On behalf of Smiley & Smiley, LLP posted in Defective Products on Friday, June 13, 2014.
The United States Supreme Court is routinely asked to weigh in on some of the most pressing issues affecting our society. In this session alone, the Supreme Court has heard arguments in cases pertaining to gun rights, the privacy rights of arrestees and campaign finance laws. However, the Court also is regularly asked to weigh in on matters that do not seem so pressing at first, but ultimately affect Americans on a daily basis.
For example, the Supreme Court recently ruled that one manufacturer of consumer products may sue another for false advertising practices that “allegedly mislead and trick consumers, all to the injury of competitors.” Specifically, the Court is allowing Pom Wonderful to proceed with a suit against Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid brand.
Pom is frustrated that Minute Maid sells a juice blend labeled Pomegranate Blueberry, which prominently features blueberries, pomegranates and raspberries visually on the blend’s packaging. The Court notes that the juice contains only a ““minuscule amount of pomegranate and blueberry juices… 99.4 percent apple and grape juices, 0.3 percent pomegranate juice, 0.2 percent blueberry juice and 0.1 percent raspberry juice.”
Not every defective product on the market causes the kind of direct harm that leads injured consumers to sue manufacturers. However, it is absolutely correct that industry rivals should use the nation’s legal system to keep each other honest about claims that mislead consumers. When an individual believes that he or she is buying so-called “superfruit” juice that will enhance his or her health but is instead buying sugary apple-grape juice with far fewer nutritional benefits, something has gone wrong and some harm has been done. Consumers deserve to understand what they are actually purchasing.
Source: New York Times, “Coke Can Be Sued by Rival Over Juice Claim, Court Says,” Adam Liptak, June 12, 2014
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