Red Lobster Files a Reply in Lawsuit Challenging their “Sustainability Representations”

On Monday, Red Lobster Management LLC and Red Lobster Hospitality LLC filed a reply in support of their motion to dismiss in response to an ongoing class action lawsuit over Red Lobster’s allegedly deceptive “Sustainability Representations” listed on their restaurant menu. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs do not have the standing to plead their claims.

In this document, the defendants claimed that the plaintiff and the putative class do not have the “necessary factual allegations” to support any of their claims. First, they argued that customers are committed to ordering seafood “before they even looked at the menu” and that Red Lobster provides a “wealth of information” related to the actions they take to ensure sustainability.

Red Lobster noted that their Gulf of Maine fishery, which the plaintiff argued “endangered North American right whales” based on an April 2020 court opinion, did not have their sustainability certification revoked until months after the plaintiff visited the Red Lobster location. Thus, the plaintiff did not “plausibly show that Red Lobster’s menu was deceptive at the time Plaintiff made her purchase.” Also, they attacked the fishing practices from the sourced shrimp of Indonesia, China, India and Vietnam, but make no “specific” factual allegations regarding what illegally occurs.

Red Lobster claimed that their Sustainability Representations listed on their menu are not deceptive to a reasonable customer and that the additional information on their website are “part and parcel of those representations.” The defendants cited a Ninth Circuit opinion that “that deceptive advertising claims [] take into account all the information available to consumers and the context in which that information is provided and used;” therefore arguing that the website’s information should not be discarded. Because of this, they claimed that the plaintiff did not “provide any factual allegations demonstrating Red Lobster’s conduct was oppressive, fraudulent, or malicious” and that the remaining claims for injunctive relief and punitive damages should be dismissed.

Red Lobster requests that the Court dismiss the first amendment complaint with prejudice.
The defendants are represented by Baker & Hostetler LLP.