Howard Rubinstein and Hal Hewell, whose clients have unsuccessfully claimed in federal lawsuits filed here that Crunchberries
and Froot Loops
cereals tricked consumers into believing the products contained at least some sort of fruit, have moved on to suing over berries both plaintiff and defendant agree are real.
Real berries' potential as a health care product is what's now under dispute in Federal District Court for Northern California.
A Nov. 12 suit claims producers of Snapple's Acai Mixed Berry Red Tea Immunity bamboozled consumers
by claiming, without proof, that the product bolstered customers' immune systems.
"These are not medications. They shouldn't be sold as medications," said Rubinstein.
We left a message requesting comment from a Snapple spokesperson. We'll update you when we hear back.
Rubinstein and Hewell had previously alleged in lawsuits that the makers of Fruit Loops and Crunchberries cereals had tricked East Bay client Roy Werbel into believing the breakfast treats had some sort of nutritious fruit content. Those suits were dismissed. Rubenstein has lately changed tack, alleging that grocery goods makers have falsely sold their products as providing health benefits without offering proof.
In an interview, he said this strategy has produced success. A Nov. 17 filing in Central California Federal District Court states that attorneys for Michelle Weeks had settled a case where Rubinstein and other attorneys alleged that Kellogg's committed false advertising when promotional materials claimed Cocoa Krispies "Now Help Support Your Child's Immunity."
The settlement must still be approved by a judge. Rubenstein wouldn't say how much his client got, but noted that "it was a fair settlement."
The Snapple lawsuit claims that plaintiff Julia Meaunrit bought the berry drink several times at the Alameda, Calif. Safeway, swayed by advertisements claiming the beverage would boost her immune system.
"There's no known clinical study that adequately supports Snapple's claims," the lawsuit says.
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