A California resident has filed a putative statewide class action against Ralphs
Grocery Co., alleging that it misleads consumers by labeling its decaffeinated
coffee products as “without caffeine” when they are actually, according to
labeling fine print, “99.7% caffeine free.” Kopalian v. Ralphs Grocery Co., No.
BC533846 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cty., filed January 22, 2014). The
plaintiff invokes no state or federal law labeling violations, but instead claims
that the labeling and packaging are “likely to confuse and mislead consumers.”
He contends that he relied on the “without caffeine” labeling to make his
purchase, believing that the product was 100 percent caffeine free, and chose
it over other brands for this reason.

Alleging breach of express warranty and violations of the state’s Unfair
Competition Law, False Advertising Law and Consumers Legal Remedies
Act, the plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, including a corrective advertising
campaign, actual and punitive damages, restitution, attorney’s fees, and costs.


Issue 511

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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