Muscle Milk Settlement Wins Tentative Approval

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Consumers duped into buying Cytosport’s line of Muscle Milk products will share a $5 million settlement tentatively approved by a federal judge.
     Lead plaintiff Claire Delacruz sued Cytosport last year over alleged violations of California’s consumer protection, unfair competition, and false advertising laws. The complaint, which also alleged fraud and negligent misrepresentation, claimed that Cytosports used an extensive media campaign to have consumers believe that its products are healthy and nutritious, and “should be regularly consumed to help them diet and live a healthy lifestyle.”
     However, “with almost 50 percent of their caloric content coming from fats, the products are equivalent to fat-laden junk food,” Delacruz said.
     Indeed Cytosport’s Muscle Milk Ready-to-Drink allegedly contains the same number of calories and almost as much fat and saturated fat as a cream-filled Krispy Kreme doughnut.
     U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken directed Delacruz to fix defects in her original complaint, and eventually certified the former Muscle Milk user’s class action.
     Delacruz and Cytosport then agreed earlier this year to a settlement that creates a $5 million fund for anyone who bought Muscle Milk products between 2007 and 2012 and releases all but personal injury claims.
     Wilken tentatively signed off on the agreement Tuesday pending a fairness hearing set for May 15, 2014. She also gave preliminary certification of the class and directed Cytosport to begin notifying Muscle Milk users of the settlement.
     All claims must be submitted by March 12, 2014, Wilken said.
     Roland Tellis and Mark Pifko, of the firm Baron & Budd in Encino, Calif., represent Delacruz and the class.
     Cytosport is represented by G. Charles Nierlich of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in San Francisco.

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