• On January 24, 2020, a Northern District of California judge denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint. In Beasley v. Lucky Stores, Inc. et al, consumers of Coffee-mate, a line of coffee-creamer products produced by Nestle USA, Inc. (“Nestle”), brought a putative class action lawsuit against Nestle and a group of retail stores alleging that some flavors of Coffee-mate contained, partially hydrogenated oil, an artificial form of trans fat, even though defendant’s labels included nutrient claims, such as “0g Trans Fat.”
  • In their motion to dismiss, Nestle and the group of retailers argued that the Plaintiff had claimed to only learn trans fat was harmful in January 2017, and thus could not have relied on the “0g Trans Fat” label for his prior purchases. The district judge rejected defendants’ argument and noted that plaintiff’s complaint alleges that he learned at that time that the product “contained an unsafe food additive,” in other words, that the plaintiff learned trans fat was in the creamer, not that it was harmful. In addition, the judge found that the plaintiff had adequately pled that he relied on the packaging’s claims. Ultimately, the district judge stated that the amended complaint adequately noted when and where the buyer leading the suit bought the product and that he had relied on the Coffee-mate labeling.
  • A Nestle representative stated that this ruling is “purely procedural in nature and is in no way determinative of the merits of the plaintiff’s allegations, which remain unproven.” We will continue to monitor any developments.