Judge Grants Summary Judgment in KIND Bar Misrepresentation Suit

A memorandum and order issued last week by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in the Southern District of New York ended a case alleging that KIND bars were marketed in a deceptive manner, finding that the plaintiffs had failed to prove a key assertion to their case.

The initial suit was filed by Robert O’Brien (both individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated) in 2015 against defendant Kind, LLC, and alleged that the defendant’s products were labeled in a false and deceptive manner in violation of the New York Deceptive Acts and Practices Law, the New York False Advertising Law, the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and other statutes.

The plaintiffs in this suit all purchased the defendant’s products that were marketed with an “All Natural/Non GMO” label, which they assert in the complaint was both deceptive and misleading. The issues addressed in the most recent order were the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, the defendant’s motion to decertify the classes, and Daubert motions from both parties to disqualify the expert witnesses in the case.

Judge Buchwald ultimately granted Kind’s motion for summary judgment, their motion to decertify the class, and their motions to disqualify expert witnesses. The plaintiff’s motions were denied as moot.

Judge Buchwald sided with the defendants and concluded that the plaintiffs did not adequately demonstrate that the defendant’s “All Natural” claim was deceptive or misleading. Describing this failure as “fatal” to the case, Judge Buchwald further explains that the suit’s claims were all “similarly premised on plaintiffs establishing a deceptive and misleading act and fail if plaintiffs cannot meet the statutory standard.”

The motions to decertify the class and disqualify the identified expert witnesses were also granted. The decertification of the class was due to the plaintiff’s apparent demonstration that “they each hold a different theory as to why they were deceived,” meaning that common questions of law or fact no longer predominate the case, and a class action is no longer superior to alternative methods.

Robert O’Brien was represented in the litigation by the Law Offices of Paul C. Whalen and Zimmerman Law Offices, while Kind was represented by Mayer Brown.