Judge certifies injunctive class action in AriZona Beverages “All Natural” class action

Posted on: December 13th, 2012 by Steve Larson

A federal court has agreed to certify a class of California consumers alleg­edly misled by representations that AriZona Iced Tea® is “Natural” because it contains the processed, man-made ingredients high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and citric acid. Ries v. Arizona Beverages USA LLC, No. 10-01139 RS (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., San Francisco Div., order entered November 27, 2012). But the court granted the certification motion “for the purpose of injunctive and declaratory relief only” thus foreclosing the recovery of “monetary damages, including restitution, refund, reimbursement and disgorgement.”

The named plaintiffs had sought certification under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2), which “does not authorize class certification when each class member would be entitled to an individualized award of monetary damages.” According to the court, the claim for monetary relief predominates the complaint, and the plaintiffs “seek individualized awards of monetary restitution which would require individualized assessments of damages based on how many products the class member had bought,” making the damages calculations “unmanageable under Rule 23(b)(2).”