Snapple Beverage Corp. has requested that a federal district court dismiss the individual claims remaining in litigation alleging that the company misled consumers by labeling beverages containing high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as “all natural.” Weiner v. Snapple Beverage Corp., No. 07 Civ. 8742 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D.N.Y., motion filed September 17, 2010). In August 2010, the court issued an order denying plaintiffs’ request to certify a statewide class of claimants. Additional information about that order appears in Issue 363 of this Update.
According to the defendant’s memorandum of law supporting its motion, while the plaintiffs “seek recovery of an alleged ‘price premium’” that they paid for the products, they (i) do not know how much they actually paid for Snapple, (ii) made no effort to determine how comparable products were priced when they purchased Snapple beverages, (iii) lack any receipt to document a Snapple purchase, (iv) “cannot recall with any certainty the price they paid for even one of their Snapple purchases,” and (v) admitted that Snapple product prices varied depending on where they made the purchase and the availability of discounts.
Without such evidence, Snapple contends that plaintiffs cannot prove causation. In fact, “each [plaintiff] bought Snapple for a host of reasons unrelated to the labeling,” including taste and hydration. Snapple argues, “Neither Weiner nor McCausland identified all natural labeling as his primary motivation for buying Snapple.” Their reasons for making any particular beverage purchase on any day depended on mood, health, the type of container in which available beverages were sold, and taste. Snapple also argues that the plaintiffs’ requests for injunctive relief are moot, because the company is no longer selling any product containing HFCS and labeled “All Natural.”