Robert Guite

Photo of Robert Guite Rob Guite is a partner in the Business Trial Practice Group and Managing Partner of the firm's San Francisco office.

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Are Flavor Cases Fizzling? Two More Courts Grant Motions to Dismiss

Since 2019, a staggering number of “flavor” lawsuits have been filed, with dozens of putative class actions filed in a single month and more than 100 in 2021 alone.  While some lawyers appear to have an insatiable appetite for filing these suits, courts appear to find them mostly unpalatable.  The complaints  allege that packaging on … Continue Reading

Food & Beverage Class Actions: What You Need to Know for 2021

This article was originally posted in Food Manufacturing on January 6, 2021. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of putative class actions targeting the food and beverage industry increased in 2020 and show no signs of slowing down in 2021. The number of class actions filed against beverage companies in New York increased while the number … Continue Reading

It’s Not Pop Secret, Ninth Circuit Affirms that Plaintiff Didn’t Have a Leg to Stand On

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in McGee v. S-L Snacks Nat’l,., confirms that nutrition fact panel and ingredient disclosures provide information that can be used to support a motion to dismiss and remain important tools for defeating consumer class actions.… Continue Reading

“Happy Cows” False Labeling Theory is Just “Half Baked”: Court Dismisses False Advertising Claims Against Ben & Jerry’s

The plaintiffs’ bar has continued to challenge sourcing and sustainability claims made by food manufacturers.  In Ehlers v. Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80773 (D. Vt. May 7, 2020), however, the court dismissed such a challenge where the allegedly false statement was taken out of context and the plaintiff ignored the … Continue Reading

CBD Industry Beware: The False Labeling Class Action Has Arrived

Last week, in what may be the first of its kind, a putative class of Massachusetts consumers filed a false labeling class action complaint against Global Widget LLC, d/b/a Hemp Bombs (“Hemp Bombs”) (Ahumada v. Global Widget LLC, D. Mass. Case No. 1:19-cv-12005), challenging the labeling of numerous Hemp Bombs products, including gummies, lollipops, capsules, … Continue Reading

Lack of Standing Dooms Organizational Plaintiffs’ False Advertising Claims; Such a Challenge Can Be Brought at Any Time

Challenges based on lack of standing can be brought at any time and, in Friends of the Earth v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127964 (N.D. Cal. July 31, 2019), the court dismissed a putative class action for lack of standing pursuant to Rule 12(h)(3) after Plaintiffs supplemented discovery responses and depositions were … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Confirms Plaintiffs Are Not Required to Undermine Defendant’s Evidence to Withstand Summary Judgment in False Labeling Class Actions

The Ninth Circuit’s recent decision in Sonner v. Schwabe N. Am., Inc. et al.,[1] resolves a split among district courts evaluating the standard that applies to false labeling claims brought under California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act on summary judgment. The Ninth Circuit confirmed that plaintiffs can survive summary judgment by supplying … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Panel Affirms Inadmissibility Alone is Not a Proper Basis to Reject Evidence in Support of Class Certification

Following the denial of a petition for rehearing en banc, over a spirited dissent, a Ninth Circuit panel issued its amended order on November 27, 2018 in Sali v. Corona Regional Medical Center, holding that evidence need not be admissible to be considered at the class certification stage. The panel held: “Inadmissibility alone is not a … Continue Reading

“I’ll Be Back;” Ninth Circuit Gives Arnold Schwarzenegger-Branded Supplement Purchasers Another Shot to Pursue UCL, FAL, CLRA and Warranty Claims

In Durnford v. MusclePharm Corp., plaintiff Durnford asserted that the company’s “Arnold Schwarzenegger Series Iron Mass” supplements are falsely labeled because the protein content of the supplements is misstated. Durnford brought claims under California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), False Advertising Law (“FAL”) Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”) and for breach of express warranty. The district … Continue Reading

One A Day Will Not Keep Plaintiffs Away

In a recent decision, the California Court of Appeal reaffirmed and clarified how the “reasonable consumer” standard must be applied at the pleadings stage to mislabeling claims. In simplest terms, if the packaging makes a definitive statement on the front that suggests one thing, but fine print on the back contradicts that statement, the defendant … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Confirms that Class Action Plaintiffs Must Plausibly Establish Future Intent To Re-Purchase To Maintain Claims for Injunctive Relief

The ruling in Lanovaz v. Twinings N. Am., Inc., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 15248 (9th Cir. June 6, 2018), settles what was arguably an open issue among district courts within the Ninth Circuit. A plaintiff must have an intent to re-purchase a product alleged to be falsely advertised in order to maintain an action for … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Confirms that There is Only One Standard for the Admission of Expert Testimony and that Expert Opinion Must Be Admissible to be Considered on a Motion for Class Certification

Deciding an issue of first impression, the California Court of Appeal issued a writ of mandate confirming that there is only one standard for the admissibility of expert opinion in California, and that standard applies when considering a motion for class certification. Apple, Inc. v. Superior Court of San Diego County, 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Holds Footlong Settlement Falls Short

The Seventh Circuit’s rejection of a class action settlement in a case alleging consumer fraud against Subway for allegedly “shorting” customers of its Footlong sandwiches illustrates the pitfalls of settlements that provide only injunctive relief and the perils to plaintiffs who pursue claims for “worthless benefits.” In Re Subway Footlong Sandwich Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., … Continue Reading
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