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United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
May 22, 2017, Decided; May 23, 2017, Filed
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Through this class action, Plaintiff Joann Martinelli ("Plaintiff"), individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, seeks relief from Defendants Johnson & Johnson and McNeil Nutritionals, LLC (collectively "Defendants") arising from the labeling and sale of Benecol Regular and Light Spreads ("Benecol Spreads"). Plaintiff alleges eight causes of action: (1) breach of express warranty, (2) breach of implied warranty of merchantability, (3) unjust enrichment, (4) violation of California's Consumers Legal Remedies Act, (5) violation of California's Unfair Competition Law, (6) violation of California's False Advertising Law, (7) [*2] negligent misrepresentation, and (8) fraud. First Am. Compl. ("FAC"), ECF No. 9.
Presently before the court are two motions: Defendants' Motion to Deny Nationwide Class Certification or in the alternative, to Strike Nationwide Class Allegations ("Defendants' Motion") (ECF No. 45), and Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Class Action Complaint ("Plaintiff's Motion") (ECF No. 46). Both parties filed timely oppositions and replies to each motion. ECF Nos. 47, 48, 52, 54. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED and Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.1
Defendants manufactured, marketed, and sold their Benecol Spreads throughout California and other states. The front labels provide that the product has "no trans fats" and the back labels state the product has "no trans fatty acids." Artificial trans fats are a product of a process called partial hydrogenation and are integral to partially hydrogenated oils. Plaintiff cites to a 2015 FDA report concluding that hydrogenated oils may not be safe for human consumption, and other studies concluding that trans fats increase the risk of coronary heart disease and other adverse health effects.
Plaintiff contends [*3] she purchased Benecol Spreads for personal use in California after she reviewed the products' labels and believed them to be true. Plaintiff claims the representations on the labels led her to believe the Benecol Spreads contained neither trans fats nor trans fatty acids, and that the spreads were therefore safe for human consumption. Plaintiff alleges she relied on these representations and warranties in deciding to buy the Benecol Spreads, and asserts she would not have purchased the spreads if she knew they contained trans fats or trans fatty acids. Plaintiff further alleges she paid a premium for the Benecol Spreads and understood the purchase to be a transaction between herself and Defendants.
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2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79162 *; 2017 WL 2257171
JOANN MARTINELLI, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. JOHNSON & JOHNSON and McNEIL NUTRITIONALS, LLC, Defendants.
Prior History: Martinelli v. Johnson & Johnson, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16481 (E.D. Cal., Feb. 10, 2016)
Spreads, good cause, discovery, nationwide class, certification, class certification, diligent, additional discovery, pleadings, amend, leave to amend, labels, motion for leave, predominate, confirm, parties, fats, scheduling order, question of law, class action, contacts, alleges