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$5.4 Million Settlement Reached in Ocean Spray All-Natural Labeling Suit

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On November 8, 2019, a $5.4 million settlement was submitted to California federal court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel for preliminary approval, bringing an ended to claims that the juice-making giant, Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. conceals the true quality of the ingredients in certain of the brand’s juice-based beverages.The suit was originally filed by plaintiff Crystal Hilsley against Ocean Spray and the company’s advertising agency, Arnold Worldwide LLC, in November 2017 (Arnold Worldwide was removed as a defendant in July 2019). In the complaint, Hilsley argued that Ocean Spray markets its CranGrape and CranApple beverages as all-natural when in reality the beverages contain artificially-synthesized ingredients that technically would be considered an artificial flavor under California law. The class representative plaintiff further alleged that the packaging of the beverages untruthfully boasted that it contains “no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or flavors.”

The suit represents a proposed nationwide class made up of consumers who have purchased Ocean Spray CranApple, CranGrape, “100% Apple” Juice Drink, CranRaspberry, Wave Apple with White Cranberries, Wave Berry Medley, CranCherry, CranPineapple, CranPomegranate, Diet CranPomegranate, Diet CranCherry and Cranberry Cherry Flavor 100% Juice for personal use and not for resale from January 2011 until the date the class action is closed. Class members are eligible to receive $1 for each bottle purchased with a maximum award of $20 per household. In addition to the monetary damages, Ocean Spray has agreed to alter its false marketing claims.

The case is: Crystal Hilsley et al. v. Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. et al., Case No.: 3:17-cv-02335, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

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