NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) – The makers of Benecol food products have filed motion to dismiss a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In the lawsuit, filed in May, the plaintiff alleged the Benecol maker “falsely and misleadingly” labeled some spread products as containing “no trans fats” and “no trans fatty acids.”

Defendants Johnson & Johnson and McNeil Nutritionals allege that they have adhered to and satisfied all federal regulations requiring that “manufacturers of foods that contain less than 0.5 gram of trans fats label the products as containing zero gram, or '0g,' trans-fat," in their Benecol spreads, the July 21 motion states.

Suzanna Bowling filed suit individually and on behalf of those similarly situated in May, naming Johnson & Johnson and McNeil Nutritionals as defendants. 

She alleged that their Benecol spread products were falsely represented to consumers as being sans any trans fats or trans fatty acids when all the while they were made using hydrogenated oils she considers to be unsafe, according to the motion to dismiss.

Bowling further claimed the blatant deception caused her financial harm by fraudulently leading her to purchase products she would have otherwise had no interest in.

The defendants stipulated that since Benecol is a federally regulated food product, it is subject to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and precluded from the state law guidelines Bowling’s suit sought to subject it to.

In requesting a trial by jury, Bowling’s suit sought compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, prejudgment interest, restitution, injunctive relief, attorney fees and court costs. She is represented by attorneys Scott A. Bursor, Joseph I. Marchese, Neal J. Deckant and Frederick J. Klorczyk III of Bursor & Fisher PC in New York.

Johnson and McNeil are represented by Katherine A. Garceau, an associate with the Tucker Ellis law firm based in Chicago.  

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U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
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