Plaintiff in Multiple Trans Fat Lawsuits Cannot Claim Lack of Subject Knowledge, Court Finds
A California federal court has granted a motion to dismiss claims that La
Tapatia Tortilleria mislabels its food as containing no trans fats despite
containing partially hydrogenated oil (PHO) based on the finding that
the plaintiff cannot claim he relied on the product packaging because
he is the plaintiff in several similar lawsuits, showing he had sufficient
knowledge to determine whether the product contained trans fats before
purchasing. Guttmann v. La Tapatia Tortilleria, Inc., No. 15-2042 (N.D.
Cal., order entered November 18, 2015).
The plaintiff alleged he relied on the “0g Trans Fat” representation on
La Tapatia’s tortilla packaging when purchasing, then later learned the
product contained trans fat. He, however, “was amply aware, given his
litigation history: (1) that products labeled as “0g Trans Fat” may in
fact contain small amounts of trans-fat; (2) that FDA regulations do not
require trans-fat content to be declared in the nutrition-facts panel on a
product label; (3) that PHO is a form of artificial trans-fat; and (4) that
consumption of artificial trans-fat may pose health risks,” the court held.
Accordingly, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims brought under
California’s consumer-protection statutes, but concluded the plaintiff
sufficiently established standing to sue for his breach of warranties
claims, so it allowed those claims to continue.