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Becerra v. Coca-Cola Co.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

February 27, 2018, Decided; February 27, 2018, Filed

No. C 17-05916 WHA




In this putative class action, defendant soft drink manufacturer moves to dismiss the complaint pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6). Its preemption argument is rejected, but for other reasons stated herein, its motion is Granted.


Plaintiff Shana Becerra brings this putative class action against defendant The Coca-Cola Company over its labeling of "Diet Coke." Coca-Cola first introduced Diet Coke in 1982, as a sugar- and calorie-free version of its flag-ship [*2]  cola.

The following facts are taken from the amended complaint. For many years, Becerra purchased and consumed Diet Coke in part because she believed, based on Coca-Cola's advertising of the product as "diet," that it would contribute to weight loss or healthy weight management. But for this belief, Becerra claims she would not have purchased Diet Coke.

The science, she alleges, now shows Diet Coke consumption actually leads to the exact opposite — weight gain. Becerra's complaint cites numerous scientific studies purportedly suggesting that nonnutritive sweeteners, like those used in Diet Coke, do not assist in weight loss or healthy weight management, because nonnutritive sweeteners like aspartame interfere with the body's ability to properly metabolize calories, leading to weight gain and increased risk of metabolic disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

In October 2017, Becerra commenced this action against Coca-Cola seeking to represent a state-wide class of persons in California who purchased Diet Coke in cans or bottles on or after October 26, 2013 for personal or household use. Becerra asserts claims for violations of the California False Advertising Law, the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the California Unfair Competition Law,  [*3] for breach of express warranty, and for breach of implied warranty.

Coca-Cola now moves to dismiss Becerra's complaint pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6). This order follows full briefing and oral argument.

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2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31870 *; 2018 WL 1070823

SHANA BECERRA, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons, Plaintiff, v. THE COCA-COLA COMPANY, Defendant.

Subsequent History: Appeal dismissed by Becerra v. Coca-Cola Co., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 38223 (9th Cir. Cal., Dec. 23, 2019)


Diet, labeling, consumers, sweeteners, food, weight loss, use of a term, false and misleading, weight gain, soft drink, misleading, calorie, federal regulation, brand name, advertising, Nutrition, preempted, consumer protection, nonnutritive, artificial, regulation, warranty, healthy, studies, argues, fat