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July 26, 2012 / Admin

Simply Stated: Labels Matter

This week a class action settlement was announced in a case involving thirty CytoSport products including Muscle Milk® and Monster Milk®. The lawsuit alleged that the products contain lead, cadmium, and/or arsenic in violation of California’s Proposition 65. The lawsuit further claimed that the product labeling did not adequately inform consumers that the products contained lead, cadmium and/or arsenic and, accordingly, violated California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the false advertising provisions of California’s Unfair Competition Law. However, the lawsuit did not allege that the Cytosport products or labeling violated the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or that Plaintiffs were physically harmed by the products. CytoSport vigorously denied all allegations and admitted no liability by reason of the settlement.

The settlement affords Class Members who provide original valid sales receipt(s) showing that the qualifying products were purchased between June 4, 2006 and April 8, 2011 a check for reimbursement of the full retail price up to a total of $20. Other claim options are available for claimants who have no receipt.

These types of lawsuits highlight the scope of California’s consumer protection and deceptive advertising laws. In Kwickset Corporation v Superior Court, (2011)51 Cal 4th 310, California’s Supreme Court  wrote: “Simply stated: labels matter. The marketing industry is based on the premise that labels matter, that consumers will choose one product over another similar product based on its label and various tangible and intangible qualities they may come to associate with a particular source.”Id. at 328. California’s Unfair Competition Laws encompass not only those advertisements which have deceived or misled because they are untrue, but also those which may be accurate on some level, but will nonetheless tend to mislead or deceive. . . .  A perfectly true statement couched in such a manner that it is likely to mislead or deceive the consumer, such as by failure to disclose other relevant information, is actionable under California law. Day v. AT&T Corp. (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 325, 332-333.

If you have purchased a product relying on a label that you believe is false, misleading or omits important information, please contact Khorrami, LLP.

 

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