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United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
May 29, 2020, Decided; May 29, 2020, Filed
OPINION & ORDER
ALISON J. NATHAN, District Judge:
This putative class action concerns Godiva Chocolatier's use of the representation "Belgium 1926" on its chocolate products made and sold in the United States. Plaintiffs allege that this representation led them to purchase Godiva's chocolates products believing that they were made in Belgium—when they are in fact made in Pennsylvania. Plaintiffs therefore contend that this representation violates New York and California consumer-protection laws, express and implied warranties, and several common-law guarantees. Godiva has now moved to dismiss. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the motion in part and [**2] DENIES it in part.
A. Factual Background
] For the purposes of a motion to dismiss, the Court takes well-pleaded allegations in Plaintiffs' Complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences in Plaintiffs' favor. See Koch v. Christie's Intern. PLC, 699 F.3d 141, 145 (2d. Cir. 2012).
Godiva, a chocolate manufacturer, places the representation "Belgium 1926" "prominently . . . on the front packaging of all the Godiva chocolates." Amended Complaint 5/29/20 (Compl.), Dkt. No. 12, ¶ 2. Godiva also "extensively utilizes the [Belgium 1926] representation across its entire marketing campaign, such as on its Godiva storefronts, supermarket display stands, and print and social media advertising." Id. ¶ 3. Plaintiffs include the following example of Godiva's packaging in their Complaint:
Id. ¶ 24. [*461] Plaintiffs also include examples of Godiva's online, storefront, in-store, and socialmedia advertising, all of which contain the Belgium 1926 representation. Id. ¶ 25. The crux of this case is that despite these representations, Godiva's chocolates have all been made in Reading, Pennsylvania during the relevant time period. Id. ¶ 27. "None of the Godiva Chocolates are made in Belgium." Id.
Plaintiff Steve Hesse is a citizen of New York, and Plaintiff Adam [**3] Buxbaum a citizen of California. Id. ¶¶ 13, 14. Because of the Belgium 1926 representation, they purchased Godiva chocolates believing that they were purchasing chocolate made in and imported from Belgium. Id. ¶¶ 6, 13, 14. They would not have purchased the products, or would not have paid as high a price, had they known the chocolate was made in the United States. Id. ¶ 7. In support of this assertion, Plaintiffs point to tangible and intangible differences in reputation and ingredients between American and Belgian chocolates. Id. ¶¶ 28, 29. For example, they note that "Belgium is widely understood and recognized as producing among the highest quality chocolates in the world." Id. ¶ 18. And they assert that American chocolate differs in taste from that produced in Belgium, due "to the use of different butters, creams, and alcohol." Id. ¶ 28. Nonetheless, Plaintiffs "wish to and are likely to continue purchasing the Godiva Chocolates in the future." Id. ¶ 15. Without a change in Godiva's labeling, "they will be unable to rely with confidence on Godiva's representations in the future and will therefore abstain from purchasing the Products." Id. ¶ 15.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
463 F. Supp. 3d 453 *; 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94353 **; 2020 WL 2793014
Steve Hesse, et al., Plaintiffs, -v- Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., et al., Defendants.
Subsequent History: Settled by Hesse v. Godiva Chocolatier, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72641 (S.D.N.Y., Apr. 20, 2022)
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