Food and beverage class action litigation has increased tremendously over the last five years. While many have ridiculed these lawsuits as ploys to extort money from wealthy food producers, plaintiff consumers maintain that the surge of food litigation suits evidence their growing desire for transparency. Many food-based class actions allege companies are purposefully deceiving consumers with misleading marketing campaigns. Defendants argue that a reasonable consumer should know better than to take their advertising at face value. Even still, defendants are often eager to resolve conflicts without admitting liability and, in turn, rush to settle the matter. Courts are then faced with such issues as class certification or whether to accept or reject a potential settlement. Even more challenging is determining whether a settlement provides a meaningful benefit to the entire class. When courts, however, determine that class members will receive only minor injunctive relief, while class counsel secures grand fee awards, settlements are often denied. Unfortunately, these decisions essentially leave potential plaintiffs without a viable alternative to recovery. Additionally, it allows food producers to continue with misleading marketing practices because consumers cannot hold them accountable.
Erica A. Burgos,
Selling the Footlong Short: How Consumers Inch Toward Satisfaction in Costly Food Class Action Litigation,
Seventh Circuit Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.kentlaw.iit.edu/seventhcircuitreview/vol13/iss1/9