A federal court in California has granted in part the motion to dismiss filed by the defendant in a putative class action alleging that it falsely misrepresents its smoothie kits as “All Natural” when they actually contain “unnaturally processed, synthetic and/or non-natural ingredients,” such as ascorbic acid, citric acid, xanthan gum, and steviol glycosides.” Anderson v. Jamba Juice Co., No. 12-1213 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., order entered August 25, 2012). Additional information about the case appears in Issue 432 of this Update.
The court agreed with Jamba Juice that the plaintiff had failed to state a warranty claim under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, because “the statement ‘All Natural’ is a general product description rather than a promise that a product is defect free.” Still, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim for breach of express warranty under the Act with leave to amend “to the extent some other basis may exist for this claim.” The plaintiff must file his second amended complaint no later than September 14, 2012.
The court rejected the defendant’s challenge to the named plaintiff’s standing. According to Jamba Juice, the plaintiff could not bring claims on behalf of purchasers of smoothie kit flavors he did not buy; the plaintiff apparently purchased just two of five flavors. District courts in the Ninth Circuit have evidently “diverged on the issue of whether a plaintiff has standing to bring claims of behalf of consumers who purchased similar, but not identical products.” The court noted that the critical inquiry in these cases “seems to be whether there is sufficient similarity between the products purchased and not purchased.” Finding that all of the products were labeled with the “same alleged misrepresentations,” the court found that the plaintiff had standing “to bring claims on behalf of purchasers of smoothie kit flavors he did not buy, and the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over such claims.”