Author Archives: Product Liability Playbook

“All Natural” May Not Mean What You Think It Means

Nestle USA Inc. is seeking dismissal of a putative class action suit against the company stemming from the labeling of certain products as “all natural.” In Pelayo v. Nestle USA, Inc., currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the plaintiff is seeking to certify a class for a suit against Nestle claiming that Nestle violated California state law by representing that Buitoni Pasta products are “all natural” when they contained synthetic substances such as soy lecithin, xanthan gum,…

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Third Circuit Deals Blow to Class Certification for Food and Low Cost Merchandise Claims

In what is being viewed as a game-changing decision, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a false advertising lawsuit on the grounds that there was no reliable way to identify class members absent receipts or sale records. The decision is expected to make it significantly more difficult for consumers to bring class action suits against food and other low-cost products. In Carrera v. Bayer Corp., et al, Case Number 12-2621, the proposed class, which was certified by the District Court of New Jersey,…

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After-Market Car Parts Prohibition Workshop

New York may have inadvertently banned from advertising, sale or installation certain catalytic converters that are mechanically mandated for certain automobiles. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has established a “workgroup” to address the problem. Subpart 218-7.2 was adopted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and became effective June 1, 2013. That Subpart provides at subsection (c)(1): “It is unlawful for any person to install, sell, offer for sale, or advertise any new after-market catalytic converter in New York State

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Got Refrigeration?

On September 4, 2013, EPA announced a settlement with Safeway, the nation’s second largest grocery store chain, concerning Clean Air Act violations at 659 of its 1,412 stores. Specifically, it seems that ozone-depleting chemicals were leaking from refrigeration units. Safeway agreed to pay a $600,000 fine and to spend over $4 Million in new technology to reduce its emission of ozone depleting gases. Not only is this a “shot across the bow” to alert all grocery store chains to inspect and correct their air…

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California’s Green Chemistry Initiative Regulations Spell Cloudy Future For Manufacturers And Suppliers

Regulations which implement the State of California’s Green Chemistry Initiative are set to take effect on October 1, 2013. However, there remains a great deal of uncertainty as to what chemicals and products will come under the heightened scrutiny of the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). As a result, manufacturers and supply-chain companies face a cloudy future. The Green Chemistry Initiative establishes a process for manufacturers and other companies to review whether they can make their products using safer alternatives to ingredients or components…

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ABA’s Blawg 100 – Nominations Due August 9th

The ABA Journal is putting together its annual list of the 100 best legal blogs, based on reader votes. As publishers of the Risky Business blog, we are proud to be considered for this prestigious list — and we would be honored if you would help. If you enjoy visiting Risky Business, and believe it is worthy of industry recognition, please click here to visit the ABA Blawg 100 Amici page and nominate us before the August 9 deadline. Thank you!  …

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Obama on Climate Change: New Litigation Opportunities?

On Tuesday, June 25, 2013, President Obama announced that he would act through his executive authority to curb greenhouse gas emissions, specifically carbon dioxide, and his target was coal burning power plants.  The government has been wandering in this direction since the decision by the US Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 US  497 (2007), that the US EPA has the authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gasses” emitted from motor vehicles that in the judgment of the EPA Administrator “cause or…

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No Free Labor: Interns May Qualify As Employees Under Fair Labor Standards Act

Just because your summer intern does not expect to get paid does not mean that they may not be subject to wage-hour laws.  A recent decision in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York held that interns, despite not having an expectation of getting paid, may be classified as employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In Glatt, et al v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., U.S. District Court Judge William H. Pauley III granted a motion for summary judgment…

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General Mills Prevails In Putative Class Action Lawsuit

The maker of a wide variety of food products, General Mills, was named as the defendant in a putative class action lawsuit in August 2012.  The foundation for the class action lawsuit was the contention that the food manufacturer misrepresented and deceptively marketed its Nature Valley granola products by claiming they were “all natural.”  According to the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, Nature Valley granola products were made using a wide variety of non-natural ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup.  All the…

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Energy Drink Manufacturers Trend Towards Product Reclassification

Over the past several years the energy drink industry has proven to be wildly popular with consumers, boasting massive gains and a strong foothold in the marketplace.  According to a recent report from Packaged Facts, in 2012, the total U.S. sales for the energy drinks/shots market totaled more than $12.5 billion and are anticipated to swell to $21.5 billion by the year 2017.  Although energy drink manufacturers have had little trouble establishing their product’s popularity, the industry as a whole has also faced increased legal…

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