We have previously reported on the Naked Juice class action lawsuit, which originated based on claims that it falsely advertised some of its juice and smoothie products as “all natural” and non genetically modified.
Naked Juice was first targeted in five separate putative class actions in 2011 that were consolidated in the Central District of California the following year. After they lodged a consolidated complaint in March 2012, the court trimmed the suit’s Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claims and allegations over the products’ “100% juice” and “from concentrate” representations but refused to dismiss the case completely.
In the June 2012 consolidated class action complaint that followed, the consumer plaintiffs alleged that the company deceptively advertised some of its products — including its Acai Machine, Protein Zone and Mango Veggie juices — by using the all natural and non-GMO claims on their labels even though the products consisted of processed and synthetic ingredients as well as ingredients derived from genetically modified crops.
The plaintiffs are represented by Tina Wolfson and Robert Ahdoot of Ahdoot & Wolfson PC, Rosemary M. Rivas of Finkelstein Thompson LLP and Christopher Ridout of Ridout Lyon and Ottoson. Naked Juice is represented by Daniel W. Nelson, Andrew S. Tulumello, Christopher Chorba, Dhananjay S. Manthripragada and Jenna Musselman Yott of Gibson Dunn.
The case is Natalie Pappas v. Naked Juice Co. of Glendora Inc. et al., case number 2:11-cv-08276, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Naked Juice Co. of Glendora Inc. has agreed to shell out $9 million as a settlement deal aiming to resolve those claims, and calls for a class of all people and entities in the U.S. who bought one or more of the Naked Juice products at issue from Sept. 27, 2007, through the date the class notice goes out. to settle a consolidated putative class action in California alleging that it falsely advertised some of its juice and smoothie products as “all natural” and non-genetically modified, court documents filed Tuesday said.
Under the deal the consumer plaintiffs lodged with the federal court, Naked Juice will continue to deny the allegations that its product labels were misleading or false but agreed shell out $9 million for a settlement fund and to redesign the labels to either eliminate or modify the representations at issue.
The company will also set up a verification program for an independent tester to confirm the accuracy of its labels’ “non-GMO” claim as well as a database to electronically track and verify product ingredients for the Naked Juice line, according to the parties’ stipulation. The deal allows for the plaintiffs’ counsel to ask the court for attorneys’ fees and expenses of up to $3.12 million, to be paid from the settlement fund.
“The proposed settlement provides significant consideration for class members and also benefits the public at large,” the plaintiffs in the five consolidated lawsuits told the court in their motion for preliminary approval of the deal.
Naked Juice said in its own court filing Wednesday that the deal was “fair, reasonable and adequate.”
“While Naked Juice denies all of plaintiffs’ claims in these consolidated actions, denies any and all allegations of wrongdoing, fault, liability or damage of any kind to plaintiffs and the putative class, and vigorously disputes that it has engaged in any actionable conduct, it has agreed to resolve the cases to avoid the expenses, uncertainties, delays and other risks inherent in continued litigation,” the company told the court.