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Bai Drink Company Sued Over Allegedly Misleading Labeling

On April 19, 2018, California resident Kevin Branca ("Plaintiff"), on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, filed a putative class action against drink maker, Bai Brands LLC ("Defendant"), accusing the company of using misleading packaging that suggests its products are made with "all-natural" ingredients even though they are artificially flavored.

Defendant is a New Jersey-based fruit drink company that sells products such as "Bai Antioxidant Infusion Brasilia Blueberry" and "Bai Antioxidant Infusion Malawi Mango" with labels that allegedly suggest that the drinks contain only natural ingredients. However, Plaintiff alleges that the drinks contain a synthetic chemical flavoring compound called malic acid, which is used to make manufactured food products taste like fresh fruit. "The products are labeled as if they contain only natural ingredients and are flavored only with natural ingredients when the products in fact contain undisclosed artificial flavors in violation of state and federal law," according to the complaint. The suit alleges violations of U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, California state common law, California's Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and California's Unfair Competition Law.

Plaintiff states that he was initially unaware that Defendant's drinks were artificially flavored, and that he has purchased them for both personal and household consumption. He claims that had he known they did not contain only natural ingredients, he would not have bought them.

The lawsuit proposes two classes: a nationwide class for all those who bought Defendant's drinks as of January 2012, and a subclass for California residents who bought the drinks during the same time frame and are protected by the state's consumer protection laws.

Plaintiff seeks an order compelling Defendant to stop packaging, distributing, advertising, and selling the allegedly mislabeled products. Additionally, the complaint requests that Defendant relabel or recall all existing products with the allegedly deceptive packaging and conduct "a corrective advertising campaign" to inform consumers of the same. The suit also seeks restitution, actual and punitive damages, and costs associated with the trial, including attorneys' fees.

The legal team at SFMS has significant experience litigating consumer protection and class action matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact Nick Lussier ([email protected]) or Chiharu Sekino ([email protected]). We can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP is a law firm with offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. SFMS is an active member of Integrated Advisory Group (www.iaginternational.org), which provides us with the ability to provide our clients with access to excellent legal and accounting resources throughout the globe. For more information about our firm, please visit us at www.sfmslaw.com.

Sources

Hanson, Joyce. "Bai Fruit Drinks Sued Over 'All-Natural' Labeling." Law 360. Last modified on April 19, 2018.

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