High Court Decision In Pom V. Coke Could End Food Wars


The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to wade into a battle between Pom Wonderful and The Coca-Cola Co. over whether the labels on Coke’s Minute Maid pomegranate-blueberry juice blend violate the Lanham Act’s prohibition against false advertising.

Despite Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s recommendation that the court deny Pom’s petition, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case, agreeing to resolve the question of “whether the court of appeals erred in holding that a private party cannot bring a Lanham Act claim challenging a product label regulated under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.” Although the issue to be addressed by the court is focused on claims involving the Lanham Act — a federal false-advertising law typically invoked in business disputes between competitors — the decision could put an end to the recent explosion of consumer class action food-mislabeling litigation involving state law claims.

Originally published in Law360 on January 28, 2014.

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