DECEPTIVE FOOD MARKETING


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The largest food and beverage companies in America, including organic food companies, spend billions of dollars to market products to the public each year. Many of these products are damaging to consumers’ health, though are marketed in a much different light.

Some of the most unhealthy food and drink products, for example, are marketed as “natural,” though still contain high amounts of preservatives, sodium and sugar.

Major product categories advertised in a deceptive manner commonly include soda and sweetened beverages, sugary cereals, baked goods, snacks, bread, soup, yogurt, and salad dressing.

Under federal and state law it is illegal to engage in deceptive marketing, but while such laws exist, deceptive marketing statutes are regularly violated, mostly due to lack of enforcement.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati Consumer Protection Attorney representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of consumer product cases.  


“Organic” and “Natural” Products Unhealthy


Deceptive food marketing commonly preys on the fear of health-conscious consumers who don’t consider that deceptively healthy terms may appear on the packaging of processed and unhealthy products. Popular food marketing campaigns often use misleading terms like the following:

•    Farm fresh
•    Natural
•    Naturally sweetened
•    Organic
•    Healthy
•    Gluten-free
•    Fruit product


Misleading “Natural” and “Organic” Products


Research shows that most American consumers believe organic foods are healthier than food grown using conventional methods. But an increasing body of evidence shows there is no indication that organic foods lead to better consumer health.

Moreover, most people assume that an “organic” or “natural” label means that the food was grown without the use of harmful pesticides, though that is not always the case. Most organic farmers do use pesticides and there are roughly 200 non-organic substances food companies can add to food and still call it “organic.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) previously stated that “natural” means “nothing artificial or synthetic, including all color additives.” Unfortunately, this directive from the regulation body is too broad, and there still exist thousands of products on the shelves at supermarkets that are “natural” and “organic,” but ultimately very unhealthy.


Food companies Targeted in Class Action Lawsuits


  • Monster Beverage is facing lawsuits over marketing its energy drinks to children as young as six years old, despite scientific research that shows their products may cause health problems, including severe cardiac episodes.
  • The Quaker Oats Company was sued after its “100% Natural” oatmeal products were found with traces of glyphosate, a cancer-causing chemical. A report released by the Alliance for Natural Health USA showed traces in glyphosate in several common breakfast foods, including oatmeal, bagels, corn flakes, yoghurt, frozen hash browns, and coffee creamers.
  • General Mills’ settled a lawsuit over its Fruit Roll-Ups product, for deceptively marketing the candy as a fruit snack. A California court ruled against the company, stating the marketing claim “made with real fruit” incorrectly described the product.
  • Frito-Lay has recently found itself in court defending their “all natural” packaging claim, which turns out only includes a few of the ingredients, not the product as a whole.

Children Targeted in False Advertising


Marketing unhealthy products to children is not only unethical, but illegal deception because a child cannot understand how marketing works. One high-profile lawsuit has been filed against McDonald’s directly challenging their marketing tactics to children with their Happy Meals, which include a toy with their fast food.

Children are targets of about 25 percent of the food industry’s advertising budget. Research has shown that children are vulnerable to sugary food advertising, and are unaware that they are even being marketed to.

Foods marketed to children are predominantly high in sugar and fat, and ignore any reasonable dietary recommendation. With an obesity problem in the youth today, food companies have a responsibility to refrain from deceptive marketing to the young, vulnerable population.

Yet, food marketers are most interested in youth as current young consumers, and as future adult consumers. Advertisers reach the youth in television advertising, in-school marketing, product placements, and Web sites.


Deceptive Marketing Tactics


Food and drink companies often mislead consumers with the following deceptive tactics:

  • Companies take an established brand that has long been low in sugar and market new, sweeter versions of the brand. Breakfast cereals are good examples of this tactic.
  • Companies use words usually associated with health or fitness to market sugary products. Multiple sports drinks on the market are full of sugar, though marketed as healthy.

Some food companies also add minuscule amounts of nice-sounding ingredients to mask the unhealthy nature of the product. Many juices labeled “100% natural,” for example, can be full of sugar and no more nutritious than a soda. Some low quality juice products contain very little juice at all.


Deceptive Food Marketing Lawsuits


Several lawsuits have been filed recently against large food companies that intentionally deceive American consumers. Most of these claims are brought by private sector attorneys, who fill the protection gap when the governmental agencies fail to act.

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Questions About Class Action Lawsuits

What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

A Class Action is a lawsuit brought by an individual on behalf of all other similarly situated individuals. Rule 23 of the Federal and State Rules of Civil Procedure allows for Class Action lawsuits to resolve disputes in an efficient format.

Class Actions are typically filed when the amount of money in dispute for a single plaintiff would not justify litigating the case, but where the amount of damages of the entire class of Plaintiffs would justify the cost of litigation. Without class actions, large corporate defendants would be able to cause small amounts of harm over a large group of individuals without any risk of monetary penalty.

What is the difference between a Class Action & a Mass Tort?

A Class Action lawsuit involves a large group of people that have experienced extremely similar outcomes. Because the cases must meet the strict guidelines of the Class Action, they are presented under one plaintiff. 

In a Mass Tort, individual experiences may vary. Even though a large number of people have been affected, the variations from case to case are more broad than a class action. In a Mass Tort each plaintiff is represented independently, though in most instances there is still a set of general criteria to meet.

What are the requirements?

In order for a case to be certified as a Class Action, the Court must determine that the case is appropriate for class action treatment under Rule 23. There are different elements depending on whether the case is seeking monetary or injunctive relief. In general, the Court must find the following elements are satisfied:

  • Numerosity: The proposed class must be so numerous that simply joining the individual plaintiffs would be impractical. Generally, the class size should exceed 100 individuals.
  • Common Questions of Law or Fact: The facts and/or legal questions in the dispute must be common to all class members. This does not mean all facts or issues must be identical, but the primary facts and law that will determine the issue in dispute must be common among all class members.
  • Typicality: The named Plaintiff in the case must have the same facts and legal issues as the class they are proposing to represent. If the Plaintiff’s individual case involves issues of fact or law unique to that Plaintiff and are irrelevant to the ultimate issue, class certification may be denied by the Court.
  • Plaintiff/Counsel Adequately Represents the Class: The Court must find that the Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s Counsel are competent and will protect the class’ interests.
  • Predominance: Common questions of fact predominate over individual facts.
  • Superiority: The Class Action is a more efficient and fair means of resolving the dispute. The Court will look at the following factors when making this determination: (1) Class Member interest in maintaining a separate action; (2) the extent of any litigation already begun by other class members; (3) desirability or undesirability of litigating the case in a particular Court ; (4) difficulties in managing the class.
What counts as a class action?

Medical Device Litigation, Pharmaceutical Litigation, and other toxic tort litigation is not appropriate for Class Action treatment. Specifically, cases that involve injuries to the parties contain too many individual facts in terms of the science and causation to find that the common issues predominate over the individual facts.

On the other hand, complex litigation that impacts many individuals and contain common questions of fact related to the conduct of the defendant are often appropriate for mass tort consolidation. Mass Tort consolidation in federal multi-district litigation or a State mass tort docket, allows the parties to utilize the efficiency of class action litigation through the discovery process but still allows the parties to litigate their cases individually on the critical issues of whether the conduct caused the alleged injuries.

While our human bodies are very similar, each individual’s body may have reacted differently to the toxic exposure that makes Class Action treatment inappropriate in most personal injury lawsuits.

Some toxic tort areas that may be beneficial for class action lawsuits can involve environmental contamination. When companies are negligent and contaminate large swaths of private property. Public nuisance lawsuits have been filed against negligent agricultural operations of fracking companies.

Why Hire the Lyon Firm?

Our Firm will help you find the answers.  The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

 Experience:  Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Class Action Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters. Class Action lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury. Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.

Results:  Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury,  automotive product liability, medical Negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence cases.  The cases have involved successfully litigating against some of  the largest companies in the world

Your Right to Justice

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Filing Class Action lawsuits is a complex and serious legal course and can carry monetary sanctions if proper legal course is not followed. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to assisting injured plaintiffs work toward a financial solution to assist in compensating for medical expenses or other damages sustained.

We work with law firms across the country to provide the most resources possible and to build your case into a valuable settlement. The current legal environment is favorable for consumers involved in data breach class actions, deceptive marketing lawsuits, TCPA telemarketing claims, and financial negligence claims.

Recent Class Action Cases

We work with law firms across the country to provide the most resources possible and to build your case into a valuable settlement. 

Ohio Data Breach & Privacy Lawsuits

Invasion of privacy law has been established to protect consumers and citizens of the United States. When companies are negligent and fail to protect consumer information, which can be used in malicious ways, victims can contact a class action attorney to represent them in class action data breach lawsuits. A number of privacy breach and data breach claims have been settled by The Lyon Firm and other consumer protection lawyers around the country.

Consumer Protection Class Action

Consumers have rights in the USA, and when companies do not provide a service they have promised, or hold up their end of a bargain, legal action may be necessary. Consumer protection attorneys work on your behalf to hold companies responsible for providing a fair and safe service.

The Lyon Firm has worked with law firms nationwide in consumer class actions involving deceptive marketing, false advertising, food mislabeling and misleading marketing claims.

TCPA Robocall Class Actions

TCPA lawsuits have become one of the most common kinds of legal claims. The TCPA Act provides privacy protection for consumers by restricting how companies and organizations can contact you by telephone. Robocall harassment and unfair debt collection has been a serious issue that has required lawsuits in order to keep telemarketing companies at bay.

If you have experienced telephone harassment by a bank, real estate company, hotel, political campaign or anyone else, you may have TCPA claim. The Lyon Firm works diligently to seek compensation for those harassed at their home or work.

Ohio Wage and Hour Lawsuits

Class action wage and hour lawsuits are always ongoing, as some employers fail to treat employees properly, and attempt to cut workers out of earned wages. Wage theft lawsuits can be valuable for a class of plaintiffs who believes their employer has cheated them out of overtime pay and other earned wages.

There have been several wage theft lawsuits and settlements that have compensated employees for the wages they have earned, as well as damages for emotional distress and punitive damages when an employer is negligent in treating workers in accordance to Ohio labor law.

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