California court certifies unlikely class — will it redefine the class action landscape?

By Stefanie Jill Fogel, George Gigounas and Rachael E Yourtz

In food marketing litigation, class certification is a major hurdle for would-be class plaintiffs, but a recent case out in the Central District of California may have lowered the bar with a flexible approach to class certification.

In Forcellati v Hyland, the plaintiffs, on behalf of a purported class, allege that Hyland misrepresented its Hyland’s Homeopathic products as providing fast, safe and effective relief from cold and flu symptoms when in fact they are merely placebos.

The court certified the nationwide class over Hyland’s opposition. The allegations spanned five different products, all with different ingredients, made to treat different symptoms, and all with varying advertisements. According to the Forcellati v Hyland court, the only relevant question was whether the defendants ‘misrepresent that their products safely and effectively treat cold and flu symptoms when, in fact, they have no medicinal value whatsoever’…

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