NEW YORK, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ — A class action lawsuit was filed late yesterday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against the Coca-Cola Company alleging that Coca-Cola has used deceptive advertising in marketing its VitaminWater line of beverages. The plaintiff is represented by Whatley Drake & Kallas, LLC (“WDK”), Reese Richman LLP, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
The complaint alleges that Coca-Cola deceived consumers by marketing VitaminWater as a healthy alternative to soft drinks formulated to provide a host of health benefits including reducing the risk of certain diseases, promoting healthy joints, and supporting optimal immune function. Contrary to Coca-Cola’s claims of health benefits, the complaint alleges that the 33 grams of sugar in each bottle of VitaminWater may contribute to serious health problems, such as obesity and diabetes.
“Consumers are increasingly health-conscious, with more and more people avoiding soft drinks in favor of healthier alternatives,” said WDK attorney Patrick Sheehan. “Coca-Cola has taken advantage of that trend — and of consumers — by purposefully misrepresenting their product as ‘healthy’ when in fact it is essentially sugar water with a few added vitamins. Consumers should not have to look beyond the misleading claims on VitaminWater labels in order to discover the truth on an ingredients list.”
VitaminWater does not name Coca-Cola anywhere on its packaging or labeling, instead marketing these purportedly healthy drinks without any reference to the soft drink manufacturer that produces them.
“It’s clear that Coca-Cola has attempted to market an alternative to its soda products in a way that deliberately deceives consumers,” continued Sheehan. “Whatley Drake & Kallas is proud to be playing a role in protecting those consumers through this class action suit filed on their behalf.”
WDK is a 35-attorney law firm with offices in New York, Birmingham and Boston that primarily represents consumers, injured workers, unions and small businesses and is known for its work on class action suits, including recent products liability cases involving lead-contaminated toys sold by Mattel and baby bottles containing the dangerous chemical bisphenol-A sold by a variety of manufacturers. In November, 2007, WDK was named to the prestigious National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List.