A federal court has sliced off two pieces of a putative class action that disputes claims made on the labels of well-known breads by the country’s largest bakery and distributor.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on March 13 left intact the bulk of the plaintiffs’ claims that Bimbo Bakeries USA falsely labels many of the breads and related products that carry the Sara Lee, Arnold and Thomas’ brands as, variously, containing 100 percent whole wheat or serving as good sources of fiber and whole grains, when they don’t.
But, in Alex Ang v. Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc., the court dismissed the allegation that the words “fresh” and “baked daily” on packages of Entenmann’s Soft-ees doughnuts were misleading and violations of state and federal laws.
Even so, the ruling, signed by U.S. District Judge William Orrick, denied a motion by Pennsylvania-based Bimbo to exclude from the scope of the suit dozens of breads and related products that are “substantially similar” and bear labels carrying the same allegedly false claims, as the handful of baked goods actually purchased by Ang and other plaintiffs.
That means that not only does the complaint encompass Bimbo-made Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat Bread and Sara Lee Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread—both of which contain soy flour, and both of which were actually purchased—but also Bimbo’s Thomas’ 100% Whole Wheat English Muffins, Pita Pockets, Bagels and five other bread varieties, which also contain soy flour but were not purchased by the plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs’ counsel are Ben Pierce Gore of Pratt & Associates, San Jose, Calif., and Keith Fleischman and Bradley Silverman of The Fleischman Law Firm in New York City.
Lisa Hoffman is a contributor to law.com.