A federal multidistrict litigation has been formed in California federal court over allegations that the labels on Coca-Cola soft drinks misrepresent the ingredients.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the centralization of the cases in the Northern District of California in front of Judge Jeffrey S. White.
“This litigation will involve questions as to whether phosphoric acid was properly identified on Coca-Cola beverage labels (including whether it should have been identified as an artificial flavoring for chemical preservative),” according to the panel’s order. The order also said that the litigation will address and whether the company’s marketing, including representations such as “no artificial flavors,” “no preservatives added” was misleading. Acting Chairman Marjorie O. Rendell wrote in the panel’s order.
According to the order, the litigation could involve complicated issues of fact, such as how consumers perceive Coca-Cola, whether consumers paid a price premium regarding the way phosphoric acid is labeled on Coca-Cola, and about Coca-Cola’s campaign to market its soda as “unchanged since 1886 in an alleged attempt to gain consumers who were increasingly choosing other beverages with natural ingredients.”
So far, there are six cases. The plaintiffs opposed centralization or suggested that the cases be centralized in the Eastern District of New York or the Northern District of Illinois.
Judges John G. Heyburn II and Ellen Segal Huvelle did not take part in the decision.