FDA warns Popsalot, LLC that its Moroccan Mystique gourmet flavored popcorn product was falsely advertised as gluten free

Popsalot

On June 21, 2016, the FDA sent Popsalot, LLC a warning letter stating that its “Moroccan Mystique” gourmet flavored popcorn product is misbranded and its labeling false or misleading because the product bears the claim “gluten-free” but fails to comply with the definition of “gluten-free” [21 CPR 101.91(a)]. The FDA analyzed the product and found greater than 20 ppm gluten. According to regulations, the unavoidable presence of gluten in the food that bears a gluten-free claim must be below 20 ppm gluten (i.e., below 20 mg gluten per kg of food). A food that bears the claim “gluten-free” in its labeling and fails to meet this requirement will be deemed misbranded.

BMW named in class action lawsuit over representations regarding i3 all electric hybrid

BMW Large

In 2014, BMW’s highly anticipated i Series line of electric and electric-hybrid vehicles were introduced to the market for sale to the public in certain states. These vehicles include the BMW i8 electric plug-in hybrid and the BMW i3 all-electric hybrid.

The i3 is offered with an additional feature called a Range Extender – a gasoline-powered, two-cylinder combustion engine with a small fuel tank that engages when the i3 electric battery level drops to a certain level. The Range Extender supposedly allows the vehicle to operate for many miles (double the mileage, according to BMW) after the electric battery in the i3 loses power and is a large selling point for BMW to prospective owners and lessees of the i3.

BMW’s i3 vehicles were widely touted by BMW as being ideal for everyday use. The class action complaint alleges that actual performance of the i3 REx, however, is far from ideal. Unfortunately for consumers like Plaintiff, model years 2014-2016 BMW i3 Rex vehicles suffer from a serious defect that manifests when the Class Vehicles transition from running on the electric battery to the fuel-powered Range Extender.

Specifically, within minutes after this transition occurs, Class Vehicles experience a drastic loss of power and reduction in speed, referred to as “limp mode,” creating a serious safety risk for owners and lessees of Class Vehicles, as well as other drivers on the roads.

As alleged, BMW also fails to inform prospective owners and lessees of the i3 REx that the vehicle is plagued with this defect and that owners and lessees of the Class Vehicles will inevitably experience a significant power loss or deceleration in certain driving scenarios, including under conditions where the defect can pose a significant threat to safety.

Despite several complaints by consumers about this issue, BMW has done nothing to satisfactorily remedy the defect. The only action BMW appears to have taken is to provide a software update that results in a five-word electronic warning on Class Vehicle dashboards when the vehicle’s electric battery level is low that states “Low Batter: Power reduction possible.” This response is woefully inadequate and clearly does nothing to eliminate the clear safety concerns created by the deceleration defect in Class Vehicles, nor does it fix the actual declaration problem itself.

Plaintiff brings this class action lawsuit on behalf of a class of similarly situated consumers who have purchased or leased one or more of the Class Vehicles.

Class Action Complaint

The Quaker Oats Company named in class action lawsuit over deceptive claims that its product is 100% natural

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Quaker Oats advertises its products as 100% natural and claims its oats are grown using “eco-friendly” methods that pose “less risk of pollutants and groundwater pollution.”

As alleged in the class action lawsuit, these claims are false, deceptive, and misleading. Quaker Oats are not “100% Natural,” but instead contain the chemical glyphosate, a potent herbicide that last year was declared a probable human carcinogen by the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization. Glyphosate makes its way into Quaker Oats not simply because it is used as an agricultural weed killer, but because it is sprayed on the oats as a drying agent shortly before harvest.

While there is nothing unlawful about Quaker Oats’ growing and processing methods, the lawsuit alleges that in light of its growing and processing methods, it cannot claim its products are 100% natural

 

Babo Botanicals named in class action lawsuit for deceptive advertising

Babo

This class action seeks to remedy the deceptive and misleading business practices of Babo Botanicals, LLC with respect to the marketing and sales of Babo Botanicals Calming Baby Lotion, Babo Botanicals 3-in-1 Calming Shampoo, Bubble Bath and Wash, Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Bubble Bath and Wash, Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo and Wash, Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Lotion, Babo Botanicals Miracle Moisturizing Cream, Babo Botanicals Smoothing Shampoo and Wash, Babo Botanicals Smoothing Detangling Spray, Babo Botanicals Lice Repel Botanicals Lice Repel Shampoo, Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport Conditioner, Babo Botanicals 30 SPF Clear Zinc Sunscreen-Fragrance Free, Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport Shampoo & Wash, and Babo Botanicals 30 SPF Clear Zinc Sunscreen, (hereinafter the “Products”) throughout the State of New York and the country.

Defendant manufactures, sells, and distributes the Products using a marketing and advertising campaign that is centered around claims appealing to health conscious consumers that their Products offer “Natural Solutions” and/or were “Natural” and/or “All Natural”. As alleged, however, Defendant’s advertising and marketing campaign is false, deceptive, and misleading because the Products contain various artificial and synthetic ingredients, some of which have been associated with the risk of developing severe health problems.

Plaintiff relied on Defendant’s misrepresentations that the Products offer “Natural Solutions” and/or were “Natural” and/or “All Natural” when purchasing the Products. Plaintiff and Class Members paid a premium for the Products over comparable products that did not purport to be natural. Given that Plaintiff and Class Members paid a premium for the Products based on Defendant’s misrepresentations that they offered “Natural Solutions” and/or were “Natural” and/or “All Natural”, Plaintiff and Class Members suffered an injury in the amount of the premium paid.

 

Department of Education fines Corinthian Colleges Inc., owners of Heald College, $30 million dollars for misleading students about employment prospects

This is the latest story in the for-profit education sector.  After a comprehensive review, the U.S. Department of Education has found 947 incidents of misstated job placement rates to current and prospective students in Corinthian’s Heald College system. These inaccurate or incomplete disclosures were misleading to students in that they overstated the employment prospects of graduates of Heald’s programs; and that current and prospective students of Heald could have relied upon that information as they were choosing whether to attend the school.

The Department found a number of practices that contributed to their findings.

  • Heald paid temporary agencies to hire its graduates to work at temporary jobs on its own campuses – and counted these graduates as placed. For example, Heald paid companies to hire graduates for temporary positions as short as two days, asked them to perform tasks like moving computers and organizing cables, and then counted those graduates as “placed in field.”
  • Heald College counted placements that were clearly out of the student’s field of study as in-field placements. For example, one campus classified a 2011 graduate of an Accounting program as employed in the field based upon a food service job she started at Taco Bell in June 2006.
  • Heald College failed to disclose that it counted as “placed” those graduates whose employment began prior to graduation, and in some cases even prior to the graduate’s attendance at Heald. The Department’s analysis revealed that, according to Corinthian’s own data for 2012 graduates, over one-third of the graduates reported to have been “placed in field” started their jobs prior to January 1, 2012, and over one-quarter started their jobs prior to January 1, 2011.
  • In some of its disclosures, Heald failed to state that it had excluded students from its placement rate calculations who the college said had deferred employment for one reason or another. In one case, a criminal justice program claimed a placement rate of 100 percent, but it had classified almost 60 percent of the graduates as unavailable for employment.

 

The majority of Corinthian’s campuses were sold to the nonprofit Zenith Education Group, which agreed to provide a number of new consumer protections, such as providing refund and withdrawal opportunities to students in poorly-performing programs, and has taken steps to strengthen programs and improve affordability, including by reducing tuition. The sale allowed most students to continue pursuing their career goals without disruption, and the Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have since worked to provide more than $480 million in loan forgiveness for borrowers who took out Corinthian’s high-cost private student loans.

 

LifeLock named in class action lawsuit for misrepresenting efficacy of its products

This is a consumer class action arising out of LifeLock’s false, misleading and fraudulent representations and material omissions regarding its ability to protect consumers from identity theft.

LifeLock markets itself as the “leading provider of proactive identity theft protection services for consumers and identity risk and credit worthiness assessment for enterprise.” Upon this self-proclaimed title, LifeLock offers the following fee-based membership plans to consumers (collectively referred to as the “Membership Plans”): LifeLock Standard, LifeLock Advantage, and LifeLock Ultimate Plus.

LifeLock markets, offers, and sells its Membership Plans as providing (1) the “most comprehensive identity theft protection in the industry,” and (2) service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. LifeLock further represents or creates the impression that its present technology is adequate to safeguard its customers’ personal information and maintain necessary security standards. In addition, LifeLock represents or creates the impression that it is compliant with the terms of a settlement LifeLock entered into with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) in 2010 (referred to herein as the “FTC Settlement”).

Despite its representations, Defendant has (a) failed to adequately disclose that its service is subject to frequent delays and/or freezes; (b) failed to implement and maintain technology to deliver and maintain security standards as promised; (c) failed to maintain compliance with the FTC Settlement; and (d) inadequately handled cancellation requests to the detriment of its consumers.

 

Red Bull settles class action over marketing and labeling misrepresentations

The lawsuits allege that Red Bull’s marketing and labeling misrepresents both the functionality and safety of Red Bull beverages. Plaintiffs made claims against Red Bull for breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, and violations of various states’ consumer protection statutes.

As alleged, Red Bull promises that it “vitalizes body and mind,” by providing a mixture of ingredients that, when ingested, significantly improve, in a superior manner, a consumer’s physiological and mental performance. Yet, Red Bull provides nothing superior for the consumer’s physiological and mental performance that cannot be had from a simple cup of coffee or caffeine pill. According to the complaint there is no genuine scientific research and there are no scientifically reliable studies in existence that support the extraordinary claims that Red Bull branded energy drinks provide a superior benefit to a consumer

If you are a qualified Settlement Class Member and submit a Claim Form, you may choose to receive one of the following two benefit options:

1. A cash reimbursement (in the form of a check) of $10.00; or

2. Free Red Bull products (either Red Bull ® Energy Drink or Red Bull ® Sugarfree, as selected on the Claim Form) with a retail value of approximately $15.00 (the “Product Option”).

You can also obtain the Claim Form by printing it from the Settlement Website, www.energydrinksettlement.com, or by calling 877-495-1568

As part of the settlement relief, Red Bull has voluntarily updated its marketing materials and product labeling directed at United States consumers to address the concerns raised as to the specific representations and omissions identified in the lawsuits and, while Red Bull believes that its marketing and labeling have always been entirely truthful and accurate, Red Bull confirms that all future claims about the functional benefits of its products will be medically and/or scientifically supported. Red Bull has also agreed to work with Plaintiffs’ counsel to work on a mechanism to prevent United States Red Bull purchasers from inadvertently accessing Red Bull’s foreign websites, which may contain different statements and representations than those found on Red Bull’s U.S. website and marketing materials.

 

Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc named in class action lawsuit over marketing of All Natural Dole Salad Kits

The lawsuit is brought against Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc. for misleading consumers about the nature of the unnatural and dangerous ingredients in Dole’s All Natural Dole Salad Kits (the “Salad Kits” or “Products”) including: Asian Island Crunch Kit, Caesar Salad Kit, Endless Summer, Garlic Caesar Salad Kit, Light Caesar Salad Kit, Perfect Harvest Salad Kit, Southwest Salad, Spinach Cherry Almond Bleu, Ultimate Caesar, Value Size Caesar Kit.

Beginning in 2010, Defendant engaged and continues to engage in a widespread, uniform marketing campaign using the Salad Kits packaging, website, and advertisements to mislead consumers about the nature of the ingredients in the Salad Kits. Defendant prominently places the label “All Natural” on the Salad Kits packaging, even though Defendant knows such statements are false, deceptive, misleading, and unfair. In fact, the Salad Kits contain synthetic unnatural ingredients. Dole’s representation that the Salad Kits are “All Natural” is material and central to the marketing of the Salad Kits and is the means by which Defendant (falsely) differentiates the Products from other comparable salad products.

The “All Natural” claim is prominently displayed, not only on the Salad Kits’ front packaging, but also on Dole’s website and in Dole’s advertisements. Unfortunately for consumers, the Salad Kits are not natural. Rather, the Salad Kits contain unnatural synthetic ingredients including Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Phosphoric Acid, and Ascorbic Acid

In marketing its Salad Kits as “All Natural, Dole misled Plaintiff and Class members into believing that the Salad Kids were “All Natural, when, in fact, they are not because the Salad Kits contain synthetic ingredients.

Through its deceptive practice of marketing and selling its Products as “All Natural” despite the presence of synthetic ingredients, Defendant was able to command it premium price by deceiving consumers about the attributes of the Products and distinguishing the Products from similar products. Defendant was motivated to mislead consumers for no other reason than to take away market share from competing products, thereby increasing its own profits.

As alleged, were it not for Defendant’s unfair and deceptive practices, Plaintiff and the Class would not have purchased Defendant’s “Active Naturals” or paid a price premium to purchase them.