Iberia Foods named in class action lawsuit for deceptively advertising olive oil

This is a consumer protection action arising out of the deceptive and otherwise improper business practices that Defendant, IBERIA FOOD CORP. engages in through the packaging, marketing, and sale of the 68 Fl. Oz. Iberia Premium Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil (“the Product”). The Product is sold in misleadingly labeled containers where the words “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” are emboldened and holographic whilst the words “Sunflower Oil &” above these are printed inconspicuously in indistinct, camouflaged ink and narrow font that is barely distinguishable from the background and is readily overlooked by consumers.

As alleged, the “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” is in conspicuous gold that is prominent to the eye. By contrast, the sunflower oil disclosure is in black typeset that blends into the dark green background and will be readily missed once the more ostentatious olive oil disclosure catches the hurried shopper’s eye. By highlighting and emboldening “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” while simultaneously obscuring “Sunflower Oil &” in camouflaged ink, Defendant intends to mislead the rushed and unsuspecting consumer into believing that the Product is entirely comprised of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Defendant intends for consumers to believe that they are purchasing a product which they are not.

This deception is particularly brazen and egregious given that the Product is only 20% extra virgin olive oil and an entire 80% refined sunflower oil. Defendant thus goes out of its way to highlight the minor ingredient while obscuring the major one.

COMPLAINT

Diamond Foods named in class action lawsuit over “made with natural ingredients”  and no preservative representations

 

This is a consumer protection action seeking redress for, and a stop to, Defendant’s unfair and deceptive practice of advertising and marketing its line of potato chips (the ” Products”) as “Made with Natural Ingredients” and having no preservatives.

Products include:

Organic Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Krinkle Cut Potato Chips

Backyard Barbecue Potato Chips

Chili Lime Potato Chips

Buffalo Blue Krinkle Cut Potato Chips

Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips

Pepperoncini Potato Chips

Tropical Salsa Potato Chips

Fiery Thai Potato Chips

Country Style Barbecue Potato Chips

Honey Dijon Potato Chips

New York Cheddar Potato Chips

As alleged, defendant’s “No Preservatives” representations are false, deceptive and misleading because the Products contain the preservative, citric acid. This labeling deceives consumers into believing that they are receiving healthier preservative free beverages even though these products cannot live up to these claims.

The complaint also alleges that Defendant’s “Made with Natural Ingredients'” representations are false, deceptive, and misleading because the preservative, citric acid, is a synthetic compound and thus not natural.

Diamond Foods 10-4-18

Blue Diamond Growers  named in class action lawsuit alleging false advertising

Blue Diamond Growers  manufactures, distributes, markets, labels and sells “Almond Nut-Thins” (crackers) under the “Blue Diamond Almonds” brand.

The Products’ common principal display panel representations include (i) their name, “Almond Nut-Thins,” (ii) a more specific identification as “Nut & Rice Cracker Snacks,” and (iii) vignettes of almonds. The back of the packages state “As The Almond People®, we’re pretty partial to almonds in anything, but we think you’ll agree these crispy crackers go well with almost anything.

As alleged, the Products are misleading because despite the labels naming them “Almond NutThins” and more specifically identifying them as “Nut & Rice Cracker Snacks,” they are actually rice-flour based crackers, which happen to include equivalent amounts of “almonds” as they do “potatoes.”

According to the complaint, Plaintiff believed the Almond Products were made with almonds as predominant ingredient in the same way consumers would observe wheat crackers and reasonably expect they were composed mainly of wheat. Plaintiff desired to purchase a product that was made primarily of almond ingredients and believed that the predominant ingredients was almonds or derived from almonds.

CVS named in class action lawsuit over adulterated thyroid tablets

This is a class action lawsuit over thyroid tablets manufactured and distributed by Westminster Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“Westminster”) and sold through and by CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (“CVS”).

Specifically, the lawsuit pertains to Defendants Westminster’s manufacturing and distribution of adulterated generic prescription thyroid medications containing Levothyroxine and Liothyronine tablets for oral use, branded as “Thyroid Tablets, USP” or “Thyroid Tablets” (hereafter, “Thyroid Tablets”). CVS sold these adulterated generic prescription medications to Plaintiff and other similarly situated consumers.

Levothyroxine (tetraiodothyronine sodium) and Liothyronine (liothyronine sodium) are generic prescription medications indicated as replacement or supplemental therapy in patients with hypothyroidism, among other conditions. Westminster combines both compounds into a generic formulation consisting of a single oral tablet, which is branded as “Thyroid Tablets, USP” or “Thyroid Tablets.” However, due to manufacturing defects originating from overseas laboratories in China, Westminster’s formulation has become adulterated.

On August 9, 2018, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”) posted a notice of a voluntary recall of Thyroid Tablets by Westminster subsequent to multiple violations of the Food Drug and Cosmetics and good manufacturing practices issued there under.

As alleged, Plaintiff and the Class were injured by paying the full purchase price of their Thyroid Tablets. These medications are worthless, as they have been found to be adulterated and are not fit for human consumption.

COMPLAINT

 

Stop & Shop named in class action over false advertising of homestyle mashed potatoes

 

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.

COMPLAINT

Reily Foods Company named in class action over failure to disclose New England Hazelnut Crème Coffee is artificially and naturally flavored

 

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.

 

COMPLAINT

BAI BRANDS, LLC named in class action lawsuit for failure to disclose existence of artificial flavoring

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.

COMPLAINT

General Motors named in class action lawsuit over defective air conditioner in vehicles

The complaint alleges that the air conditioning unit sold in certain GM vehicles is defective resulting in system failure during normal, everyday use. According to the complaint, two defects in the system cause refrigerant to leak out. The absence of refrigerant prevents the evaporator from becoming cold, causing the system to blow hot air into the car’s passenger compartment and, in some cases, causing other parts of the system to fail.

The first defective component is the line leading from the compressor to the condenser. This line consists primarily of an aluminum tube connected to a rubber hose. On information and belief, this line can fail in two ways. First, the aluminum tube can become disconnected from the rubber hose, creating an opening in the line that can allow refrigerant to escape. Second, the aluminum tube itself has a material defect that can allow the tube to rupture, also allowing refrigerant to escape.

The second defective component in the air conditioning system of the Class Vehicles is the condenser itself. On information and belief, the original condenser has a material defect that renders it unable to withstand the day-to-day normal operation of Class Vehicles. On information and belief this defect is most likely due to: (i) the use of an inadequate material to build the condenser, (ii) the use of an insufficient amount of material in the manufacture of the condenser and/or (iii) inadequate weld.

 

The Vehicles involved in this case include:

Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, model years 2015 to date;

Chevrolet Suburban, model years 2015 to date;

GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, model years 2015 to date;

Chevrolet Tahoe, model years 2015 to date;

GMC Sierra 1500, model years 2014 to date;

GMC Sierra Heavy Duty, model years 2015/2016;

Chevrolet Silverado 1500, model years 2014 to date; and

Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty, model years 2015/2016

COMPLAINT

Trader Joe’s named in class action lawsuit for misleading labeling of Joe’s Black Truffle Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

This is a class action against Trader Joe’s Company for its false, misleading, and deceptive misbranding of its Trader Joe’s Black Truffle Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the “Product” or “Trader Joe’s Truffle Oil”) sold to consumers. Trader Joe’s markets its truffle oil as being flavored by actual “Black Truffle[s].” But Trader Joe’s Truffle Oil is nothing of the sort; instead of flavoring its oil with actual “Black Truffle[s],” Defendant’s Product is flavored by an industrially produced, chemically-derived perfume known as “2,4-dithiapentane.” Despite the absence of actual “Black Truffle,” Trader Joe’s Truffle Oil is sold at a substantial price premium over olive oil not flavored with real truffles.

As alleged, 2,4-Dithiapentane, also known as “formaldehyde dimethyl mercaptal,” is synthetically prepared by the acid-catalyzed addition of methyl mercaptan to formaldehyde. Although it emulates the taste and smell of truffles, it is not truffle.

The mislabeling of Trader Joe’s Truffle Oil renders the product completely worthless. By mislabeling its products, Trader Joe’s dupes consumers into purchasing something that is not truffle oil. Nevertheless, Trader Joe’s Truffle Oil is labeled and sold as premium truffle oil, and it commands a significant price premium over other olive oil products.

Complaint

Nice-Pak Products, Inc, Costco and CVS named in class action over sale of purportedly flushable baby-wipes

This class action is brought against Defendants Costco Wholesale Corporation, CVS and Nice-Pak Products, Inc. (“Nice-Pak”) (collectively referred to as “Defendants”) to recover for the harm caused by Defendants’ deceptive, improper or unlawful conduct in the design, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, and sale of flushable wipes. Flushable wipes include all wipe products marketed and advertised by manufacturers as able to be flushed without causing harm to plumbing and sewer systems.

Defendant Nice-Pak manufactures Kirkland Signature Moist Flushable Wipes for Defendant Costco under its generic brand, Kirkland Signature (the “Kirkland Signature Wipes”). Defendant Nice-Pak manufactures the brand Total Home by CVS Flushable Moist Wipes (together with the CVS Brand Flushable Wipes, the “CVS Flushable Wipes”) for CVS.

Because flushable wipes do not disintegrate immediately upon flushing, like toilet paper, they cause serious problems for homeowners and municipalities alike. An article in New York Magazine chronicling the problems caused by flushable wipes points out that flushable wipes do not break down as easily as toilet paper, nor can they, if they are to do their job effectively. Unlike toilet paper, flushable wipes must hold up under the pressure of scrubbing after being soaked in water and propylene glycol lotion for an extended period of time. To be useful, flushable wipes must be strong enough to do their job effectively, which cannot be done if they disintegrate in water as easily as toilet paper. Thus “the very thing that makes a wet wipe good at its job makes it a problem once it’s discarded.”

Plaintiffs and other consumers purchased defective flushable wipes designed, marketed, manufactured, distributed, and sold by Defendants as safe to be flushed (the “Class”). Through the ordinary and/or directed use of flushable wipes, consumers across the country experienced plumbing issues, including clogged toilets, clogged pipes, flooding of home basements and other plumbing problems. Plaintiff and members of the Class would not have purchased the flushable wipes and/or paid the purchase price for the flushable wipes if they knew that flushing the wipes would cause the wipes to become clogged in sewer or septic systems. Absent Defendants’ actions, and had Plaintiff and members of the Class known of the defective nature of the flushable wipes, Plaintiff and members of the Class would not have purchased and/or paid the purchase price for the flushable wipes. And, absent Defendants’ actions, and had Plaintiff and members of the Class known of the defective nature of the flushable wipes, Plaintiff and members of the Class would not have used the flushable wipes in their homes and risked damaging the plumbing systems in their homes, or, worse, causing damage in their homes due to backups caused by the use of flushable wipes.

CVS Complaint

Costco Complaint