Kind Bar Prevails In Consumer Deception Lawsuit
According to reporting from Bloomberg Law, Kind LLC—the snack food company headquartered in New York City—has prevailed in a consumer deception claim. A federal judge dismissed the complaint on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to provide evidence to show how a “reasonable consumer” would be deceived by the company’s marketing. Here, our Miami deceptive & unfair trade practices lawyer explains why the company prevailed in the consumer deception lawsuit.
The Allegations: “All Natural/Non GMO” Product Label Was Deceptive
Kind LLC produces a wide variety of fruit and nut bars. The nutrition bars are largely marketed as being healthier than some of the most common alternatives. Prior to 2017, many Kind LLC products had the term “All Natural/Non GMO” on the product label. In 2015, a consumer filed a class action lawsuit against the company alleging that the marketing was deceptive. Specifically, the plaintiff pointed to the fact that the fruit and nut bars contained some synthetic ingredients.
A Complex, Multi-State Claim: Alleged Violations of Florida, New York, and California Law
The deceptive marketing lawsuit filed against Kind LLC was complex and wide-ranging. Indeed, the plaintiffs alleged violations of several state laws, including the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). In 2021, a federal judge in New York State certified a class action lawsuit against Kind in Florida, California, and New York. The court did so because it found common questions of law related to the company’s use of “All Natural/Non GMO” in its marketing. Notably, the dispute over the “Non GMO” portion of the case was dropped by the plaintiffs.
Why the Company Prevailed in the Deceptive Marketing Claim
Kind LLC has now prevailed in the multi-jurisdiction deceptive marketing claim. Ruling in favor of the company, a federal court in New York determined that Kind LLC was entitled to summary judgment. The key issue was that the court found that the term “All Natural” has not been well-defined or well-understood meaning. As an objective definition does not exist, Kind LLC is within its rights to use a relatively “expansive” definition of the term “All Natural”. A definition that includes certain synthetic ingredients is not unlawfully deceptive in the eyes of the court.
Many false advertising and deceptive marketing cases come down to similar issues. Businesses can use expansive definitions of certain terms in their advertising to “puff up” their products. What they cannot do is make material misstatements or material misrepresentations of factual/objective information. A subject term—such as “All Natural”—is difficult to use as the basis of a false advertising claim in Florida.
Set Up a Confidential Case Assessment With an FDUTPA Attorney
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our South Florida deceptive and unfair trade practice attorneys are committed to solving problems for our clients. If you have any questions about FDUTPA claims, we can help. Call us now to set up a completely confidential initial appointment with an attorney. Give us a call now to set up your strictly confidential consultation. We provide FDUTPA cases throughout Southeastern Florida, including in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.