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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

New York judge allows partial dismissal of Atkins Nutritionals false labeling suit

Lawsuits

By Carrie Salls | Jan 18, 2019


BROOKLYN, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) – A class action lawsuit claiming that Atkins Nutritionals Inc. mislabeled some of its food products was dismissed by a federal court, although the court gave the lead plaintiff the option to amend some of the claims referring to the product’s alleged impact on blood sugar levels.

In the Dec. 7 order, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York Judge Kiyo Matsumoto dismissed the first two sets of label misrepresentation claims without allowing the class to re-file the lawsuit on those counts.

However, the court said Colella may amend the claims that question the “Counting Carbs” label “as they relate to the use of the phrase ‘Only Xg Net Carbs,' and the portion of the Atkins Nutritionals ‘Counting Carbs’ label that states that sugar alcohols ‘minimally impact blood sugar.’”

“In the putative class actions, the plaintiffs alleged that defendants misleadingly labeled their products as having low or no net carbs, despite the presence of sugar alcohols, which (lead plaintiff Joseph Colella) alleges affect blood sugar levels, contrary to the claims on the Atkins Nutritionals products packaging,” the order stated.

Matsumoto said in the ruling that Atkins Nutritionals sought dismissal of the class action lawsuit, arguing that “plaintiff’s state law claims related to Atkin Nutritionals’ quantitative net carbs claims and calculation method are preempted by federal law.”

Matsumoto said Atkins Nutritionals also claimed that the suit should be dismissed because of jurisdictional issues, the plaintiff’s failure to “adequately allege injury,” failure to provide a proper notice of the claims and the plaintiff’s lack of authority to seek an injunction against the company.

“The three labeling claims that plaintiff alleges are false, misleading and likely to deceive consumers are (1) the use of the phrase ‘Xg Net Carbs’ while excluding sugar alcohols, (2) the use of the phrase ‘Only Xg Net Carbs’ and (3) Atkins Nutritionals ‘Counting Carbs’ label, which explains the calculation method for net carbs and states that sugar alcohols ‘minimally impact blood sugar,’” the order states.

Despite the claims on the products’ label, Colella alleged that “sugar alcohols are proven to ‘have a significant impact on blood sugar levels.’”

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