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

Family Dollar named in class action lawsuit for falsely advertising Tropic Sun Aloe Vera Gel

This is a nationwide consumer class action brought by Plaintiff on behalf of all individuals who purchased Defendants’ Tropic Sun Aloe Vera Gel.

Family Dollar Defendants advertise, market, sell, and distribute the Product. The Product’s label declares it to be “Made with 100% Pure Aloe.” According to the Product’s ingredient label, it contains “Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.” In reality, according to independent laboratory tests, Defendants’ Product contain no actual Aloe Vera at all.

The complaint alleges that the product’s label is false, deceptive and misleading, in violation of the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetics Act and its parallel state statutes, and almost every state warranty, consumer protection, and product labeling law in the United States.

Banner Health named in class action lawsuit over data breach and failure to implement reasonable cybersecurity measures

banner-health1

 

On August 3, 2016, Defendant Banner Health announced that hackers had infiltrated their systems and compromised a broad spectrum of personal information, affecting over 3.7 million individuals. Because Banner failed to implement reasonable cybersecurity measures, the hackers were able to target and access payment card data at Banner food and beverage outlets, such as cardholder names, card numbers, expiration dates, and verification codes. But the hackers also infiltrated the computer systems where Banner stored its customers’ most private (and valuable) information, including their personal health details, Social Security numbers, health insurance information, financial information, names, birthdates, and addresses. Banner’s cybersecurity was so inadequate that the hackers even accessed the systems that stored information on Banner’s healthcare providers, including their Drug Enforcement Agency numbers, Tax Identification numbers, National Provider Identifiers, and Social Security numbers.

Banner claims that the breach began on June 17, 2016, and that it failed to detect that hackers had accessed its payment card systems until July 7, 2016. It also claims that it did not detect the compromise of patient and employee information until July 13, 2016. Even then, Banner did not publicly disclose the breach until August 3, 2016 and still has not notified all those affected.

The personal information of Banner customers and healthcare providers has been exposed—and their identities put at risk—because Banner failed to maintain reasonable and adequate security measures. Despite having legal and moral obligations to protect the vast amounts of extremely sensitive and valuable personal information it stored, Banner repeatedly failed to prevent, detect, or limit the scope of this breach.

The complaint alleges that, among other things, Banner (1) failed to implement adequate security measures to prevent hackers from infiltrating its systems; (2) failed to employ adequate security tools and techniques to detect unauthorized network activity or failed to respond to indicators of compromise; and (3) failed to adequately segment its networks, which would have limited the hackers’ ability to access the various systems and data warehouses within Banner’s computer networks.

Plaintiff is a former Banner patient who received a letter from Banner informing her that her personal information was involved in the breach. She brings this action on behalf of herself and all those whose personal information has been compromised as a result of the data breach. She seeks injunctive relief requiring Banner to implement and maintain adequate security practices, to comply with laws, regulations, and industry standards designed to prevent, detect, and mitigate, this type of breach, as well as restitution, damages, and other relief.

COMPLAINT

Apple named in class action lawsuit over Error 53 leaving IPhones inoperative

apple-logo

The class action was brought on behalf of Apple phone users that suffered an Error 53 code which is the result of an imbedded function within iOS, Apple’s operating system, that affects iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus smartphones. The code has rendered thousands of the smartphones completely disabled or “bricked” after its users updated iOS or restored the device from a backup.

As alleged, consumers began receiving an Error 53 code in early 2015, and likely earlier. Many consumers raised the issue with Apple representatives immediately because an inoperable phone represented hardships both personally and professionally. Apple representatives told consumers that disabled phones could not be fixed under warranty and were a problem the consumer created by using an unauthorized repair service to fix a hardware issue with the phone. Some consumers had used a repair service other than an Apple service to fix problems such as broken screens and “Home” buttons, but they pointed out to Apple representatives that nothing in marketing materials or purchase documents ever disclosed that their iPhone products would be destroyed by an imbedded software code if they had repaired iPhones using an independent service and then updated to certain iOS versions. Other consumers advised Apple representatives that no repairs had been done but the error code had disabled their iPhone anyway. Apple has regularly advised consumers who have experienced the Error 53 code that their situation will not be fixed under warranty and, frequently, that the only solution is to purchase a new phone. Despite months of opportunity to provide a replacement iPhone and/or restore existing iPhones, Apple has offered no remedy to or relief for its customers. This lawsuit seeks to provide both remedy and relief for consumers of the Affected Models who have experienced the Error 53 code.

The “security features” and “security” measures that gave rise to the Error 53 code were included within iOS version 8.0.1 and all subsequent versions of the iOS 8 operating system, as well as the iOS 9 operating system and subsequent versions. Despite knowing about the security features, Apple took no steps to warn consumers and owners of the Affected Models that updating software or restoring data would result in an Error 53 code that would render the phone inoperable and cause data loss. As of November 2015, it was estimated that more than 62 million units of the Affected Models were in use in the United States, meaning that Apple’s misleading and unfair practices as alleged in this Complaint have had and will continue to have a widespread impact on consumers throughout the nation.

Complaint

The Wendy’s Company named in class action lawsuit over data breach exposing customers’ private information

Wedny's

This is a class action against The Wendy’s Company (“Wendy’s” or “Defendant”) for its failure to secure and safeguard its customers’ credit and debit card numbers and other payment card data (“PCD”), and other personally identifiable information which Wendy’s collected at the time Plaintiff made a purchase of food items at one its restaurants (“PII”) (collectively, “Private Information”), and for failing to provide timely, accurate and adequate notice to Plaintiff and other Class members that their Private Information had been stolen and precisely what types of information were stolen.

Beginning at a point in time presently unknown, hackers utilizing malicious malware accessed the computer systems at Wendy’s locations throughout the United States and stole copies of Wendy’s customers’ Private Information (the “Data Breach”).

On January 27, 2016, Wendy’s announced that it had discovered malicious software designed to steal credit card and debit card data on computers that operate the payment processing systems for its restaurants. Wendy’s released very few details, nor did it explain why it had delayed notification of the public through a press release of the Data Breach. In its press release, Wendy’s acknowledged the weakness of its security system at the time of the Data Breach, and that since the Data Breach it had taken steps to strengthen the security of its systems.Unfortunately, Wendy’s did not explain why such security measures had not already been in place at the time of the Data Breach to prevent the loss of Plaintiff’s and class members’ PII.

According to the complaint, Wendy’s could have prevented this Data Breach. The malicious software used in the Data Breach was more than likely a variant of “BlackPOS, the identical malware strain that hackers used in last year’s data breach at many other retail establishments. While many retailers, banks and card companies responded to recent breaches by adopting technology that helps makes transactions more secure, Wendy’s has acknowledged that it has retained a security consultant to review and look into its systems. The quality of the measures in place are suspect and the need for judicial intervention and consumer and independent oversight is mandated by the circumstances described herein.

As alleged, Plaintiff s and Class members’ Private Information was improperly handled and stored, was unencrypted, and was not kept in accordance with applicable, required, and appropriate cyber-security protocols, policies, and procedures. As a result, Plaintiff s and Class members’ Private Information was compromised and stolen. However, as this same information remains stored in Wendy’s computer systems, Plaintiff and class members have an interest in ensuring that their information is safe, and they should be entitled to seek injunctive and other equitable relief, including independent oversight of Wendy’s security systems.

Complaint