A federal court in California has denied the class certification motion filed by a woman who sought to represent anyone in the state who had purchased products in entire beverage lines produced by the defendant, because she had purchased just five specific products and thus her labeling and misbranding claims were not typical of those of the putative class. Major v. Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., No. 12-3067 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., San Jose Div., decided June 10, 2013).
The amended complaint alleged that the company’s juice and drink products were unlawfully labeled “No Sugar Added” or had improper nutrient claims or false representations that the products were “free from artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.” While the plaintiff had purchased five beverages, including a Diet Sparkling Pomegranate Blueberry drink, she sought to certify a class of purchasers of entire product lines, such as 100% juice and Sparkling. According to the court, the plaintiff “has not met her burden of showing that her claims are typical of those of the proposed class members pursuant to Rule 23(a)(3).” Her proposed classes, in the court’s view, “are so broad and indefinite that they encompass products that she herself did not purchase.”
For example, as to her mislabeling causes of action pertaining to the Diet Sparkling Pomegranate Blueberry drink, the court notes that the claims are based on “the specific label of this specific drink product. . . . The evidence needed to prove Plaintiff’s claim that the Diet Sparkling Pomegranate Blueberry drink contained false or misleading labeling is not probative of the claims of unnamed class members who purchased products within the ‘Sparkling’ line that did not contain blueberries.”