Muscle Milk Makers Settle for $1 Million
(CN) - The company that makes Muscle Milk will pay $1 million to settle a class action that accused it of fraudulently claiming its products are healthy and would aid in weight loss.
Claire Delacruz sued CytoSport in 2011 in Oakland, Calif., Federal Court, alleging violations of California's consumer protection, unfair competition and false advertising laws, fraud and negligent representation.
She claimed the company's media campaign that Muscle Milk "should be regularly consumed to help them diet and live a healthy lifestyle" was false and misleading.
Delacruz claimed that Muscle Milk Ready-to-Drink has as many calories and nearly as much fat and saturated fat as a Krispy Kreme doughnut, "with almost 50 percent of their caloric content coming from fats."
In 2012, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ordered Delacruz to file a second complaint to add detail to the claims of fraud and negligent misrepresentation.
In the amended complaint, Delacruz claimed that CytoSport's claims about its "protein nutrition shake" were false, such as statements about "healthy sustained energy" and "healthy fats."
The amended complaint also challenged "the use of the healthy-sounding 'Muscle Milk'" name, since the fats in the products are saturated fats and carbohydrates from simple sugar fructose.
After tentatively approving a settlement agreement in November 2013, Wilken granted final approval to the settlement between the plaintiffs and CytoSport on July 1.
The settlement class is defined as anyone who bought Muscle Milk Ready-to-Drink beverages or bars between July 18, 2007 and Dec. 31, 2012. CytoSport agreed to distribute $1 million to eligible members no later than 45 days after the settlement is published.
The company also agreed to stop using the words "healthy, sustained energy" and "healthy fats" on its labels.
The law firm Baron & Budd P.C. represented the class.