SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) - Bear Naked Inc. has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it falsely labeled food products as "100% Natural" and "100% Pure & Natural" when they included synthetic and artificial ingredients.
Class members who purchased Bear Naked products between Sept. 21, 2007, and May 1 may be eligible for benefits from the settlement.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit alleged that they purchased Bear Naked food products based, at least in part, on the allegedly misleading statements printed on the products' labels that the products were "100% Natural" or "100% Pure & Natural."
Bear Naked denies that it did anything wrong and asserts that its labels were truthful and consistent with the law.
On May 27, the order preliminarily approving the settlement was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
The proposed settlement provides for monetary relief to the settlement class by requiring Bear Naked to pay $325,000 into a settlement fund.
Chanee Thurston, the named plaintiff in the class action, may apply for a $2,000 incentive award from the settlement fund, according to the order.
Class members may seek reimbursement of $.50 per package for every Bear Naked product purchased between Sept. 21, 2007, to May 1. Those without proof of purchase can submit a claim for up to $10 per household.
In 2011, the plaintiff filed her class action complaint against Bear Naked, and it and another class action complaint against the company were consolidated. On March 12, 2012, the first amended consolidated complaint was filed.
On April 11, 2012, Bear Naked filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and on July 16, 2012, the court granted in part and denied in part the defendant's motion to dismiss, according to the order.
The court dismissed the plaintiff's Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act cause of action and on Aug. 15, 2012, Bear Naked answered the complaint.
On April 15, 2013, the plaintiff filed a motion for class certification, which was granted on July 30. On Aug. 12, Bear Naked filed a petition to appeal the court's class certification order.
On Oct. 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Bear Naked's petition for permission to appeal the district court's class certification ruling.
On Oct. 23, the parties participated in mediation before an experienced mediator and on May 2, the parties entered into a stipulation of settlement.
Class counsel must submit a motion for attorneys' expenses and incentive awards before July 28, according to the order.
A fairness hearing is scheduled for Sept. 2
Thurston was represented by Michael David Braun of Braun Law Group; Maureen Davidson-Welling of Stember Cohn & Davidson-Welling; Joseph N. Kravec Jr. and Wyatt A. Lison of Feinstein, Doyle, Payne & Kravec LLP; Rosemary M. Rivas of Finkelstein Thompson LLP; and Janet Lindner Spielberg of the Law Office of Janet Lindner Spielberg.
Kenneth Kiyul Lee, Dean Nicholas Panos and Richard P. Steinken of Jenner & Block LLP.
The case was assigned to District Judge Marilyn L. Huff.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California case number: 3:11-cv-02890
From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.