The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC was named in a class acton lawsuit over the advertising of its homestyle mashed potatoes. The front of the package states the labels state “Made with Real Milk & Butter.” In contrast, the ingredient deck on the back of the label shows the product contains margarine which the complaint contends is the opposite of real butter.
Butter and margarine have forever been rival food products unlike any other foods which have existed. Butter is the quintessential natural and simple food, produced by churning the cream at the top of a cow’s milk until the fat solidifies. Margarine, in contrast, is made through converting vegetable oils from liquid to solid through hydrogenation, fractionation and interesterification, in the presence of chemical and enzymatic catalysts.
Ultimately, as alleged, there is no expectation by a reasonable consumer that mashed potatoes would be consumed with butter and margarine – the front label declaration of butter is the de facto exclusion of margarine.
This consumer class action arises from defective Theta II engines found in hundreds of thousands of Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the United States.
As alleged, the Theta II engine’s fuel injection system causes contaminants to enter the engine’s oil supply. Initial symptoms of the Defect include a knocking noise from the engine, a reduction in engine power, and engine stalling events (the “Defect”). When the level of contaminants in the oil supply sufficiently thicken the Theta II engine’s oil supply, the engine fails, leading to an immediate loss of engine power and power steering. The Defect thus creates a safety hazard for not only the vehicle’s occupants but the occupants of nearby vehicles. Countless consumer complaints to Hyundai, Kia and traffic safety authorities detail the safety risks and economic burdens of vehicles prone to total and unexpected engine failure.
The only remedy for the Defect is replacing the engine with another defective Theta II engine. Though the Defect is covered by Defendants’ written 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranties, Defendants routinely deny warranty coverage to engines consumed by the Defect by blaming the engine-killing oil sludge on inadequate maintenance or the use of aftermarket oil filters.
Between 2015 and 2017, Defendants recalled 1.5 million vehicles with Theta II engines in North America. Each recall addressed knocking noises, engine stalls, and sudden engine failures. Though the recalls cover Theta II engines manufactured over a five-year period in at least two continents, in each instance, Defendants attributed the recall to the same underlying cause: leftover metal debris in the engine from the manufacturing process.
Reports suggest that in 2016, a Hyundai engineer informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) that Defendants have long been aware that the Theta II engines possess a design flaw affecting all Theta II engines. These reports are consistent with the experience of Plaintiff and countless other owners and lessees of vehicles with defective Theta II engines that have not been recalled (the “Class Vehicles”). Non-recalled Theta II engines are failing because of the Defect in numbers that in some cases exceed the failure rates of recalled vehicles.
This case seeks protection and relief for owners of the Class Vehicles for the harm they have suffered, and the safety risks they face, from Defendants’ unfair, unlawful, and deceptive trade practices.
Trader Joe’s Company sells formed fruit bar products under the “Trader Joe’s” brand (the “Products”). The Products are available in no fewer than four combinations, all of which include apples and one of either banana, coconut, mango or strawberry. The front label usually lists just the fruit contained in the product. The Products’ claims are based on minimalism, whereas they are characterized and perceived by consumers as being made “only of fruit.” According to the complaint, this is intended to distinguish the Products from those fruit-based snacks which have been a staple of American school lunch boxes for decades – the fruit roll-up (a version of fruit leather).
As alleged, however, the fruit in the product is not the result of mashing whole fruit, but rather a highly processed powder. By listing ingredients with a collective name, a reasonable consumer gets the impression that the raw material used for the product existed in its whole, intact form at the direct point prior to the production of the products. This gives consumers the impression that the products are necessarily fresher and healthier, because their purported component ingredients were not made years ago, and do not contain preservatives, which may be necessary if they remained on a warehouse shelf until the time they were used in the products.
Defendant Huuuge owns and operates a video game development company in the “casual games” industry— computer games designed to appeal to a mass audience of casual gamers. Amongst the games Defendant owns and operates is a popular online casino under the name Huuuge Casino.
In Huuuge Casino, Defendant offers a multitude of electronic versions of slot machines to consumers. Huuuge Casino is available on Android, Apple iOS, and Amazon devices. Defendant provides a bundle of free “chips” to first-time visitors of its online casino that can be used to wager on its games. After consumers inevitably lose their initial allotment of chips, Huuuge attempts to sell them additional chips starting at $4.99 for 100,000,000 chips. Without chips, consumers cannot play the gambling game.
Freshly topped off with additional chips, consumers wager to win more chips. The chips won by consumers playing Defendant’s games of chance are identical to the chips that Defendant sells. Thus, by wagering 100,000,000 chips that were purchased for $4.99, consumers have the chance to win hundreds of thousands of additional chips that they would otherwise have to purchase.
As alleged, by operating its online casino, Defendant has violated Washington law and illegally profited from tens of thousands of consumers.
This case concerns Defendants’ false and deceptive marketing and sale of Cascadian Farm brand frozen fruits and vegetables. Defendants’ identical misrepresentations mislead consumers into believing that all of their frozen fruit and vegetable products are grown on an organic farm in Skagit Valley, a small region in the state of Washington along the Skagit River in the Cascade mountains. In truth, Defendants’ frozen fruit and vegetables are not grown on a farm in the Cascades mountain range and/or in the Skagit Valley region. Rather, because Defendants are multinational agro-businesses, the fruit and vegetables used in their frozen products are sourced from all over the United States and the world.
This is a class action brought on behalf of Plaintiff and a nationwide class of consumers who purchased certain New England Coffee Company coffees. Plaintiff purchased NECC’s Hazelnut Crème Coffee. The front of the package prominently described the coffee as Hazelnut Cream and indicated only that it was a medium blend with a rich nutty flavor leaving the Plaintiff and fellow consumers to reasonably believe that the coffee contained enough of its characterizing ingredient (i.e. hazelnut) to provide it with the promised flavor. In truth, however, the Hazelnut Crème Coffee contains none of its characterizing ingredient, and instead is both artificially and naturally flavored.
Bai sells a number of beverages including “Bai Antioxidant Infusion Brasilia Blueberry,” “Bai Antioxidant Infusion Ipanema Pomegranate,” “Bai Antioxidant Infusion Malawi Mango,” “Bai Bubbles Sparkling Antioxidant Infusion Bolivia Black Cherry,” and “Bai Bubbles Sparkling Antioxidant Infusion Jamaica Blood Orange.” As alleged, these Products are labeled as if they contain only natural ingredients and are flavored only with natural ingredients when in truth the Products contain undisclosed artificial flavors in violation of state and federal law. Specifically, these products contain a synthetic chemical flavoring compound identified as malic acid – a synthetic chemical that makes manufactured food products taste like fresh fruit – like blueberries, mangos, or cherries, for example
The complaint contends Bai adds a synthetic industrial chemical called d-l-malic acid, 3 in the form of a racemic mixture of d- and l-isomers, to flavor the Products and make them taste like fresh fruit. The malic acid in the Products is not naturally-occurring, but is in fact manufactured in petrochemical plants from benzene or butane—components of gasoline and lighter fluid, respectively—through a series of chemical reactions, some of which involve highly toxic chemical precursors and byproduct.
That’s It Nutrition, LLC manufactures and sells snack food products under the brand “That’s it.” The Products consist of (1) fruit bars, (2) fruit bars with added spicy ingredients, (3) chocolate-covered fruit pieces (4) vegetable bars. The products labeling claim: “No Purees or Juices,” “No Sulfur or Sulfites,” “No Sugar Added,” “No Preservatives,” the “2 ingredient snack,” “Just Fruit” and “Fruit is all we use.” According to the complaint, the labeling conveys that the defendant was responsible for taking the whole intact fruit, washing it, dicing or chopping it, then mashing it together to form the final bar, so that the product can credibly attest that it contains ingredients identified by a collective name.
As alleged, by listing ingredients with a collective name, a reasonable consumer gets the impression that the raw material existed in its whole, intact form, which means the products are necessarily fresher because its component ingredients were not made years ago and sat on a warehouse shelf until the time they were used in the products. It is misleading, however, to list ingredients with a collective name because consumers are unable to distinguish the value, quality and nature of the actual ingredients prior to purchase.
The complaint claims the labeling is misleading because That’s It does not convert whole, intact fruits or vegetables into the final product. Rather, the Products contain ingredients which have already been subjected to various levels of processing and transformation such that designating them by their collective name is misleading. The Complaint contends that rather than containing fruit, the bars are made from a highly processed fruit powder.
StarKist is one of the largest producers of seafood products in the United States. As alleged, StarKist’s products contain a mislabeling representations that causes consumers to falsely believe that StarKist products are healthier than products made by other food manufacturers. Specifically, StarKist prominently displays the American Heart Association
“Heart-Check Mark” on products. The complaint contends that reasonable consumers see the Heart-Check Mark and would mistakenly believe that a product with a Heart-Check Mark is healthier than a product without a Heart-Check Mark. In truth, however, the Heart-Check Mark is nothing more than a paid endorsement which Starkist fails to inform the consuming public.
As alleged, the Nestle labels SweeTARTS as if they contain only natural ingredients and are flavored only with natural ingredients when the Product actually contains undisclosed artificial flavors in violation of state and federal law. Defendant’s packaging, labeling, and advertising scheme is intended to give California consumers the impression that they are buying a premium, “all natural” product with natural flavoring ingredients instead of a product that is artificially flavored.
Plaintiff, who was deceived by Defendant’s unlawful conduct and purchased the Products in California, brings this action on her own behalf and on behalf of California consumers to remedy Defendant’s unlawful acts.