Angel A. Garganta

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The coming of spring has been accompanied by good news for two food marketers—ConAgra and Bumble Bee Foods—in their respective court fights in California. In the Northern District of California, a federal judge dismissed a putative class action against ConAgra alleging that the marketer’s Crunch N’ Munch product violated California’s unfair competition law since it contains partially hydrogenated oil (PHO), a food additive high in trans-fat. The complaint, filed by Tony Walker, specifically stated, “although…
When courts decide to stay actions to await FDA guidance in an area, it’s only natural that our ears perk up. Which has been going on a lot, with cases such as Kane v. Chobani and Swearingen v. Santa Cruz Natural, Inc. Last week, however, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had previously opted to wait for FDA guidance with respect to evaporated cane juice, decided there was no need to wait for…
In a hotly anticipated decision, the Supreme Court yesterday refrained from permitting defendants to end class action cases by offering to make named plaintiffs whole by paying their damages before plaintiffs move for class certification. In Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 577 U.S. ___ (2016), Jose Gomez alleged that Campbell-Ewald violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending him unsolicited advertisements by text message.  Campbell-Ewald was contracted by the United States Navy to orchestrate a…
The debate over the use of trans fats has been ongoing for years.  Despite claims that trans fats are unhealthy, the Food and Drug Administration historically considered them safe for use in food.  Many of our favorite foods contain the ingredient, including Popeyes fried chicken and Betty Crocker frosting and cake mix. On June 16, 2015, FDA banned the use of partially hydrogenated oils (“PHOs”), the primary source of artificial trans fat, unless and until…
There has been a trend of late toward “hand-crafted” goods.  Advertisers, as they always do, have responded to this trend through creative marketing and, as they always do, class action lawyers have not been far behind.  The alcohol industry has been a prime target; for example, Tito’s Handmade Vodka was sued recently by a plaintiff alleging that the moniker “handmade” was deceptive.  Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam and Templeton Rye have also been hit with similar…
Another consumer class action over allegedly false and misleading “natural” claims survived a motion to dismiss in the Southern District of New York on May 15, 2014.  At issue in Ault v. J.M. Smucker Co. is whether “All Natural” claims made on labels of Smucker’s Crisco branded vegetable oils are false and misleading.  The plaintiffs allege in their complaint that the claim is misleading for two reasons: 1) the oils are derived from genetically modified…