Plaintiffs Voluntarily Dismiss Calorie Mislabeling Lawsuit Against Half & Half Iced Tea Lemonade

On Monday, James Prater voluntarily dismissed a putative class-action lawsuit he filed against Arizona Beverages USA LLC voluntarily. The dismissal comes shortly after an initial pretrial conference where the parties set a case management plan which was approved by the court. 

Initially, the plaintiff alleged in his October 2020 complaint that Arizona beverages marketed its Half & Half Iced Tea Lemonade as “lite.” The complaint explained that consumers understand lite to mean that the calories in the item have been reduced, and that under U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines lite as a relative claim comparing similar food items. Reportedly, items with relative claims are required to have information about the amount of the nutrient it is referencing, like calories, fat or sugar. 

“The term ‘Lite’ is misleading because it gives the impression consumption of the Product, when compared to other foods in its class, contributes substantially to the reduction of calories in the diet,” the complaint explained. Allegedly, this product contains 130 calories in a 12 ounce bottle, which is only slightly less than Coca Cola. The plaintiff claimed that consumers purchasing this product were misled to believe that it contained less calories, and that the packaging is designed to deceive consumers. 

Arizona Beverages attempted to dismiss the lawsuit, and filed a motion to dismiss the first amended complaint on June 1, 2021. Among other responses purporting that specific claims were not valid, the defendant alleged that the plaintiff failed to support his allegations and that he does not have standing for injunctive relief. 

A similar lawsuit filed against the same defendant alleged that it mislabeled its Arnold Palmer drinks as a zero-calorie beverage, when in reality it contains 15 calories, 10 more than the threshold for claiming to be a zero calorie diet. This drink’s label was rebranded to say diet instead of zero calories. 

Prater was represented by Sheehan & Associates, and Arizona Beverages is represented by Stevens & Lee