Consumers File Class Action Against Coke Alleging False Health Claims
In October 2009, consumers filed a false advertising lawsuit against The Coca-Cola Company alleging false health claims about the VitaminWater drink line. The plaintiffs challenged a variety of marketing practices including claims that VitaminWater “reduces the risk of chronic disease, reduces the risk of eye disease, promotes healthy joints, and supports optimal immune function.” The lawsuit is based on a number of state false advertising laws.
Court Allows False Health Claims Lawsuit to Continue Against Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola filed a motion to dismiss the case that was denied in large part by U.S. District Court Judge John Gleeson in July 2010. The court rejected Coke’s argument that “no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking VitaminWater was a healthy beverage.” Judge Gleeson reasoned there was a “potential for confusion” due to claims made about VitaminWater on its packaging and in advertising, including:
- “vitamin enhanced water beverage,” and
- “vitamins + water = all you need.”
Judge Gleeson noted that the various product descriptions “have the potential to reinforce a consumer’s mistaken belief that the product is comprised of only vitamins and water.”
Other Recent False Health Suits against Food and Beverage Companies
The VitaminWater class action lawsuit is one of several recent lawsuits brought by consumers against based on alleged misleading food labels. In cases involving Kashi foods and AriZona, consumers alleged the products were falsely advertised as “all natural.” Similarly, consumers filed suits against Ben & Jerry’s and Snapple, also alleging that “all natural” labels were misleading.
Questions about False Health Claims?
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