Snapple Urges Court to Dismiss “Sorta Sweet” Lawsuit
In a January 14 motion, Snapple Beverage Corp. asked a California federal court to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges the “Sorta Sweet” label on its Straight Up Tea misleads consumers into thinking it is low in sugar. Snapple asserted that the label claim only refers to the drink’s taste, not sugar content. Indeed, Snapple stated “[n]o reasonable consumer goes through the mental gymnastics of redefining the puffery of ‘Sorta Sweet’ to mean ‘low in sugar’ while simultaneously ignoring the portions of the label that undo that implausible interpretation.”
According to the motion, the brand’s three different varieties (e.g., Sweet, Sorta Sweet, and Unsweetened) demonstrate that “Sorta Sweet” refers to the product taste and that a consumer looking at the varieties would understand that the “Sorta Sweet” tea has a different taste from the other two varieties. Snapple further argued that any question about the sugar content would be answered by the Nutrition Facts Panel on the bottles.
Snapple added that the complaint largely leans on a letter from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to the FDA, and does not make its own factual allegations. Snapple argued that “[a] plaintiff does not satisfy her pleadings burden by attaching an advocacy group’s letter to her complaint and saying ‘met too.’” A summary of the CSPI letter is available here.
Snapple asked for the complaint to be dismissed, but in the event the full complaint is not dismissed, Snapple urged the court to trim the claim for injunctive relief because the plaintiff is no longer at risk of harm.