A San Diego County man sued a large American distillery on Tuesday, alleging deceptive business practices and advertising.
Scott Welk filed a class-action suit against Beam Suntory Import Co. and Jim Beam Brands Co. on allegations they falsely promoted their bourbon as being handcrafted. The suit alleged that the bourbon is manufactured using automated processes akin to an assembly line, involving little human supervision.
Maintaining that documentation depicting the manufacturing process in the form of photos, diagrams and video footage supports his assertion, Welk alleged that the terms “handcrafted” and “handmade” are associated with higher quality products, and that public perception was manipulated.
Welk alleged in the suit that he was negligently and/or intentionally induced into buying the defendants’ bourbon. Welk also alleged that he overpaid for it, believing the liquor to be of superior quality; that he should have paid less for it; and would have purchased a different product had he known of the alleged misrepresentation.
Asserting that he and other class members consequently lost money, Welk is seeking injunctive relief, a corrective advertising campaign, compensation for funds spent on the product purchase, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees and costs.
Welk is represented by Abbas Kazerounian and Mona Amini, of Kazerouni Law Group in Costa Mesa, California; and Joshua Swigart, of Hyde & Swigart in San Diego, California.
The United States District Court, Southern District of California case No. 3:15-cv-00328-LAB-JMA