Tag Archives Florida

A Florida federal court has dismissed a putative class action alleging that Burger King Corp. misled consumers with the release of its Impossible Whopper. Williams v. Burger King Corp., No. 19-24755 (S.D. Fla., entered July 20, 2020). The plaintiff, a vegan, argued that Burger King's marketing misled him into believing the Impossible Whopper, made with the plant-based Impossible Burger, would abide by vegan dietary restrictions, but the patty was cooked on the same grill as meat patties. The court disagreed, finding that "Burger King promised a non-meat patty and delivered with the 'Impossible Burger.'" "Plaintiffs’ argument, however, loses momentum when they claim there was a presumption the 'Impossible' patties would be cooked on a different grill than other items sold at Burger King," the court held. "This is not an essential term of the contract. Furthermore, as Burger King’s slogan has boasted for forty years, Plaintiffs’ could have 'Had it [their] way'…

A Florida federal court has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Bacardi U.S.A.'s Bombay Sapphire contains a botanical classified as an adulterant in the state. Marrache v. Bacardi U.S.A., No. 19-23856 (S.D. Fla., entered January 28, 2020). "Numerous class actions have greatly benefited society, such as Brown v. Board of Education, In re Exxon Valdez, and In re Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation," the court's decision began. "This is not one of those class actions." The plaintiff "does not allege that the bottle of gin he bought containing grains of paradise caused him any health issues or other harm," the court noted. "He instead alleges that the product was 'worthless' because it was adulterated with grains of paradise." The court found that the 1868 Florida law prohibiting grains of paradise in alcohol was preempted by federal regulations finding that the botanical is generally regarded as safe. The plaintiff argued that the…

A plaintiff has filed a putative class action alleging that Burger King Corp. represented its Impossible Whopper in association with the Impossible Burger, which is "well known as a meat-free and vegan meat alternative," but cooked the Impossible Whoppers "on the same grills as its traditional meat products, thus covering the outside of the Impossible Whopper's meat-free patties with meat by-product." Williams v. Burger King Corp., No. 19-24755 (S.D. Fla., filed November 18, 2019). Burger King advertised the Impossible Whopper as "100% Whopper" and "0% Beef," leading the plaintiff, a vegan, to rely "on Defendant's deceptive representations about the Impossible Whopper and believing that the 'Impossible' vegan meat patty would be prepared in a manner that maintained its qualities as a vegan (meat-free) burger patty." The plaintiff alleges breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violation of Florida's consumer-protection statute and seeks class certification, damages and a declaration "that Defendant be…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Bacardi U.S.A. Inc.'s Bombay Sapphire is made with grains of paradise, amounting to adulteration under Florida law. Marrache v. Bacardi U.S.A. Inc., Filing No. 93932678 (Fla. Cir. Ct., 11th Jud. Cir., filed August 9, 2019). The complaint cites a Florida statute deeming the inclusion of grains of paradise—along with several other substances described as "poisonous or injurious to health," including opium, capsicum, laurel water and cochineal—in any liquor intended for consumption to be adulterated, amounting to a felony of the third degree. The plaintiff notes that the Bombay Sapphire bottle features an etching of 10 botanicals, including grains of paradise—which "has been used in other parts of the world for medicinal purposes including, without limitation, to treat impotence and to stimulate miscarriages when a pregnancy was unwanted."

Cape Florida Seafood has filed a lawsuit alleging that several companies have "conspired since at least 2015" to fix prices on farm-raised Norwegian salmon. Cape Fla. Seafood v. Mowi ASA, No. 19-22002 (S.D. Fla., Miami Div., filed May 17, 2019). The complaint asserts that salmon prices before 2015 were correlated with the cost of feed protein, while after 2015, "regression analyses indicate that . . . as fishmeal prices declined, farm-raised salmon prices increased." The plaintiff asserts that the regression analyses "are concrete evidence that farm-raised salmon prices were not increasing as a response to costs and, instead, were being affected by Defendants' combination, contract, and/or conspiracy." Cape Florida Seafood seeks class certification and damages for the alleged unlawful restraint of competition in violation of the Sherman Act.

Maine has reportedly become the first state to ban single-use food and drink containers made from polystyrene. The law, which will take effect in 2021, echoes a similar bill in Maryland that has been passed by the legislature but remains unsigned by the governor. According to the Associated Press, Oregon, Vermont and Connecticut are considering polystyrene bans as well. The Florida legislature has reportedly passed a law that would prevent municipalities from regulating plastic straws until 2024. Some cities, including Miami Beach, previously passed ordinances preventing restaurants and bars from providing plastic straws or prohibiting the use of plastic straws at public parks and beaches. The bill is awaiting the governor's signature.

The Eleventh Circuit has reversed the dismissal of a lawsuit against Dunkin’ Donuts LLC, ruling that a blind plaintiff who alleged the company’s website was not compatible with screen-reading software showed a plausible claim for relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Haynes v. Dunkin’ Donuts LLC, No. 18-10373 (11th Cir., entered July 31, 2018). The Southern District of Florida previously dismissed the complaint, reasoning that the plaintiff had "failed to allege a nexus between the barriers to access that he faced on the website and his inability to access goods and services at Dunkin’ Donuts’ physical store." The appellate panel found that “the prohibition on discrimination is not limited to tangible barriers that disabled persons face but can extend to intangible barriers as well. ... It appears that the website is a service that facilitates the use of Dunkin’ Donuts’ shops, which are places of public accommodation. And…

Brinker International Inc. faces a putative class action alleging hackers stole customers' personally identifiable information (PII) from point-of-sale systems at Chili's Grill & Bar in April and May 2018. Steinmetz v. Brinker Int'l, Inc, No. 18-0981 (D. Nev., filed May 30, 2018). The plaintiff seeks damages, an injunction and attorney's fees for negligence and alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Nevada consumer-protection law. Wendy’s International LLC has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging that a similar point-of-sale breach exposed customers’ PII at more than 1,000 locations nationwide. Jackson v. Wendy's Int'l LLC, No. 16-0210 (M.D. Fla., entered May 25. 2018). The lawsuit was previously dismissed, then an amended complaint proceeded. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. An Illinois federal court dismissed a putative class action without prejudice after the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed claims related to a data breach of Panera Bread Co.’s customer records because none…

A woman has filed a lawsuit alleging she was hospitalized after eating Salmonella-contaminated eggs from Rose Acre Farms Inc. Roberts v. Rose Acre Farms, Inc., No. 18-61082 (S.D. Fla., filed May 14, 2018). The plaintiff alleges that she purchased eggs packaged by Coburn Farms, a Sav-A-Lot Food Stores brand, and became ill enough to require two hospitalizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked Rose Acre Farms eggs to a nine-state outbreak of Salmonella infections. Claiming strict product liability, breach of warranty, negligence and negligence per se, the plaintiff seeks damages and attorney’s fees.

The Florida attorney general has filed a lawsuit alleging Miami-based Icebox Cafe violated the state's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by advertising its food and beverage items as locally sourced and "farm-to-table" while the ingredients were purchased from traditional commercial vendors. Office of the Attorney Gen. v. Icebox Cafe LC, No. __ (Fla. Cir. Ct., Miami-Dade Cty., filed May 4, 2018). The state alleges that Icebox Cafe "represented that it purchased products from specific Florida farms and suppliers when such was not the case." According to the complaint, Icebox Cafe's invoices indicate that most of its ingredients were purchased from commercial distributors while its advertising stated that its food was made from products purchased from a local farm and a local seafood distributor. The cafe also allegedly represented that its menu items contained wild salmon and same-day-caught fish, but its invoices did not show purchases of those items. Claiming deceptive representation,…

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