Breweries Face Class Action Suits for Alleged False Advertising

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In recent years, numerous breweries have found themselves facing lawsuits for alleged false advertising and labeling on their beer products. One prominent recent example is Kona Brewing Company, which features maps of Hawaii (as well as other island-themed images) on its packaging. Because its beer is not actually made in Hawaii, Kona has found itself on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit--even though its beer labels specifically disclose this fact. Greg Herbers of the Washington Legal Foundation writes about the judge's recent ruling in this case, which appears set to go to trial:

"We have been covering a legal action against Kona Brewing Company (now renamed Broomfield v. Craft Brew Alliance), which is one suit in the larger trend of class actions against breweries alleging misleading or false labeling and advertising.  In that suit, Judge Beth Labson Freeman, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (a.k.a. the “Food Court”), recently ruled on Kona’s motion to dismiss.

Though the court trimmed the complaint, dismissing several of the plaintiffs’ causes-of-action and requests for relief, it held that the crux of the allegations could proceed.  The result is that, through strategic pleading, Kona must spend its time and resources fighting a lawsuit with questionable merits.  Judge Freeman created perverse incentives for future litigants by choosing to become, in essence, a product-packaging regulator..."

Read the whole article here.