A federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) court in California has granted POM Wonderful’s motion to decertify a class of claimants alleging that they were misled by health-benefit representations for the company’s pomegranate juice. In re POM Wonderful LLC Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., MDL No. 2199 (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal., order entered March 25, 2014). Details about the motion appear in Issue 516 of this Update. According to a news source, the court found that (i) the plaintiffs’ two damages models failed to support a class action, and (ii) claims that consumers allegedly paid an inflated price for the company’s juice failed to explain how the company’s health-benefit representations caused damage.
As to the practical effects of proceeding as a class action, the court reportedly stated, “Here, Plaintiffs acknowledge that, based on the volume of product sold, every adult in the united states is a potential class member. These millions of consumers paid only a few dollars per bottle, and likely made their purchases for a variety of reasons. No bottle, label, or package included any of the alleged misrepresentations. Few, if any, consumers are likely to have retained receipts during the class period, which closed years before the filing of this action.”Thus, “there is no way to reliably determine who purchased Defendant’s products or when they did so.” See The National Law Journal, March 25, 2014.