The defendant in litigation alleging that it conceals the sugar added to its tea-like yerba mate products by listing the ingredient as “organic evaporated cane juice” has removed the action to federal court. Cowan v. Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Prods., Inc., No. 14-1248 (N.D. Cal., removed March 17, 2014). The plaintiff, a California resident with a family history of diabetes, alleges that she purchased the products relying on the ingredients listed on the product labels and paid more for them “because she believed the Class Products contained lesser amounts of sugar and was [sic] healthier for her” than comparable products.

Seeking to represent a nationwide class of consumers, the plaintiff claims that Guayaki releases misbranded products into the stream of commerce and that the company violates the Unfair Business Practices Act, California False Advertising Act and Consumers Legal Remedies Act. She also brings causes of action for negligent misrepresentation and breach of quasi-contract. In addition to restitution and punitive and statutory damages, the plaintiff requests an order declaring the product labels unlawful, and requiring the company to change its product packaging and engage in corrective advertising.

 

Issue 518

 

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.

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