The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a dismissal of a
consumer lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corp. alleging mislabeling
claims against VitaRain Tropical Mango Vitamin Enhanced Water
Beverage. Maple v. Costco Wholesale Corp., No. 13-36089 (9th Cir.,
order entered May 9, 2016). The plaintiff had alleged the product was
mislabeled because the product contains added caffeine, precluding
the use of “natural” on the label. The district court dismissed the case
because the plaintiff did not read the label before purchasing it; on
appeal, the plaintiff asserted that he could amend the complaint to add
“a subclass of plaintiffs who did read the relevant parts of the label.”
Because he did not rely on the label, the plaintiff’s claim failed, and “the
potential existence of other classes of which Plaintiff is not a member is
irrelevant,” the court found. Further, the “district court abused its discretion
by dismissing the action without prejudice,” the court held, and
directed the lower court to enter a dismissal with prejudice.


Issue 604

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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