Class Action Filed Against Big Geyser For Misleading Seltzer Labeling

On April 26, 2020, Plaintiffs Nicholas Mangone and Jodi Spear (“Plaintiffs”) filed a purported class action against Big Geyser, Inc. (“Defendant”), makers of Hal’s New York Seltzer Water for misleading and deceptive labeling of their seltzer products.  Plaintiffs allege that the labels on the seltzer, which bear the phrase “Naturally Refreshing” and depict pictures of lemons, limes, and/or other fruit, are deceptive because these representations give the impression that the products contain small amount of real fruit juice.  Plaintiffs explain that “juice” refers to a natural product, whereas a “flavor,” even a “natural flavor,” refers to a synthetic, highly concentrated form of the compounds which impart taste, created in a laboratory.  Plaintiffs argue that Defendants’ products give the impression that they are made with natural ingredients, such as fruit juice, but that the products are actually made with artificial compounds.

Plaintiffs claim that this labeling is deceptive, in part, because the ingredients’ list on the back of the label lists “natural flavors,” indicating that the flavor is laboratory-made and not natural fruit juice, but that the term “flavor” or “flavored” is nowhere to be found on the front of the label.  Plaintiffs allege that the lack of the term “flavor” or “flavored” on the front label signals to consumers that the seltzers contain fruit juices, when they do not.  Plaintiffs suggest that the law requires the products’ front labels to disclose the added flavor, by including a description such as “Natural Lemon Flavored Seltzer Water” or “Lemon Flavored Seltzer.”  Plaintiffs emphasize that this labeling is misleading because competitor brands of seltzer do include the terms “flavor” or “flavored” on their front labels.

Plaintiffs have brought claims under the New York Consumer Protection Statutes, negligent misrepresentation, breach of express warranty and implied warranty of merchantability under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, fraud, and unjust enrichment.  Plaintiffs purport to bring this case on behalf of all purchasers of the products who reside in New York and New Jersey during the applicable statute of limitations.  The case has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and has been assigned to Judge Cathy Seibel.

The legal team at SFMS has significant experience litigating consumer protection class action matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact John Roberts (jroberts@sfmslaw.com) or Alec Berin (aberin@sfmslaw.com). We can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

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Author: Jaclyn Reinhart

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