A California federal court has confirmed its ruling that a plaintiff in a class action against Twinings North America cannot pursue her claim of unjust enrichment because it duplicates her consumer protection claims. Lanovaz v. Twinings N. Am., No. 12-2646 (N.D. Cal., order entered June 10, 2015). Details about the court’s previous rulings narrowing the claims and certifying an injunctive class appear in Issues 485 and 521 of this Update.
In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that Twinings misbranded its green, black and white teas as a “natural source of protective antioxidants” despite failing to meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards for nutrient content claims. The court certified an injunctive class but denied the plaintiff’s unjust-enrichment claim. The plaintiff, seeking certification for a damages class through that claim, filed a motion for reconsideration arguing that the damages available through the unjust-enrichment claim were different from the damages available via the consumer-protection claim, the basis for the injunctive class certification. The court disagreed, finding that the consumer-protection claim offered the same possible damages awards, and it had chosen not to certify the damages class. Accordingly, it denied the motion for reconsideration, and the case will continue as an injunctive-class-only action.