Class Action and Product Insights for Your Business
July 07, 2017 - False Advertising, FDA, Food Misbranding, Consumer Products

UPDATE: The Revival of ECJ Lawsuits*

UPDATE: The Revival of ECJ Lawsuits*

*This is an update to a previous post on the Class Dismissed blog, seen here.

On June 8, 2017, Judge Carney dismissed Plaintiff’s class action Complaint because she failed to provide specifics about her own Sports Beans purchase.  The court held that the Complaint was implausible because it only provides a cursory and formulaic recitation that Ms. Gomez purchased the Product relying on Jelly Belly’s representations regarding the ingredients of the Product, and that but for those representations, she would not have purchased or paid as much for the Product.  See Gomez v. Jelly Belly Candy Company et al., No. EDCV 17-00575-CJC(FFMx) (C.D. Cal. June 8, 2017) (Dkt. No. 17) (order granting motion to dismiss with leave to amend).  The Judge noted that “[a]bsent from the complaint are any factual allegations concerning the circumstances of Gomez’s purchase of the product, how she intended to use the product, whether she in fact expected a sugar-free product, whether she thought ‘evaporated cane juice’ was juice as opposed to sugar, and whether she consumed the product.”  Id.

Judge Carney also struck Ms. Gomez’s prayer for injunctive relief, finding that it is impossible for her to be deceived in the future by Jelly Belly’s use of the term ECJ, because she now knows that it really means “sugar.”  Judge Carney accordingly joins the list of district court judges who have refused to allow plaintiffs to pursue claims for injunctive relief given their awareness of the misrepresentations alleged in their complaints.

The court granted leave to amend and Ms. Gomez filed an Amended Complaint on June 22, 2017.  The Amended Complaint provides more details regarding the circumstances surrounding Ms. Gomez’s purchase and consumption of the Sports Beans; it is unclear whether these allegations will survive another motion to dismiss should Jelly Belly renew its challenge.