Plaintiffs allowed to pursue injunctive relief in class action over 'natural' claims of Tradewind's tea

By Elizabeth Alt | Jun 14, 2018

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – The U.S. District Court for the Central District Court of California granted plaintiffs' motion to reconsider the court’s ruling to dismiss their claims for injunctive relief in their class action lawsuit alleging Tradewinds Beverage Co. violated the False Advertising Law by claiming their ice tea beverages were “100 percent Natural.”

Judge Philip S. Gutierrez issued the court order on Jan. 4 to deny the plaintiffs' motion to strike Tradewind's affirmative defenses and to grant the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration on the issue of injunctive relief. 

Angerlia Martin and Christopher Rhinesmith filed a motion for the court to reconsider their motions for injunctive relief and to strike Tradewinds Beverage Co.’s first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh affirmative defenses.

Martin and Rhinesmith alleged in their complaint that they began purchasing various ice tea drinks made by Tradewinds in 2014 because the labels stated the drinks were “100 percent natural” and used “100 percent natural ingredients.” The suit claims that eight different varieties of the ice tea drinks contain caramel coloring, an artificial ingredient, which is misleading. 

Martin and Rhinesmith’s complaint cited California’s Unfair Competition Law, violation of California’s False Advertising Law, violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, breach of express warranty, and breach of implied warranty of merchantability. 

In April 2017, the court dismissed Martin and Rhinesmith’s claims for injunctive relief due to lack of Article III standing. The court order stated that the plaintiffs’ “complaint fails to state an intent to purchase the same products again in the future and plaintiff’s opposition offers no plausible rebuttal.” 

Gutierrez noted that the 9th Circuit’s subsequent ruling in Davidson v. Kimberly-Clark Corp. held that “the threat of future harm may be the consumer’s plausible allegations that she will be unable to rely on the product’s advertising or labeling in the future, and so will not purchase the product although she would like to.” 

The order stated that in this case the plaintiffs “could allege that they suffer the same continuing injury: the inability to rely on packaging alleged to be 'once marred by false advertising'” and granted leave to amend the complaint for injunctive relief by February.

Gutierrez stated that “the court expects reasonable parties to resolve at least some of the points raised in the motion and opposition without unnecessary judicial refereeing,” and denied the plaintiffs' motion to strike Tradewind’s affirmative defenses, noting that Tradewinds has not been given the opportunity to confer with the plaintiffs yet about their revised defenses.   

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California case number 2:16-cv-09249

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