A federal court in California has dismissed with prejudice a number of claims in a putative nationwide class action alleging that Gerber Products Co. misleads consumers and violates state and federal labeling laws by making certain nutrient-content and sugar-related claims on its baby food product labels. Bruton v. Gerber Prods. Co., No. 12-2412 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., San Jose Div., order entered January 15, 2014). Among the claims dismissed with prejudice were those relating to (i) products that the named plaintiff had not purchased and had failed, in her second amended complaint, to adequately allege how they are substantially similar to any of the purchased products; (ii) company Website statements that the named plaintiff did not view, but that supported some of her claims; and (iii) the theory that Gerber breached a duty to disclose that its products were misbranded under federal and California law.
Because the court found that Gerber’s remaining challenges in its motion to dismiss either addressed factual matters not suitable for disposition at the motion-to-dismiss stage or were premature, it will allow the remaining claims to proceed. The court also denied Gerber’s request that it take judicial notice of the many images of product labels the company provided to establish that its labels changed during the putative class period. According to the court, the images were not sufficiently authenticated, and the company did not “confirm that products with these labels were actually sold during the class period.”They also pertained to questions of fact that are subject to reasonable dispute.