On Thursday, a California federal judge granted preliminary approval to a $3.4 million settlement of a class action lawsuit that alleged Trader Joe’s Co. falsely advertised some of its products as “all natural” when they actually contained artificial ingredients.
U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick approved the Trader Joe’s class action settlement after finding that its terms “appear sufficient, fair, reasonable and adequate” to the settlement Class Members.
Under the terms of the class action settlement, Trader Joe’s will establish a settlement fund of nearly $3.4 million to cover class awards and administrative costs. Class Members who can provide proof of purchase will be eligible for a payment of the average price of the purchased products. Class Members without proof of purchase will be eligible for an award ranging from $2.70 and $39.99.
The class action lawsuit, filed in October 2011 by plaintiffs Tamar Davis Larsen and Aran Eisenstat, alleged Trader Joe’s deceptively marketed products as “All Natural” and “100% Natural” even though they contain ingredients that are recognized as synthetic chemicals by federal regulations. The plaintiffs argued that this false advertising allowed Trader Joe’s to profit substantially from the purchases of these products.
“In light of the food labels’ ‘All Natural’ representations, a reasonably prudent consumer would certainly not normally expect the food products to include synthetic or artificial ingredients,” the class action lawsuit said. “Indeed, as a result of this false and misleading labeling, Defendant was able to sell these purportedly “All Natural” products to thousands of unsuspecting consumers in California and throughout the United States and to profit handsomely from these transactions.”
The class action lawsuit included allegations of common law fraud; unjust enrichment; false advertising; unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices in violation of the Unfair Competition Law; and violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
Class Members of the Trader Joe’s class action settlement include all U.S. consumers who made retail purchases on or after Oct. 24, 2007 of one or more Trader Joe’s products that were labeled “All Natural” or “100% Natural” and also contained one or more of the following ingredients: ascorbic acid, cocoa processed with alkali, vegetable mono- and diglycerides, sodium acid pyrophosphate, and xanthan gum.
A final approval hearing for the proposed Trader Joe’s class action settlement has been scheduled for July 9, 2014.
More information about how to file a claim for the Trader Joe’s “All Natural” settlement was not immediately available. Keep checking Top Class Actions or sign up for our free newsletter for the latest updates. You can also mark this article as a “Favorite” using your free Top Class Actions account to receive notifications when this article is updated.
The plaintiffs are represented by Janet Lindner Spielberg of the Law Offices of Janet Lindner Spielberg; Michael D. Braun of Braun Law Group PC; and Joseph Kravec Jr., Wyatt A. Lison and McKean J. Evans of Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec LLC.
The Trader Joe’s ‘All Natural’ Class Action Lawsuit is Tamar Davis Larsen, et al. v. Trader Joe’s Co., Case No. 3:11-cv-05188, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
UPDATE: Detailed claim filing instructions are up! To find out how to file a claim for the Trader Joe’s ‘All Natural’ class action settlement, click here.
UPDATE 2: The Trader Joe’s ‘All Natural’ class action settlement received final approval on July 11, 2014.
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