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United States District Court for the Northern District of California
March 25, 2022, Decided; March 25, 2022, Filed
Case No. 21-cv-08004-RS
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS
In this putative class action plaintiff alleges that sunscreen products produced by defendant Fruit of the Earth, and sold by defendant The Kroger Co. under its "house brand," are misleadingly labeled as "reef friendly," when they in fact contain ingredients with the potential to damage reefs. Plaintiff advances claims under California Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq. ("UCL"); California False Advertising Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17500 et seq. ("FAL"); and the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Cal Civ. Code § 1750 et seq. ("CLRA"), as well as [*2] breach of implied warranty and "unjust enrichment."
Kroger moves to dismiss the operative First Amended Complaint in its entirety, arguing the claim "reef friendly" is inactionable as it is "mere puffery," and that in any event the question should be left to agency regulation under the primary jurisdiction doctrine. Kroger also raises several other challenges to portions of the complaint. The motion to dismiss will be denied.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). While "detailed factual allegations" are not required, a complaint must have sufficient factual allegations to state a claim that is "plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). This standard asks for "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. The determination is a context-specific task requiring the court "to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. Claims sounding in fraud must meet a somewhat [*3] higher specificity standard as provided by Rule 9 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
A motion to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure tests the legal sufficiency of the claims alleged in the complaint. See Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1241-42 (9th Cir. 2011). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may be based on either the "lack of a cognizable legal theory" or on "the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory." Id. at 1242 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). When evaluating such a motion, the court must accept all material allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. In re Quality Sys., Inc. Sec. Litig., 865 F.3d 1130, 1140 (9th Cir. 2017).
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2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54273 *; 2022 WL 888657
PHILLIP WHITE, Plaintiff, v. THE KROGER CO., et al., Defendants.
Subsequent History: Summary judgment granted by White v. Kroger Co., 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104231 (N.D. Cal., June 10, 2022)
friendly, environmental, consumer, reef, puffery, products, allegations, sunscreen