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Monday, March 30, 2020

Class actions over Gerber Good Start baby formula roll on

By Karen Kidd | Jan 23, 2018


BROOKLYN, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) – A hearing is scheduled later this winter in two class action lawsuits that each claim Gerber Good Start baby formula makes health claims unsupported by science.

The cases have been consolidated since a federal judge granted parts of motions to dismiss over the summer.

The telephone conference is scheduled 10 a.m. March 16 in the chambers of U.S. Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes Jr. in New York's Eastern District Court for parties in Manemeit v. Gerber Products and Greene et al v. Gerber Products. Ramon ordered the conference in both cases on Dec. 4, according to scheduling orders.

Also on Dec. 4 in Greene, the case was called during a status conference in which parties were advised to follow the "bundling rule," which bars litigants from filing a motion until it is fully briefed. A class certification motion in the case should be ready by May 25, according to a minute entry in that case.

Greene, initially filed in March 2016 by Jeremy Greene and Cetaria Wilkerson, is the younger of the two cases. Manemeit was filed last January by Wendy Manemeit. Both cases claim that Gerber has improperly marketed its Good Start infant formula as "the first and only formula" that can reduce the risk of developing allergies such as atopic dermatitis. 

Both cases also challenge defendant Gerber's alleged claims that the infant formula was endorsed by the federal Food and Drug Administration for reducing allergy development risks.

The two statements are false and deceptive, both cases claim. "Defendant's health claims had the tendency and capacity to mislead," the Greene case said.

"A reasonable consumer, for example, would tend to believe defendant - one of the largest and most well-established baby-product manufacturers in the country - when it claims that Good Start can reduce the risk of infant allergies; particularly when Defendant also suggests that these claims had been approved by the FDA," the Greene complaint states.

In August, Judge Margo K. Brodie handed down a memorandum and order in both cases that granted only in part Gerber's motions to dismiss. The court dismissed a portion of their claims under the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Ohio Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. 

Brodie ruled that both sets of plaintiffs lack standing and granted Gerber's motion to dismiss the unjust enrichment portions of both claims but denied Gerber's motion to strike the nationwide class allegations and to dismiss fraudulent concealment, intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation portions of the claims.

In that memorandum and order, the court consolidated the cases.

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Organizations in this Story

Gerber ProductsU.S. District Court - Eastern New YorkU.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York