Class action lawsuits against food and beverage companies are more common today than ever before. The majority of class actions are based on claims that consumers have been deceived by the advertising or label of a food or beverage product. Perkins Coie, an international law firm, recently conducted an analysis that demonstrates that class action lawsuits against food and beverage companies are showing no signs of slowing down.
Contact the Alabama class action lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at (205) 933-1500 if you believe that you have a reason to file a class action lawsuit against a food and beverage company.
On August 2, two attorneys from Perkins Coie hosted a mid-year summary on class action lawsuits related to the food and beverage industry. During the mid-year summary, they revealed figures that prove 2017 is on pace for a similar amount of filings as the past two years.
Perkins Coie believes there will be a total 143 food and beverage class action lawsuits filed for the year as 83 cases have already been filed. These numbers are almost identical to the 145 lawsuits filed in 2016 and a bit behind the 158 lawsuits in 2015.
The Perkins Coie attorneys who hosted this mid-year summary stated that California courts have seen 47 class action lawsuits related to the food industry in 2017, compared to only 12 that were seen in New York, the state with the second greatest amount of class actions.
The majority of class actions this year have been filed due to false or misleading claims. In fact, there were 19 lawsuits that were against companies that used the phrase “all natural” to describe their foods. Utz and Annie’s Homegrown are two examples of defendants that are facing these class actions despite any information from federal courts on what exactly constitutes a natural food.
Plaintiffs, as well as their attorneys, state that some foods are labeled as all natural yet, contain artificial and synthetic preservatives and ingredients. The FDA is being forced to define exactly what all natural means so that there can be a uniform, standard use of that phrase.
“Slack fill” or the amount of empty space in packaging is also common in food and beverage class actions. In a slack fill lawsuit, plaintiffs believe they are misled by the size of a food package because the package contains less product than they expected. Jolly Ranchers, Ice Breakers, and Hot Tamales are all examples of food products that are mentioned in slack fill cases.
Unlike the phrase all natural, slack fill has been officially defined by the FDA. However, defendants argue that slack fill can be useful and necessary. Additionally, labels list product weight as well as how many servings can be found. Perkins Coie states that there were 14 slack fill cases in 2017, compared to the 37 last year and 30 in 2015.
It’s clear that class action lawsuits have increased this year, especially in the state of California and will probably to continue to do so over the next few years. This analysis by Perkins Coie will hopefully encourage food and beverage manufacturers to be extra cautious when bringing products to market.
If you are interested in starting a food and beverage class action lawsuit or have questions about how to participate in one, call Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. at (205) 933-1500 today. Our experienced class action attorneys can discuss your situation and inform you of the best course of action.
With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our Alabama injury attorneys will quickly travel to investigate the details of your case and may be able to help you obtain compensation for your damages.