A federal court in New York recently refused to certify a statewide class of consumers who allege that Snapple Beverage Corp. misled them by marketing its products as “all natural” when they actually contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Weiner v. Snapple Beverage Corp., No. 07 Civ. 8742 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D.N.Y., order entered August 5, 2010).
The court apparently determined that individual issues, such as causation, injury and damages, would predominate over common ones. According to the court, “Individualized inquiries would be required to determine, for instance whether class members were fully informed about the inclusion of HFCS in Snapple beverages, whether they believed HFCS to be natural, and whether they continued to purchase Snapple despite their beliefs concerning HFCS. Such individual issues would also dwarf any issues of law or fact common to the class.”
The court also reportedly determined that the named plaintiffs did not proffer a suitable methodology for establishing causation and injury elements on a classwide basis. In this regard, the court stated, “Without a reliable methodology, plaintiffs have not shown that they could prove at trial using common evidence that putative class members in fact paid a premium for Snapple beverages as a result of the ‘all natural’ labeling. And since the issue of damages is bound up with the issue of injury in this case, plaintiffs have likewise failed to show how damages could be proven class-wide.” See Mealey’s Food Liability, September 7, 2010.