A federal court in New Jersey has granted the defendant’s unopposed motion to extinguish the stay in a lawsuit contending that Snapple beverage products are falsely advertised as “natural” because they contain high-fructose corn syrup, a purportedly non-natural ingredient. Holk v. Snapple Beverage Corp., No. 07-3018 (D.N.J., decided October 15, 2010) (unpublished). The court had stayed the litigation pending the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reaching a decision about the definition of “natural.” According to the court’s order, “The FDA in response has declined to address that issue.”

Noting that another district court in New Jersey has lifted a stay imposed for the same reason in similar litigation (Coyle v. Hornell Brewing Co.), the court agreed to reopen the case, but refused to reinstate the motions that were pending when the case was “administratively terminated.” The court ordered the parties “to move again, upon new notices of motion and in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Civil Rules, for any relief sought in the Previous Motions.” Additional information about Coyle appears in Issue 356 of this Update; additional information about Holk appears in Issue 360 of this Update.

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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.