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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Carrington Tea Co. seeks to dismiss suit alleging 'unhealthy' coconut oil

By Kacie Whaley | Jun 27, 2017

General court 09

SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) – Carrington Tea Co. has filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court of Southern District of California to dismiss a lawsuit against it over claims that it misleads consumers with the label on coconut oil products.

Attorneys with Blank Rome who are representing the company filed the motion June 15. They allege the plaintiffs could not prove their claims that the defendant's coconut oil was inherently unhealthy or that the label on the product was misleading.

The plaintiffs, Elizabeth Zemola and Matthew Beaumont, initially filed a complaint against Carrington Tea Co. LLC on April 14, claiming that the company was misleading the public into thinking its coconut oil was a healthy alternative to butter and other cooking oils, when it allegedly was not. 

The plaintiffs sought disgorgement of all monies and profits, restitution, compensatory damages, court costs, and corrective advertising.

The defense also alleged that plaintiffs also failed to demonstrate that Carrington Tea Co. misled customers into thinking the coconut oil was inherently healthy, as the label on the oil did not claim that it was. 

The memorandum in support states that the label contained a nutrition panel that detailed its potentially unhealthy components, including saturated fat. 

Additionally, the defense states that since Zemola and Beaumont only bought the company's Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and never purchased the Coconut Cooking Oil, they had no grounds to challenge the latter product.

"Plaintiffs fail to allege facts sufficient to support a claim under the UCL (California Unfair Competition Law)," the memorandum states. 

"In addition, plaintiffs’ breach of warranty claims fail because the assertions on the products’ labels are not actionable as a matter of law, and because plaintiffs do not and cannot allege that the products lack any degree of fitness for ordinary use."

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California