A federal court in California has dismissed with prejudice a claim alleging mislabeling of a dietary supplement product under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and has dismissed the remaining claims without prejudice for failure to satisfy the amount-in-controversy requirement under 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) and (d). Bates v. Gen. Nutrition Ctrs. No. 2:12-cv-1336-ODW(AJWx) (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal., decided October 12, 2012). The plaintiff sought to represent a class of those purchasing the defendants’ C-4 Extreme® dietary supplement, advertised as containing DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine), a geranium component.
Because the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act does not apply to “any written warranty the making or content of which is otherwise governed by Federal law,” and because the product is governed by the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the court determined that the plaintiff failed to state a breach-of-warranty claim under federal law. The court also determined that “Defendants sold C-4 Extreme in 30-dose bottles for $29.99. The Complaint fails to state—rightly so—that Plaintiff (or class members) have individually suffered damages in excess of $75,000; the Court sees no reason how they could. Based on the sale price of C-4 Extreme and Plaintiff’s allegations, the Court finds that no class member’s (including the Plaintiff) claim—not just under a preponderance, but with a legal certainty—could possibly exceed $75,000. Accordingly, as a regular class-action suit, there is no diversity jurisdiction here under § 1332(a).”
Noting that the plaintiff also alleged that the case was a mass action under section 1332(d) of the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) “because it involves more than 100 plaintiffs and over $5 million in aggregated damages,” the court ruled that under Ninth Circuit law, at least one individual plaintiff must still meet the $75,000 amount-in-controversy requirement in a CAFA mass action. In this regard, the court stated that it was “unaware of any binding authority that applies the $75,000 amount-in-controversy requirement to plaintiffs in a mass action originating in federal court, as opposed to on removal. … But this Court finds it illogical that the amount-in-controversy requirement for removal would be different (and more strict) than for a case originating in federal court.”