"organic bittersweet chocolate (organic chocolate liquor, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic vanilla extract)—makes no "mention of cacao butter, but only of cocoa butter." Further, the front labeling also states that the product is "made from 'the finest Trinitario cacao beans,'" the plaintiff argues, which allegedly implies that the products "retain…

A consumer has alleged that Mondelez Global LLC misleads consumers by marketing its Oreo Fudge Cremes as "fudge covered" because the topping covering the cookies lacks milkfat. Leonard v. Mondelez Global LLC, No. 21-10102 (S.D.N.Y., filed November 28, 2021). The complaint lists several recipes for fudge to support its argument that fudge requires the presence of milkfat, while Mondelez produces its "fudge" with palm oils and nonfat milk. "Fudge covered cookies made with fudge ingredients such as dairy components, containing milkfat, are not a rare or pricy delicacy that would make a reasonable consumer 'double check' their presence by scouring the packaging," the plaintiff argues. "The front label creates an erroneous impression that essential fudge ingredients are present." The complaint compares the "fudge" ingredients to the "truthful and non-misleading 'Mint' representations, through words and pictures of peppermint leaf," which are accurate because the product contains peppermint oil, the plaintiff explains.…

A New York federal court has dismissed allegations that Aldi Inc. misled consumers about the contents of its vanilla almond milk product. Parham v. Aldi Inc., No. 19-8975 (S.D.N.Y., entered September 21, 2021). The complaint asserted that the almond milk contained a "comparatively high level of vanillin" and "'a trace or de minimus' amount of vanilla," allegedly misleading consumers as to the primary flavoring agent of the product. A magistrate judge provided the court with a recommendation, noting that a "reasonable consumer would understand that the word ‘vanilla’ on the front of the carton describes how the Product tastes, not what it contains, especially in circumstances where the ingredients listed on the Product container do not mention vanilla at all." Further, the magistrate stated, "Five other courts in this district have recently addressed nearly identical arguments regarding other vanilla-flavored products. All five courts rejected claims that the labeling of vanilla-flavored products was…

A plaintiff has filed a putative class action alleging that Whole Foods Market Group Inc. misleads consumers by selling sparkling mineral water in a lemon raspberry flavor without an "appreciable amount" of lemons and raspberries. Kelly v. Whole Foods Mkt. Grp. Inc., No. 21-3124 (S.D.N.Y., filed April 11, 2021). The label of the water contains images of lemons and raspberries, the complaint asserts, and consumers "will expect the presence of a non-de minimis amount of lemon and raspberry ingredients, based on the pictures of these fruits." The plaintiff argues that the ingredient list, which shows the contents as "carbonated mineral water, organic natural flavors (raspberry, lemon)," fails to inform consumers the flavoring "mainly consists of flavors from fruits other than lemons and raspberries." "Because lemon oil and raspberry oil or raspberry extract are not separately identified ingredients, it means that any real lemon or raspberry flavoring is at most a de minimis…

Two consumers allege that Ancient Brands' Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein products are marketed as beneficial to health but contain protein that is "largely indigestible to the human body and provides little to no actual benefit to consumers." Bush v. Ancient Brands LLC, No. 21-0390 (N.D.N.Y., filed April 5, 2021). The complaint asserts that Ancient Brands fails to calculate the protein content as a percentage of daily value or as calculated by the Protein Digestibility Amino Acid Corrected Score, allegedly violating state and federal regulations. The plaintiffs detail how protein content is calculated, asserting that the percentage daily value listed on the packaging provides consumers information on the quality of protein and is required on product packaging that contains a nutrient content claim for protein. The plaintiffs allege violations of New York and California consumer-protection statutes as well as fraudulent concealment, unjust enrichment and breach of express warranty.

A New York federal court has dismissed a lawsuit against Oregon Chai Inc. for failure to state a claim in litigation centered on whether using the term "vanilla" on packaging is misleading to consumers. Cosgrove v. Oregon Chai Inc., No. 19-10686 (S.D.N.Y., entered February 22, 2021). "In the past two years, counsel for Plaintiffs [] has filed numerous class action complaints across the country, including several in this District, challenging food manufacturers’ use of the term 'vanilla' in their descriptions or advertising," the decision begins. "In nearly all of these cases, the district court ultimately found that the plaintiffs had failed to state a viable claim for relief. This time, Plaintiffs challenge Defendant Oregon Chai, Inc. [], claiming that Defendant’s use of the term 'vanilla' and other statements on the packaging of its chai tea latte powdered mix is misleading to consumers. As set forth in the remainder of this Opinion,…

A New York federal court has dismissed some claims while allowing others to continue in a lawsuit alleging Whole Foods Market Group Inc. misleads consumers by not using graham flour to produce or honey to sweeten its "honey graham crackers." Campbell v. Whole Foods Mkt. Grp. Inc., No. 20-1291 (S.D.N.Y., entered February 2, 2021). The court found that the plaintiff adequately pleaded allegations that "the references to 'honey' and 'graham' on the product’s packaging are likely to lead a reasonable consumer to wrongly believe that these graham crackers contain more whole-grain flour than non-whole grain flour, and that honey is their predominant sweetener," so claims under the New York General Business Obligation Law can continue. The court dismissed a claim of negligent misrepresentation, finding the plaintiff "failed to allege the existence of a special relationship giving rise to a duty to speak on the part of the Defendant." The plaintiff's…

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