Class Action Against Odwalla Can Move Ahead
A proposed class action lawsuit against The Coca-Cola Co. can move forward after a federal juice in California declined a request to toss the case. The plaintiffs in the suit allege that the company improperly labelled the sugar content of its Odwalla brand juices.
According to Law 360, on February 13 U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers sided with the case’s plaintiff, Robin Reese, who argued that Odwalla’s use of the term “evaporated cane juice” in lieu of “cane sugar” on its packaging was in violation of federal regulations. The court rejected Odwalla’s argument that regulations properly defining “evaporated cane juice” as sucrose were not in effect until August, 2016.
The lawsuit was initially filed in March, 2013 and alleged that consumers were misled into believing the beverages were sugar-free.
“The 2016 final guidance merely confirmed that [evaporated cane juice] met the definition for sucrose already in the federal regulations, and thus had to abide by the labeling requirements set forth for sucrose,” Judge Rogers said.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Won’t Hear Philadelphia Soda Tax Appeal
The Pennsylvania state Supreme Court handed a small victory to the beverage industry when it denied a request from the city of Philadelphia to make a final ruling on the legality of the city’s tax on sweetened drinks.
According to Philly.com, the case is currently under appeal in Commonwealth Court. The so-called “soda tax,” which went into effect January 1, adds an additional 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages. Revenue from the bill is intended to fund community programs including renovation of parks and recreation centers and an expansion of public pre-school. However, the bill has been criticized and challenged in court by the American Beverage Association as well as residents and business owners.
“The Supreme Court’s denial of our request is not unexpected, as they denied a similar King’s Bench petition filed by the American Beverage Association at the outset of the lawsuit,” City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante said. “We are confident the Commonwealth Court will uphold the legality of the beverage tax, just as the Court of Common Pleas did.”
POM Wonderful Accuses Wonder Fuel of “Forum Shopping” in Trademark Suit
The Wonderful Company, maker of POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, has accused Whole E Nature LLC, maker of functional beverage brand Wonder Fuel, of “forum shopping” for a favorable federal court during ongoing proceedings at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Law 360 reported.
In January Whole E Nature LLC asked the court to declare that the Wonder Fuel brand does not infringe on Pom Wonderful’s trademark. In response, Pom Wonderful has filed a motion to dismiss, claiming “there was no alleged threat of litigation.”
In 2016 The Wonderful Company filed opposition papers with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office challenging Wonder Fuel’s trademark.
“Plaintiff’s motives in this case are plainly transparent to defendant; plaintiff would rather have its case decided before this court rather than before the [Trademark Trial and Appeal Board],” the motion to dismiss says. “Its allegation of being threatened by litigation is merely a pretext. Plaintiff is forum shopping.”