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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Plaintiff suing over amount of candies in theater snacks seeks class certification

By Angela Underwood | Mar 27, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – A San Francisco plaintiff alleging negligent misrepresentation and violation of state law against an Illinois candy company is seeking class certification for his complaint over the amount of candy in boxes he purchased at a theater.

Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, plaintiff Thomas Iglesias wants his complaint against defendant Ferrara Candy Co. to represent all who suffered from alleged slack-fill in their theater box candy product purchases, which he claims violate the Unfair Competition Law (UCL), the False Advertising Law (FAL) and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) in a March 5 memorandum.

Represented by Los Angeles lawyers Ryan J. Clarkson, Shireen M. Clarkson and Bahar Sodaify of Clarkson Law Firm PC in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the consumer class action alleges that Ferrara’s 5-ounce Jujyfruits, 5-ounce Lemonhead, 5.5 ounce Redhots, and 3.5 ounce Trolli products sold in California movie theaters in opaque boxes misleadingly give consumers the idea they are being sold more candy than they are being given.

“The average consumer spends roughly 12 seconds to make an in-store purchasing decision, a decision which is heavily dependent on a product’s package dimensions,” according to the memorandum. “In fact, most consumers do not bother to look at label information, no less the net weight. Faced with a larger box and a smaller box, both with the same amount of product inside, consumers are apt to choose the larger box because they perceive it is a better value.”

Alleging violation of the UCL, FAL and the CLRA of Rule 23(b) in the complaint, plaintiff’s counsel cites Bruno v. Quten Research Inst. LLC 2011 and Yumul v. Smart Balance Inc., 2010, to point out that “claims under the UCL, FAL, and CLRA are ideal for class certification because they will not require the court to investigate class members’ individual interaction with the product,” according to the memorandum.

“Here, class certification will meet the 9th Circuit’s and Rule 23’s objective of vindicating the rights of consumers who have been misled and financially harmed by large corporations like defendant, but separately lack the necessary resources to pursue an individual action,” according to the memorandum.

“Because all class members purchased the same products, were exposed to the same packaging, and received the same amount of candy (and slack-fill), there is ‘a common core of salient facts,’” the memorandum adds.

Citing several other precedent cases, including, Mazza v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 2012 (quoting Bates v. United Parcel Svc., Inc., 2007), Iglesias alleges he has Article III standing in that “the plaintiff suffered an injury in fact ...the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct, and the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision,” according to the memorandum.

“Each and every class member who purchased the products was exposed to the same misleading product packaging and nonfunctional slack-fill,” according to the memorandum. “Accordingly, the determination of defendant’s liability under both statutes presents a singular legal issue that is common to the class as a whole: whether ‘members of the public are likely to be deceived’ by the products’ packaging and nonfunctional slack-fill therein.”

Iglesias and the class seek attorneys’ fees and cost as well as injunctive relief and restitutionary damages.

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