An Appeal for Clarity: Consumers Win in Appellate Court
Is “100% Grated Parmesan Cheese” false advertising? Yes, said the Seventh Circuit Court, giving the appellants—consumers—a win.
Deciphering The Labels
What are consumers expected to reasonably know, do and decide when reading the labels and choosing a product? Is it really common sense knowledge that a product with a long shelf life would need fillers?
Such are the questions at the heart of a class-action lawsuit that was initially dismissed in 2017. At that point, defendants, including manufacturers, distributors and marketers won. They successfully argued that the ingredients on the back label were very clear and that knowledge about the shelf-life of dry products in-store aisles was common sense.
The plaintiffs—consumers who purchased products labeled as “100% Grated Parmesan Cheese” believing that they contained only cheese—went on to appeal—and recently won. As reported in The National Law Review:
The Seventh Circuit recently reversed a district court’s dismissal of a class action false advertising complaint, holding that an ingredient list’s disclosure of components other than parmesan cheese did not foreclose the possibility of reasonable consumers being deceived by a “100% Grated Parmesan Cheese” front label claim. Bell v. Publix Super Markets, Nos. 19-2581 & 19-2741 (7th Cir. Dec 7, 2020).
The Court feared that following the district court’s so-called “ambiguity rule”—that an advertiser can clear up an ambiguous front label via its back label—would encourage deceptive labeling. In addition, the Seventh Circuit disagreed that common sense rendered plaintiffs’ interpretation of the product labels unreasonable, as pure grated parmesan cheese can be shelf-stable for a long time without refrigeration.
Worth Knowing: When Are Appeal Bonds Needed?
Let’s say that in this “case of the cheese,” the consumers had won from the beginning, and the manufacturers, distributors and marketers had lost and then sought to appeal. Most likely, they would have been required to post an appeal bond, guaranteeing that if they ultimately lost, they would pay the judgment initially awarded.
Essentially, an appeal bond sometimes referred to as a supersedeas bond, s a type of surety bond—it places money or assets in holding while a case is being judged by an appellate court, guaranteeing that the initial judgment will be honored if the appeal ultimately fails. Bonds can also help keep frivolous cases from clogging our systems.
A court-ordered appeal bond must be secured and filed quickly to meet the timeline set by the court. As a leading, national provider of court bonds, Colonial Surety Company can help—whether your case is big or small.
Uniquely, Colonial offers direct and digital service. At Colonial, the steps to securing an appeal or supersedeas bond are: get a quote online; fill out your information; satisfy underwriting requirements; and enter your payment method. Once approved, you can print or e-file the bond right from the court, your office—or anywhere. It’s that simple!
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The Appeal of Efficiency
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Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed, and licensed for business everywhere in the USA.