A US court has allowed a consumer lawsuit filed against Coca-Cola Co, the world's largest soft-drink maker, for mis-labelling its Simply Orange, Minute Maid Premium and Minute Maid Pure Squeezed orange juice products.
A US District judge in Kansas City, Missouri, has allowed the lawsuit filed by consumers alleging that Coca-Cola has marketed its Simply Orange juice as a ''100 per cent pure squeeze'' since 2006 and ''not from concentrates,'' even though the juices are chemically flavoured and not 100-per cent pure squeezed or simply orange, pure or natural, as claimed by Coca-Cola.
Consumers also allege that Coca-Cola has used similar misleading labels on its Minute Maid products too, and say that such labelling is deceptive and violates the state consumer-protection laws.
Atlanta-based Coca-Cola had in September 2012 argued that consumers have failed to show they had been injured, and cited a federal law to summarily throw out the case.
''Plaintiffs' claims must be dismissed insofar as they are premised on promotional statements, such as the Simply Orange and Minute Maid Pure Squeezed product names,'' Bloomberg reported, citing the company's filing before the court.
It added that the names are ''indisputably true, not capable of misleading reasonable consumers as a matter of law or constitute non-actionable puffery.'' Puffery is a legal term that refers to puffing up an exaggerated image of what is being described.
The court, which has combined 13 different cases filed by consumers from California, Illinois, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Missouri and Alabama, threw out Coca-Cola's arguments and ruled that the case should be heard since it agrees with the plaintiffs that it is a fit case of misleading advertising.
''Plaintiffs have asserted false advertising, misrepresentation and deceptive practices claims,'' the court said in its nine-page ruling.