February 8, 2012
Labaton Sucharow LLP Secures $10 Million Settlement in Nationwide Class Action Against Maker of Vita Coco, Alleging Misleading and Deceptive AdvertisingNEW YORK (February 8, 2012) — Labaton Sucharow LLP announced a nationwide class action settlement valued at $10 million with All Market, Inc. (d/b/a Vita Coco), the leading manufacturer and seller of coconut water in the United States. Coconut water is one of the fastest growing beverages sold in the United States.
Vita Coco markets its coconut water as "super-hydrating," "nutrient-packed," "mega-electrolyte," and healthy "super-water." Labaton Sucharow filed a proposed nationwide class action, styled Fishbein et al., v. All Market Inc., No. 11-cv-05580, against the company after an independent study revealed that Vita Coco's products do not contain the electrolyte levels indicated on the products' labels. The class action complaint alleges that Vita Coco's coconut water products are mislabeled and do not hydrate more effectively than less expensive sports drinks.
Kellie Lerner, one of the attorneys in the action, stated: "For the millions of consumers who pay for products that claim to improve their health, this settlement sends a message that companies will be held accountable when they exaggerate or misstate the health benefits of their products."
As part of the settlement, Vita Coco has agreed to:
- provide class members a choice of either a cash refund or product vouchers (limitations apply);
- change its labels and advertising to more accurately reflect the content and benefits of its coconut water;
- institute a regular, independent testing program which is intended to reduce potential variations in the nutritional content of Vita Coco coconut water products; and
- provide $3 million in product over the next three years to various charitable institutions that promote healthy living.