KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) – The plaintiff in a case against Hershey has asked the U.S District Court for the Western Division of Missouri to grant a request for class action certification.
Missouri resident Robert Bratton also asked the court Oct. 27 to appoint him as representative of the class and appoint his attorney as counsel for the class. Bratton filed a putative class action lawsuit against Hershey earlier this year claiming that boxes of Reese’s Pieces and Whoppers candies were large and held less candy than they appeared to.
Bratton alleged that Hershey’s consistently under-filled, or “slack-filled,” its candy packages without any reason, such as to protect a product or leave room on the package for nutrition information. He also stated that he believed by purchasing a larger package, he should receive more product, which he claims isn’t always the case.
The court already has rejected two motions by Hershey to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Bratton, who claimed that he purchased candy boxes that were as much as 41 percent empty.
According to a previous Legal Newsline story, Bratton claimed that the packaging led him to believe he was getting more product, and that the actual value of the candies he purchased was less than the value of the products as represented.
Bratton claimed a violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) for a Missouri consumer and for unjust enrichment brought on behalf of all classes, in which Bratton requested restitution or disgorgement of Hershey’s economic enrichment.
In the request for certification, Bratton’s attorneys noted that Hershey hasn’t denied that every member of the classes who purchased the candies received the same size box with the same net weight and same amount of candy and space inside the package.
They claim that the facts and evidence satisfy the primary factors in federal guidelines for a class action lawsuit, including numerosity, commonality, typicality and adequacy.
Further, Bratton’s legal team claims they will use common evidence to prove that Hershey’s packaging techniques prove it was not above-board. They maintain that if Hershey used nonfunctional slack-fill in the products, the company violated statutory provisions set forth in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.