Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

April 2017 Archives

Soylent, the food company that makes meal replacement products, announced a voluntary recall of one of their powdered drinkable food products this week. The recall was due to a dairy free variety of the product that accidentally had dairy included in it during the manufacturing process. While this may not sound like a major concern, for those with dairy allergies, dairy contamination is a serious matter.

Believe it or not, yes, there is actually a real food product called Soylent. The company's origin make it relatively clear that the name is actually based on the 1973 movie "Soylent Green," where the world's food source is called Soylent Green and is made out of people. Based on a The New Yorker piece, it's pretty plain to see that the film inspired the name for the founder's early recipes, though to be clear, the real Soylent does not contain people.

Sometimes recalls will involve situations that seem to make no sense. Take for example the recent recall issued by McCain Foods USA, Inc., a maker of frozen hash brown potatoes, due to golf ball contamination. Yes. Golf ball contamination is a thing, and it may or may not be what you expect.

The manufacturer explained that golf balls were inadvertently 'harvested' along with the potatoes that go into their frozen hash browns. And apparently, the food manufacturer failed to spot the golf balls amidst the spuds, and sent the plastic balls to be hashed into the browns, packaged, frozen, and distributed to grocers all over despite containing "extraneous golf ball material." Fortunately no injuries have been reported. However, consumers are being advised to throw away or return Roundy or Harris Teeter southern hash browns.

The lawsuit against baby food making giant, Gerber, for deceptive labeling, has been revived by the Ninth Circuit Court. The case, which was nearly completely dismissed in 2013, alleges that the labels on Gerber baby food contained phrases that were misleading to customers. The circuit court has remanded the matter back to the district court to re-review the matter, and continue hearing the case, which despite being four years old, is still in its infancy.

The goliath of the baby food industry is alleged to have violated FDA standards on making claims on their product labels, and therefore misled consumers. For example, the phrase "as health as fresh" or "natural" or "a good source of __" potentially violate FDA standards. These types of phrases on Gerber products mislead consumers due to the fact that competitors' products lack the same type of claims on the product labels.

Owners of the newest luxurious, all electric, Tesla automobiles have filed a class action lawsuit against the automaker over the allegedly "half-baked" autopilot software. The class action case alleges that the software not only doesn't work, but is dangerous to use. Despite the hefty, often six-figure price tags, Tesla has a history of poor quality control.

The autopilot feature, which costs an additional $5,000, began going on sale in late 2016. Since the public release, owners have found that the system regularly fails to work as stated, which has led to dangerous situations and accidents. The allegations include Tesla vehicles on autopilot failing to stay in their lanes, inexplicably lurching, braking, and accelerating, as well as failing to slow down or stop for other vehicles. Owners have described the autopilot as worse than a drunk driver.

The Wounded Warriors Support Group is a non-profit created to provide emotional support to wounded war veterans in the form of equestrian activities. But a recent lawsuit filed by the California State Attorney General claims that the organization is a fraud. This organization shouldn't be confused with the Wounded Warriors Project, which is a legitimate charity.

In short, a husband and wife, their two adult children, and the family's two businesses, have all been implicated in a fraudulent charity scheme. The family is accused of using the charitable donations received to finance their personal lives, hobbies, and businesses. The charity was supposed to use the contributions to connect wounded veterans with horses for therapeutic purposes.

While nearly anything can be purchased online these days, the FDA has issued safety suggestions when it comes to buying prescription drugs online. The safety suggestions are to help ensure that consumers do not purchase prescription medications that are unsafe, or counterfeit.

Generally, consumers are warned against purchasing prescription drugs from any online retailer that does not require a person to actually have a valid prescription. Believe it or not, there are many illegal businesses that openly advertise illegal services online as though those services were perfectly legal. Since there is a rather large demand for many prescription medications from drug abusers, there are many online businesses that are willing to cater to the demand, legal or not.

The Securities Exchange Commission has announced enforcement actions against 27 different entities and individuals connected to the deceptive dissemination of promotional news about stocks. The actions allege that these entities and individuals promoted stocks or investments without disclosing financial ties to the stock or investment.

Specifically, the individuals and entities were charged with deceiving investors by failing to disclose that published information was not independent, nor unbiased. Under federal securities law, if a company or individual publishes information promoting a stock or investment, the writer or publisher must clearly state whether the information was paid-for, or if the writer or publisher has a self interest in promotion.

A recent level 2 voluntary recall has been initiated by GlaxoSmithKline as a result of a defect in the delivery system for nearly 600,000 of the company's popular asthma inhalers. As of yet, the recall is targeted at wholesalers, distributors, and sellers of the inhaler, rather than users directly.

The affected inhaler is the Ventolin HFA 200D. Fortunately, only inhalers with the following lot numbers and expirations are subject to this recall:

  • Lot # 6ZP9848, Exp. 03/18
  • Lot # 6ZP0003, Exp. 4/18
  • Lot # 6ZP9944, Exp. 04/18

The issue with the inhalers involves a failure to deliver an adequate dosage of the medication when activated. Some affected inhalers will have an atypical bump on the side. As such, individuals who use these inhalers may not be getting their prescribed dosages of their medication. A leak in the inhaler is linked to delivering the slightly lower dosages. However, GlaxoSmithKline has indicated that this poses little threat to individuals with asthma, but that if someone's symptoms aren't being relieved, they should seek medical care.

Yoga pants are apparently officially pants these days, but if you're wearing one of the most popular pairs of yoga pant-like leggings on the market, you might not be wearing much at all. A new lawsuit claims legging brand LuLaRoe knew their soft products were shoddy, and sold them anyway.

The lawsuit claims customers complained that "holes, tears, and rips appear before wearing, during the first use or shortly thereafter" in the pants, which were also described as "tearing as easily as 'wet toilet paper.'"

According to a new report issued about product recalls and child safety, 2016 saw the highest numbers of products recalled for dangers to kids since 2004. The product recalls included some rather staggering numbers, with Ikea and McDonalds each accounting for nearly half of all the products recalled. The product categories do not simply include products marketed to or for children, but also include products that pose a danger to children.

The increase in overall recall numbers for products that pose danger to children comes after several years of downward trending numbers, and after a staggering low number of 5.5 million recalled units in 2015. The fact that the number in 2016 jumped to 66.8 million recalled units is shocking.