A federal court in California has denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging that the company misleads consumers by claiming that its Smart Balance® butter products contain plant sterols that can block the absorption of cholesterol; according to the plaintiff, a single serving of the product contains insufficient sterols to achieve the stated benefit. Aguilar v. Boulder Brands, Inc., No. 12-1862 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D. Cal., order entered June 10, 2013).
Among other matters, the court determined that the named plaintiff had standing to assert claims involving two products that she did not purchase, because the products “advertise the same health benefits arising from the same additional ingredients found on the label in the same position” as the product she did purchase. According to the court, her ability to represent class members allegedly injured by similar products must be analyzed under Rule 23 and not on a motion to dismiss. The court also found that the plaintiff had sufficiently pleaded fraud, misrepresentation, violations of the Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and breach of express warranty.