Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California gave preliminary approval on Tuesday to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed by consumers against Kellogg Sales Company alleging the company misrepresented the amount of sugar in its products and their health.
The plaintiffs explained the settlement in March when they asked for preliminary approval. It was the third time a settlement was presented to the court, with a previous settlement being denied approval twice in 2020. This settlement included alterations in some provisions, had a more narrow release of claims and class products addressing previous predominance claims, and increased the cash component. The settlement further includes injunctive relief with Kellogg agreeing to alter some of the labels and stop using labels to imply that a product is lightly sweetened, healthy for the heart, or nutritious.
The present order follows a hearing held on June 10, 2021 on the motion for preliminary approval, which was the first motion to approve the second settlement agreement. The judge said that the parties fixed defects in the previously proposed settlements. In the hearing, the parties discussed an objection to the settlement filed by a third party claiming that it undervalued the California claims.
In addition to granting preliminary approval to the settlement, Koh granted class certification for purposes related to the settlement. The settlement class will include anyone in the United States who purchased for household use between August 29, 2012 and May 1, 2020 one of the following Kellogg’s cereals which claimed on its packaging to be “heart healthy” or “lightly sweetened”: Original Raisin Bran or Raisin Bran Crunch, Smart Start Original Antioxidants, Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size in multiple varieties, Original Big Bites, Chocolate or Cinnamon Roll Little Bites, and Mixed Berry or Raspberry Touch of Fruit in the Middle.
Five plaintiffs were appointed as class representatives and the court approved class notice.
The plaintiffs are represented by The Law Office of Jack Fitzgerald PC and Jackson & Foster LLC which were appointed as class council. Postlethwaite & Netterville was appointed as Class Administrator. Kellogg is represented by Jenner & Block. A hearing on final approval of the settlement will be held on November 18.