Ruling that the named plaintiff’s claims are not typical of those of the putative
class in a false-labeling suit brought against the companies that made
and marketed Skinnygirl Margaritas®, a federal court in New York has denied
his motion for class certification. Rapcinsky v. Skinnygirl Cocktails, L.L.C., No.
11-6546 (S.D.N.Y., decided January 9, 2013). The named plaintiff, a
Massachusetts resident, allegedly purchased the product in that state as a gift for his wife who had indicated that she had been served the beverage during a party with friends and liked it. He brought the suit under New York statutes
that apply to products purchased in New York and involve deceptive acts or
practices involving in-state residents. He also claimed common-law breach of

According to the court, the laws invoked do not protect the plaintiff’s purchases. While his alleged injury may be the same as class members, the plaintiff, “having not purchased his products in New York State, is an atypical representative of the New York class he purports to represent.” As for the warranty claim, the law in both states requires some showing of reliance. The plaintiff “bought the product to thank his wife for all she does in the home, after hearing her remark that she liked it while at the party of a health-conscious friend. And while incentives are not monolithic, Defendants will assert as a defense to [his] claim that there was no causation . . . as (1) he stated he would have bought the product regardless of price and (2) his belief with respect to its naturalness was irrelevant to his purchasing decision, given the statements about the impetus for the purchase. Such defenses are unique to [his] claims and underscore the atypicality of [his] alleged reliance.”

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.