Dole Products Deceptively Labeled as Healthy, Suit Alleges
A consumer fraud class action lawsuit alleges that Dole Foods misleads consumers into believing that certain food products are healthy through their labeling. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Dole markets its products as healthy options, even though they contain excessive amounts of sugar.
The product liability attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing consumers in class action lawsuits. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit.
According to court records, the class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The complaint was filed on behalf of a man from Orange County, California who purchased DPF Fruit & Oatmeal, DPF Parfait and DPF Mixationsm. He alleges that, based on marketing claims, he was deceived into believing that these food products are healthy. The labels tout the products as having “no trans fat” and “no cholesterol”.
The lawsuit alleges that, despite the lack of trans fat and cholesterol, the products contain high amounts of sugar. These products are therefore not healthy, the suit alleges, as excess sugar is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, liver disease and other illnesses.
The complaint alleges that some Dole products contain as much as 17 percent sugar by weight; this translates to over 35 percent of the product’s calories and totals 45 percent of the American Heart Association’s recommendation for men’s daily sugar intake, the suit claims.
Dole is accused of violating the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, which prohibits “advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised,” The suit also alleges breach of express warranty and negligent representation.
The lawsuit seeks to represent all consumers who bought Dole products for personal use. The proposed class does not include individuals who bought the products for resale. The plaintiff seeks trial by jury, compensatory and punitive damages, interest, restitution, injunctive relief, court costs and all further relief the court grants.
In a class action lawsuit, one complaint represents a group of plaintiffs against a common defendant. This group is collectively known as the “class”, and all members are treated as one plaintiff. A class action lawsuit generally alleges that the class was wronged by the same defendant in the same way. In this case, the proposed class action alleges that Dole deceived the class into believing that the products are healthy through its deceptive labeling.
A class action is distinct from a mass tort, such as a multidistrict litigation (MDL) where similar lawsuits are grouped together in one court but plaintiffs’ claims are kept separate. In a mass tort, the severity of each plaintiff’s injuries may vary.
Other Consumer Fraud Class Action Lawsuits
Parker Waichman notes that many different consumer fraud class action lawsuits are underway in the United States. These types of lawsuits are filed when businesses allegedly engage in unfair and illegal business practices that deceive the consumer and undermine competitors who act ethically.
Examples of unfair business practices may include bait and switch marketing, phony disclosure and charging for services never rendered.
For example, a consumer fraud class action lawsuit was recently filed against Elmer’s Products Inc. over its Krazy Glue packaging. The suit alleges that the company deceives consumers by placing a “tiny tube of glue” in a container that is five times the size. This “slack-fill” makes consumers believe they are getting more glue than actually contained inside. Furthermore, since the outer container is opaque, the suit states, consumers are unable to see the real size of the glue tube inside.
“This packaging prevents the consumer from directly seeing or handling the product and leads the reasonable consumer to believe that the package contains significantly more product than it actually does,” the complaint alleges.
“The use of non-functional slack-fill allows [Elmer’s] to lower their costs by duping customers into thinking they are getting a better bargain than they actually receive,” the complaint states. “As a result, [Elmer’s] has realized sizeable profits.”
Johnson & Johnson recently reached a $5 million consumer fraud class action settlement. The company was sued over its bedtime bath products, which were advertised as “clinically proven” to help babies sleep better. According to the plaintiff class, however, there was no real basis for these claims. The lawsuit alleged that consumers paid extra for these products based on J&J’s claims.
The class action included: JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® Baby Bath, JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® Baby Lotion, JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® Baby Moisture Wash, JOHNSON’S® Baby BEDTIME® Washcloths, and JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® Baby Bubble Bath & Wash.
Herb Thyme Farms, Inc. is also facing a class action lawsuit over its “organic” label. Plaintiffs allege that the company falsely labels its foods as organic, despite the fact that they are grown conventionally.
A CVS homeopathic flu remedy has also been subject to a consumer fraud class action lawsuit. The proposed complaint alleged that CVS Flu Relief claims to contain the ingredient Anas Barbariae, but the ingredient is allegedly diluted to the point where the end product is essentially a sugar pill. CVS Flu Relief is marketed to treat fever, aches, pains and chills. Anas Barbariae is an ingredient composed of duck hearts and liver.
According to the complaint, the product is made by taking a one percent solution of Anas Barbariae and diluting it with 99 percent distilled water; one percent of this mixture is then diluted again 99 percent distilled water. The process is allegedly repeated 200 times.
“Based upon basic principles of chemistry, the possibility of there being even one molecule of the original Anas Barbariae in one of the Defendant’s product, let alone all of the doses it has sold and will sell during the class period, is a number beyond the known physical realm,” the complaint states.
Filing a Consumer Fraud Class Action Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a consumer fraud class action lawsuit, contact Parker Waichman today. Our experienced product liability attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).