A federal court in New Jersey has reportedly refused to seal information about a proposed settlement involving putative class claims that the manufacturers of “Pirate’s Booty” and “Veggie Booty” food products misrepresented their nutritional labeling information. Schatz-Bernstein v. Keystone Food Prods., Inc., No. 08-3079 (D.N.J., order entered April 17, 2009). The snacks were allegedly marketed as containing only 2.5 grams of fat and 120 calories per serving, when they actually contained nearly four times the fat and were 25 percent higher in calories. The plaintiff alleges breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment and a violation of consumer protection laws.

According to a news source, the defendants sought to seal settlement details that the plaintiff allegedly published improperly. The plaintiff has apparently maintained that the defendants reneged on the agreement. Denying the defendants’ motion to seal, the court reportedly ruled that the defendants wrongly classified their settlement discussions with the court as mediation. He was quoted as saying, “Defendants’ contentions regarding the alleged harm they would suffer from the disclosure of plaintiffs’ motion are general, overbroad and conclusory. Defendants do not cite to any specific examples of harm they would suffer.” See LexisNexis® Mealey’s™ Litigation Report, Food Liability, May 2009.

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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.