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Lawsuit questions the 'aged vanilla' claims of A&W root beer and cream soda

By Bree Gonzales | Feb 19, 2019

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) – A consumer alleges that a brand of root beer and cream soda does not contain "aged vanilla" as advertised on their labels.

Lashawn Sharpe filed a complaint on behalf of all others similarly situated on Feb. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York against A&W Concentrate Co. and Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. alleging violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and other counts.

According to the complaint, the defendants manufacture, bottle and sell root beer and cream soda carbonated soft drinks under the A&W label. The suit states the products' label states "made with aged vanilla" on the front.

"The representations lead consumers to reasonably believe that defendants' soft drink is made from, and contains, real vanilla extract, and that consumers who drink the soft drink will be engaging in a 'healthy indulgence' if they had consumed products made with real vanilla and will be receiving value for their dollar," the suit states. "In truth, defendants' soft drink is not made from real vanilla but from carbonated water, high fructose com syrup, preservatives and a chemical flavor compound manufactured to mimic the taste of vanilla but with none of the actual flavorings, benefits or value of real vanilla."

The plaintiff holds A & W Concentrate Co. and Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. responsible because the defendants allegedly did not disclose on the drinks' labels that they do not contain real vanilla or that the vanilla content is nonexistent or minimal.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks a declaration that this is a proper class action, certifying plaintiff as representative and plaintiff's counsel as counsel for the class; preliminary and permanent injunctive relief; monetary damages and interest, including treble and punitive damages; costs and expenses, including fees for attorneys and experts. Sharpe is represented by Spencer Sheehan of Sheehan & Associates PC in Great Neck, New York and Joshua Levin-Epstein of Levin-Epstein & Associates PC in New York.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York case number 1:19-cv-00768-BMC

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Levin-Epstein & Associates, P.C. Sheehan & Associates PC U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

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