Proposed Settlement in ‘Belgium 1926’ Class Action
Godiva Inks $20M Deal To Settle ‘Belgium 1926’ Label Suit
As previously covered on this blog, a class action lawsuit against Godiva Chocolatier alleges that the claim ‘Belgium 1926’ on Godiva’s products sold in the U.S. is misleading because it implies that the chocolate is made in Europe when it is actually made in Pennsylvania and is a different quality than chocolate made in Belgium. On May 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied an injunction but also refused to dismiss the case, rejecting Godiva’s argument that a reasonable consumer would certainly realize that the disputed claim only means that the company was founded in Belgium in 1926.
On October 12, 2021, following more than a year of settlement negotiations through mediation, the plaintiffs asked the court to approve a settlement in which Godiva has agreed to pay up to $15 million for claims by an estimated 18 million consumers nationwide and $5 million to cover attorney fees and other costs. Consumers who submit claim forms would be eligible to receive $1.25 per product, up to a total of $25 per household with proof of purchase or $15 without proof. While stating that a settlement is in the company’s best interest, a spokesperson for Godiva emphasized to Law360 that ‘Belgium 1926’ signifies the place and the year of the company’s founding.
A separate lawsuit involving similar claims was dismissed with consent from the plaintiff by the Superior Court for the District of Columbia on March 18, 2021. ‘Belgium 1926’ continues to appear on Godiva products for sale in the U.S.