Whole Foods facing class action over Greek yogurt's sugar level

By Legal News Line | Nov 20, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - A California man is suing Whole Foods over its Greek yogurt brand, alleging it is sold with nutrition labels listing sugar levels that are considerably lower than the product's actual sugar content.

Stephen Kubick, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, filed a lawsuit Nov. 10 in the Austin Division of U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against Whole Foods Market Inc., alleging breach of express and implied warranties.

According to the complaint, in June 2011, Kubick first purchased Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt, which is a product in Whole Foods' own healthy-eating product line and labeled as containing two grams of sugar per 170-gram serving.

The lawsuit said Whole Foods' website said registered dietitians examined the labels of its 365 Everyday Value line to ensure accuracy, and Whole Foods holds itself out as a healthy alternative to typical, non-organic grocery stores. Kubick said he was willing to pay Whole Foods' higher price for the healthy yogurt option, which listed a significantly lower sugar level on its label than competitors' brands, so he repeatedly bought the product.

The lawsuit said Consumer Reports concluded that the yogurt actually contains more than 11 grams of sugar, and that Whole Foods either knew or should have known that its label was inaccurate. The lawsuit said competitors' products contained at least five grams of sugar or more, and even plain Greek yogurt naturally contains more than two grams of sugar as lactose. Kubick says had he known the true sugar content of the product, he would not have bought it or would have sought a cheaper price.

Kubick brings this class action on behalf of anyone who has purchased Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt since Nov. 7, 2010. Whole Foods is accused of violating the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the Unfair Competition Law on behalf of the California class and breach of express and implied warranty on behalf of both classes.

Kubick is seeking certification of the class, appointment as the class representative, judgment that the defendant must yield all profits from the wrongful acts, damages, judgment enjoining the defendant from continuing such unlawful practice, attorneys fees and interest. The complaint said damages are estimated to exceed $5 million.

Kubick is being represented in the case by attorneys Marc Stanley and Martin Woodward of Stanley Law Group in Dallas; Shannon  Hopkins, Nancy Kulesa, and Stephanie Bartone of Levi & Korsinsky LLP in Stamford, Conn.; Janine Pollack of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP in New York; and Matthew Zevin of Stanley Law Group in San Diego.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas case number 1:14-cv-01013.

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