Trader Joe's Class Action: Big Win For The Defense

Our client makes "Trader Joe's Truffle Flavored Olive Oil," sold nationwide in Trader Joe's. A federal class action was brought against Trader Joe's and our client claiming "Trader Joe's Truffle Flavored Olive Oil," is falsely labeled as containing truffle, thereby misleading and cheating the public.

Once the law suit was filed, the other attorneys in the case set about fighting each other tooth and nail -- -- running up the costs. The Food Lawyers® ignored all that and, instead, immediately filed a motion to dismiss the entire case on the following grounds: The label said the product was Truffle Flavored  Olive Oil. Everyone knows that orange flavored soda doesn't contain oranges, cherry flavored cough syrup doesn't contain cherries, and numerous other flavored foods don't contain any of the substance the flavoring is imitating. Also, real truffle sells for $3,600 per pound. Trader Joe's was selling 8 ounces of truffle flavored olive oil for $4.99. That's right: $4.99. We told the judge that common sense would tell anyone looking at a bottle of truffle flavored olive oil selling for $4.99 that the product didn't contain $3,600 per pound truffle. We pointed out that the label wasn't "misleading" anyone. No one was being cheated at $4.99. We told the judge the case was a waste of every one's time and should be thrown out of court. The judge agreed with us and dismissed the entire case -- -- against our client, and  against Trader Joe's and against all other defendants. End of class action.

The Food Lawyers® Analysis: Some class actions legitimately protect the public -- -- like the Volkswagen pollution emissions cases. But others are just "shakedowns" designed to enrich attorneys. The key to defending class actions is flexibility. Sometimes you make highly technical legal arguments and sometimes you settle. Other times, like in this Truffle Flavored  Olive Oil case, you appeal to common sense. But in all  cases, you have to step back, think "outside the box," and decide what's the best approach for the case and the client. No one else in the Trader Joe's case came up with our strategy. Our client was very happy with the outcome -- -- we saved him millions of dollars. We always take pride in our work and in delivering the right result.

The case was Tyoka Brumfield v. Trader Joe's Company,  United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Case 1:17-cv-03239.


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