A federal court in New Jersey has denied without prejudice the motion to certify three classes of multi-state claimants alleging that Beam Global Spirits & Wine falsely markets and sells its “Skinnygirl Margarita” product as “all natural” and a “healthy alternative to other commercial Margarita products.” Stewart v. Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., No. 11-5149 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D.N.J., order entered June 26, 2014). Under Third Circuit Court of Appeals precedent, the court determined that class membership, essentially via affidavit relying on potentially faulty memory, was not sufficiently ascertainable. The plaintiffs will have the opportunity to renew their motion at any appropriate time “specifically taking into account the rulings in Marcus, Hayes, and Carrera.”

Among other matters, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that the affidavits could be cross-checked using social media—for example, the “likes” or comments on the defendants’ Skinnygirl Facebook pages, or the companies’ consumer email records—or retailer records that would only show the number of bottles sold by location and not the identity of specific individuals. The court further rejected claims that a class-action administrator could use “proven algorithms to identify fraudulent claims based on data and behavioral patterns tailored to this case.” According to the court, the plaintiffs have not shown that these methods would actually work, “and Plaintiffs have done nothing but provide ‘mere assurances’ that [they] will.”