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Danones Legal Troubles With Evian’s Claims

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Danone to Face Legal Challenge Over Evian’s ‘Carbon Neutral’ Claims

Carbon Neutrality Dispute

A New York judge ruled that Danone (DANO.PA), a multinational food-products corporation, must confront a lawsuit contesting its assertion of ‘carbon neutrality’ on Evian bottled water. This decision stems from allegations by consumers that they were misled by the environmental claims made on the product’s packaging.

Consumer Lawsuit Against Danone

In the lawsuit, consumers argue that had they known about the carbon dioxide emissions and pollution associated with Danone’s production processes, they would not have purchased Evian water. The plaintiffs, Stephanie Dorris of California and John Axiotakis of Massachusetts, claimed they were deceived into paying a premium for Evian in 2022 under the false impression that its ‘carbon neutral’ label meant it was more eco-friendly.

Judge’s Decision and Critique

U.S. District Judge Nelson Roman, overseeing the case in White Plains, New York, critiqued the term ‘carbon neutral’ for its ambiguity and potential to confuse customers. In his 30-page decision, Judge Roman highlighted the unrealistic expectations Danone had for consumers to understand the meaning of ‘carbon neutral’ from Evian’s labels alone.

Path Forward in the Legal Battle

Scope of the Lawsuit

Judge Roman has allowed the plaintiffs to proceed with allegations of fraud, unjust enrichment, and breach of express warranty, as well as claims under California and Massachusetts consumer protection laws. However, he dismissed claims under similar New York laws, though he did allow for the possibility of amending the complaint.

Awaiting Responses

As of now, there has been no immediate response from either Danone or its legal representatives regarding the lawsuit. Similarly, the lawyers representing the plaintiffs have not provided any immediate comments on the ruling.

Wider Context

This lawsuit is part of a broader trend of legal actions against food producers, where hundreds of proposed class actions are filed annually. These cases often focus on the accuracy and transparency of product labeling, with Evian’s case now adding to this growing list. Danone’s product range, which also includes well-known yogurt brands like Dannon, Oikos, and Activia, might also come under scrutiny in this evolving legal landscape.

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