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Consumer Fraud Archives

Ben & Jerry's Sued for False "Happy Cows" Marketing

On July 9, 2018, the Organic Consumers Association ("OCA") filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. ("Ben & Jerry's" or the "Company") and its parent company. The national nonprofit consumer advocacy group accused the ice cream manufacturer of advertising that its product is sourced from "happy cows" in "caring dairies," when the milk is actually purchased from inhumane factory farms.

Class Certification Granted In Canada Dry Ginger Ale False Advertising Suit

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins of the Northern District of California granted class certification to consumers in a case against Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. ("Dr Pepper") on June 26, 2018. Consumers successfully proved a sufficient number of people relied on the claim that Dr Pepper's Canada Dry ginger ale ("Canada Dry") is "made from real ginger," which Dr Pepper's own internal marketing research confirmed.

Instagram Model Files Class Action against PopSugar

Instagram influencer Nita Mann ("Mann") filed a proposed class action suit in the Northen District of California on June 25, 2018, against lifestyle and media company PopSugar, Inc. ("PopSugar"). Mann, who graduated with a law degree from the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University and boasts over 200,000 Instagram followers, accused PopSugar of copying and reposting thousands of her pictures without her consent and profiting off them through an online shopping platform.

Ferrara Candy Co. Agrees to $2.5M Settlement

Ferrara Candy Co. ("Ferrara"), maker of Jujyfruits, Now and Later, Lemonheads, and other candies, has agreed to a $2.5 million settlement to end a proposed class action suit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. In the complaint, plaintiff, Thomas Iglesias ("Plaintiff"), alleged that 41% of Ferrara's candy boxes are slack-filled i.e. filled with empty space. As part of the settlement, Ferrara must ensure that, going forward, all of its boxes are composed of at least 75% candy.

Volkswagen Agrees to $8.5 Million Settlement to End False Advertising Suit

On June 6, 2018, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter ("Hunter") announced an $8.5 million settlement has been reached with Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Group of America Inc., Audi AG, and Audi of America LLC ("Volkswagen"). The payment will end the lawsuit Oklahoma brought against Volkswagen after an investigation revealed the company purposely installed deceptive software to its diesel vehicles in order to allow them to score better on emissions tests.

Majority of Heart Rate Tracking Lawsuit against Fitbit to Proceed

Northern District of California Judge James Donato maintained the majority of a false advertising lawsuit against Fitbit Inc. ("Fitbit") on June 5, 2018, dismissing only plaintiffs' claim for unjust enrichment, finding that it could not be asserted as a standalone claim.

Lawsuit Over Skyrocketing Health Insurance Costs Due to Opioid Crisis

On May 2, 2018, class action suits were filed in five federal courts (California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York) against opioid makers and distributors, including Purdue Pharma and McKesson Corp., Cephalon Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Cardinal Health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. ("Defendants"). The complaints allege that health insurance premiums are ballooning due to the national opioid epidemic which has been fueled by Defendants' aggressive marketing and promotion of opioids. The New Jersey complaint was filed by, Lou Sardella ("Plaintiff"), on behalf of individuals and businesses in the state who have bought private health insurance and have seen their premiums skyrocket due to the cost of the opioid crisis. The complaint alleges that private insurance claims related to opioid dependence in New Jersey grew over 3,200% between 2007 and 2014, and that health insurers have paid for opioid prescriptions that should never have been written and for the cost of treating addiction and other related costs. Sardella's complaint asserts that health insurers (who were not named in the complaint) have transferred the rising costs resulting from the Defendants' conduct to their customers in the form of higher premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. "These higher insurance costs are the result of the companies' allegedly deceptive marketing of the risks of opioids, and distributors turning a blind eye to the amount of opioid pills flooding the supply chain. Each year, opioid abuse imposes approximately $55 billion in health and social costs across the country, and it also imposes approximately $20 billion in costs for emergency and inpatient care," the Plaintiff alleged. Since 2015, Sardella's monthly premium with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey has risen from under $400 to almost $500.

Proposed Class Action against Dr. Pepper alleging Canada Dry Ginger Ale Does Not Contain Real Ginger

A class action was filed on July 27, 2017 alleging Canada Dry Ginger Ale ("Canada Dry"), owned by Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. ("Dr. Pepper"), does not contain a detectable amount of actual ginger and that the company falsely labels and markets its beverage. U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark, a Missouri federal judge, ruled on April 25, 2018 that the suit presents enough facts to make a case and denied Dr. Pepper's motion to dismiss Missouri resident Arnold E. Webb Jr.'s ("Webb") consumer fraud suit.

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.

Facebook Users Granted Class Certification in Facial Recognition Suit

On April 16, 2018, the Honorable James Donato, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, granted class certification to a group of Illinois Facebook users ("Plaintiffs") who claim that the social media company, Facebook, Inc. ("Facebook" or "Defendant"), scanned images of their faces as part of its "Tag Suggestions" feature without first obtaining their consent, in violation of Illinois' Biometric Information Privacy Act ("BIPA").