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Published on October 21st, 2014

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Reject Vitaminwater’s Proposed Settlement

With product names such as “Defense” and “Revive,” Glacéau, a Coca-Cola subsidiary, made broad health claims that its sugary drink could reduce the risk of eye disease, promote healthy joints, as well as support optimal immune function. Multiple class-action lawsuits were filed across the country on behalf of consumers who allege that they were deceived by the beverage name and advertising suggesting that the product is a healthy alternative to soda.

Coca-Cola has now agreed to settle five of these lawsuits, which have been consolidated in an Ohio court (others are still pending). TINA.org has conducted an in-depth analysis of the settlement terms and concluded that it is of little benefit to consumers. In fact, the company is trying to give consumers the impression that it is making substantial changes to its marketing in exchange for the class dropping its lawsuit when, in reality, all it is really doing is paying off the attorneys involved to the tune of $1.2 million.

In its amicus curiae brief, TINA.org argues:

The parties to this litigation seek to have this Court approve a settlement in which plaintiffs’ attorneys will pocket nearly $1.2 million while class members will receive nothing. The settlement as currently drafted provides no monetary relief for class members and no practical injunctive relief. And while the proposed settlement would legally bind potentially millions of class members to an agreement that has them walking away empty handed, the defendants will be free to continue deceptively marketing their flavored sugar water as Vitaminwater, a healthy beverage alternative to soft drinks.

For these basic reasons, Truth in Advertising, Inc., a national consumer advocacy organization dedicated to protecting consumers from false and deceptive advertising, respectfully opposes the proposed settlement as being unfair, and urges the Court to deny approval of it.

TINA.org is urging consumers who have been deceived by the marketing of vitaminwater to object to the settlement. According to the settlement website:

If you are a Class Member, you can object to the settlement and give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a letter saying that you object to the Settlement in Volz v. The Coca-Cola Co., No. 1:10-cv-00879-MRB-SKB. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, signature and the reasons why you object to the settlement. You must mail the objection to the following four places and it must be postmarked no later than November 3, 2014, or your objection will not be valid and will not be considered by the Court.

Administrator
Angeion Group
Attn: Vitaminwater
1801 Market Street, Suite 660 Philadelphia, PA 19103

Lead Class Counsel
Richard S. Wayne
STRAUSS TROY CO. LPA
The Federal Reserve Building
150 East Fourth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202-4018

Court
Office of the Clerk
Potter Stewart
U.S. Courthouse
100 East Fifth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Defendants’ Counsel
Shon Morgan
QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART & SULLIVAN, LLP
865 S. Figueroa Street, 10th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90017

 

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(Latin for “friend of the courts.”) A person or organization that is not a party to a lawsuit but has a significant interest in the case and offers information that may be important to the court’s determination.

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