Dr. Pepper Must Face Suit Over Ginger Ale Labeling

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – A federal judge in Missouri ruled that Dr. Pepper can’t dodge a class action claiming its Canada Dry Ginger Ale is not made with real ginger.

“Because plaintiff alleges independent laboratory testing revealed that the product does not contain a detectable amount of ginger and a reasonable consumer would be misled into believing that the product contains at least some detectable amount of ginger, the court finds the representation ‘made from real ginger’ could be false or misleading to a reasonable consumer,” U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark wrote in a 14-page opinion issued Wednesday.

Judge Ketchmark denied Delaware-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. and Dr. Pepper/Seven Up Inc.’s motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit alleging false and misleading business practices claims.

The case was filed in a Missouri federal court last July by resident Arnold E. Webb, who is represented by Tim Dollar of Dollar Burns & Becker.

Webb claims lab tests revealed that the Canada Dry Ginger Ale does not actually contain ginger. Had he known this, he says he would not have purchased it or would have only bought it for significant less.

The 22-page lawsuit includes photos of Canada Dry and advertisements with the allegedly false ginger claims, which Webb claims violates Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act. He also alleges fraud, breach of warranty and misrepresentation.

Judge Ketchmark rejected each of the beverage giant’s counter arguments and found in favor of Webb on each claim. Dr. Pepper is represented by Van H. Beckwith of Baker Botts.

“Because plaintiff stated he would buy the product in the future if the product contained ginger, the court finds plaintiff has pled sufficient facts to state a claim that is

plausible on its face and survives a motion to dismiss,” the ruling states.

Judge Ketchmark also found that Webb alleged a plausible unjust enrichment claim based on his assertion that “he was induced into purchasing the product and did not obtain the full value of the benefit conferred on defendants.”

Attorneys for Webb and Dr. Pepper did not immediately respond Thursday to email requests for comment.

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