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October 25, 2013 / Scott Tillett

Coca-Cola Hit with False Advertising Class Action

On October 17, 2013, plaintiff Paul Merritt filed a class action lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court against Coca-Cola Bottling Company. The lawsuit claims that the Coca-Cola misrepresents its beverages as containing no artificial flavoring or chemical preservatives.

Merritt alleges that Coca-Cola deceives consumers by failing to identify phosphoric acid as an artificial flavor and preservative on the labels of Coca-Cola sodas sold in California. According to the complaint, “Defendants knowingly and intentionally falsely stated that Coca-Cola soda has ‘no artificial flavors. No preservatives added,’ despite the fact that Coca-Cola soda contains artificial flavoring and chemical preservatives.” As evidence of Coca-Cola’s alleged misrepresentations, the complaint cites claims on Coca-Cola’s website that “Phosphoric acid contains phosphorous, one of the basic elements of nature and an essential nutrient. Phosphorous is a major component of bones.” Merritt claims that phosphorous and phosphoric acid “are two different things” and that phosphoric acid is “an artificial, man-made chemical, that defendants use both for flavoring and as a preservative.”

Merritt claims that Coca-Cola’s mislabeling and false representations violate state and federal laws requiring food and beverage manufacturers to list all ingredients, including artificial flavoring in their products. Merritt argues that Coca-Cola knowingly and intentionally took advantage of the health concerns of California consumers, mislabeling its products to increase beverage sales. He claims that he would not have purchased the Coca-Cola products if he knew they contained phosphoric acid.

Merritt filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and all California consumers who purchased Coca-Cola beverages during the last four years. The complaint alleges violations of California’s False Advertising Laws and Unfair Competition Laws, and seeks restitution, disgorgement, and punitive damages on behalf of all class members.

If you or someone you know has purchased products in reliance upon false and misleading advertisements, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.


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