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Claiming that a food or beverage product is 100% organic or USDA organic might appear to be a harmless marketing tactic. However, for Harmless Harvest, making the claim that its coconut water consists of 100% raw organic coconut has prompted a class action lawsuit.
Harmless Harvest Inc. has agreed to end a class action lawsuit by settling with plaintiffs out of court. According to class counsel, plaintiffs filed the lawsuit to dispute Harmless Harvest claims that its coconut water products contain 100% organic and 100% USDA organic ingredients. The plaintiffs allege Harmless Harvest ran false advertising campaigns that deceived consumers.
According to court documents, here are the Harmless Harvest products covered in the class action settlement:
- Harmless Harvest 100% Raw Coconut Water
- Harmless Coconut Water
- Harmless Harvest 100% Raw Coconut Water – Dark Cacao
- Harmless Harvest 100% Raw Coconut Water – Cinnamon & Clove
- Harmless Harvest 100% Raw Coconut Water – Fair Trade Coffee
The plaintiffs want to recoup the money paid for products that should have cost less than the advertised prices. Both parties to the lawsuit started mediation talks in June of 2016 in an effort to reach a class action lawsuit settlement. Although Harmless Harvest agreed to the class action settlement, the company continues to maintain it never ran false and misleading advertisements for its line of coconut water products. The company settled the class action lawsuit to avoid costly litigation in a civil court.
What You Need To Know
Class counsel says eligible class members for the Harmless Harvest settlement “include anyone in the United States who purchased the Harmless Harvest coconut water products for personal use between Sept. 30, 2011 and May 12, 2017.” Harmless Harvest agreed to make changes to the coconut water product packaging to remove any raw and/or organic claims. The class action settlement does not include cash reimbursements to eligible class members. Therefore, the judge has ruled affected consumers do not have to submit a proof of purchase and valid claim form.
Eligible class members have until September 29, 2017 to opt out of the class action settlement or contest any section of the agreement. As of July 19, 2017, most of the class members contesting the class action settlement have taken issue with the lack of a cash reimbursement. Stay abreast of updates and recent developments for the class action settlement by visiting www.HHOrganicSettlement.com.
The judge overseeing the case Guoliang Ma, et al. v. Harmless Harvest Inc., Case No. 2:16-cv-07102 (JMA) (SIL), in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has scheduled the final hearing on November 3, 2017. C.K. Lee of Lee Litigation Group PLLC represents the class counsel, while Robert B. Wollinsky from Hogan Lovells US LLP leads the defense team.