A selection of the need-to-know civil justice news for the week of April 15-21.
Washington Legal Foundation
Here we go again. Lawsuits over allegedly deceptive food labels have become commonplace—a tried-and-true tactic for some plaintiffs’ attorneys to earn an easy buck. By claiming that the labels were intentionally misleading in some way, these lawyers and the purportedly confused clients they represent, seek to leverage the specter of a class action to force quick settlements. Unfortunately, this tactic often works. In fact, it has worked so well that entire subsets of labeling lawsuits have sprung up, among them “healthy food” labels, “all natural” labels, and slack-fill cases. We can now add a new category to the list: plaintiffs alleging they were deceived because their beer was not brewed where they thought it was.
Joyce Hanson | Law360
The number of “slack-fill” lawsuits claiming food companies trick consumers into thinking they are getting more product than they actually paid for has jumped more than six times since 2013, and that growth shows no signs of diminishing despite mixed results from judges’ decisions in these cases.
Lawyers who sue food companies say that their slack-fill class suits serve a greater good because they protect consumers and keep companies honest. But lawyers defending the companies say these are often frivolous nuisance suits that end up passing on legal costs to consumers in the supermarket check-out line. And at least one judge has agreed, saying a slack-fill complaint against Advil bottles labeled with a pill count couldn’t even “pass the proverbial laugh test.”
If you eat, then you are probably a member of a class action. In fact, it is likely that without your knowledge, plaintiffs’ lawyers have told courts that they represent you in dozens of lawsuits.
Jonathan Stempel | Reuters
A lawsuit accusing Nestle Purina Petcare Co. of fooling dog owners into thinking its Beggin’ dog treats are made mostly of real bacon has been dropped.