A federal court in California has dismissed some of the putative class claims filed against Twining North America, Inc., alleging that the company misled consumers by labeling its green tea products as a “natural source of antioxidants.” Lanovaz v. Twinings N. Am., Inc., No. 12-2646 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., San Jose Div., order entered February 25, 2013). Stricken with leave to amend are claims based on labels or products other than green tea because the named plaintiff alleged that she purchased green tea only.
The court disagreed with the defendant that the state law-based claims were preempted, finding that by stating its tea is a “natural source of antioxidants,” the defendant made a nutrient content claim regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that the plaintiff was seeking to enforce state law identical to federal requirements. So ruling, the court cited an FDA warning letter sent to the company over its alleged “nutrient content claim.” The court also ruled that the plaintiff had sufficiently stated an injury in fact to support Article III standing requirements and that her claims met the plausibility requirement.
Dismissed with prejudice were claims for breach of warranty under the Song- Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act because the former applies to consumer products excluding consumables and the latter concerns warranties against product defect, which is not alleged here. The court further dismissed the plaintiff’s restitution claim based on unjust enrichment, since she already has a restitution remedy under the Unfair Competition Law.