A federal judge in California has reportedly dismissed a putative class action
against the manufacturer of melatonin-laced brownies marketed as a relaxation
and sleep aid. According to media sources, the plaintiff alleged that HBB
LLC failed to disclose the potential effects of its Lazy Larry® or Lazy Cakes®
baked goods, including “extreme fatigue, exhaustion and slurred speech.” The
products have also come under fire from lawmakers and the Food and Drug
Administration, which in August 2011 warned the company that the brownies
were adulterated under federal law.

Despite the ongoing debate over whether the brownies are conventional
food or a dietary supplement, U.S. District Judge Manuel Real concluded that
the product packaging adequately displayed its contents. “It is undisputed
that the packaging on the product accurately disclosed the quantity of
melatonin in each serving as well as the relevant serving size [and] that the
product contained a disclaimer of the potential to cause drowsiness,” the
judge reportedly told lawyers during a hearing. “Plaintiff fails to demonstrate
that a reasonable person would been deceived about the melatonin content
and potential side effect of Lazy Cakes.” See Law360, November 28, 2011.

Additional details about the ongoing response to melatonin brownies appear
in Issues 404 and 395 of this Update.

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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