USA – American multinational confectionery company Hershey is facing a lawsuit filed by a group of consumers over deceptive packaging for its Reese’s Peanut Butter products, USA Today reported.

The lawsuit, lodged in a Southern Florida national court, accuses Hershey of misleading customers by displaying ‘carved-out artistic designs’ on the packaging, which are absent on the actual sweets.

The plaintiffs, Nathan Vidal, Debra Kennick, Abdjul Martin, and Eduardo Granados, represent themselves and potentially thousands of others influenced by the packaging to purchase the products.

They claim that the packaging of several Reese’s products, including Reese’s Medal and Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin, falsely represents the sweets.

According to the plaintiffs, these designs significantly influenced consumers’ purchasing decisions.

USA Today quoted a statement from the complaint: “Hershey’s deceptive advertising is causing many consumers to purchase the products because of the cool and beautiful carved-out designs on the products’ packaging when they would not have purchased the products if they were truthfully advertised.”

The current lawsuit invites other affected consumers to join the class action. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages, the exact amount of which will be determined at trial.

Federal judge dismisses environmental lawsuit against Graphic Packaging

In another development, A federal judge dismissed an environmental lawsuit filed against Graphic Packaging International (GPI) and officials at multiple levels of government.

The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, Dancer v. United States of America, claimed that nearly 8,000 Kalamazoo, Michigan residents suffered injuries from releasing toxic gas from the GPI plant and the neighboring municipal wastewater treatment plant.

The plaintiffs alleged that odors emitted from these plants caused health issues such as asthma and cited an “ongoing conspiracy operating within a custom of racial animus established by the Federal government of the United States of America.”

The plaintiffs sought up to US$600 million in damages and US$800,000 in attorney fees, along with an injunction to shut down the GPI mill or decrease production to ensure public health.

The lawsuit named 20 defendants, including GPI, the United States of America, the state of Michigan, the city of Kalamazoo, Mayor David Anderson, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and U.S. EPA Region 5 Director Debra Shore.

Chief Judge Hala Jarbou of the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan dismissed the case on March 15, stating that the prosecution did not provide convincing arguments to show that the defendants harmed the plaintiffs.

Jarbou noted that the plaintiff’s allegations of a conspiracy were “conclusory and unsupported” and did not plausibly allege a constitutional violation.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs did not claim that the individual government entities actively harmed Kalamazoo residents but that the government’s actions were inadequate. Jarbou explained that such failures do not constitute a substantive due process claim.

In an emailed statement, GPI expressed appreciation for the court’s careful consideration and recognition that the complaint lacked legal merit. The company noted that the lawsuit contained insufficient, improper, and false allegations.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants violated Kalamazoo residents’ constitutional rights, the Clean Air Act, and Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.

It detailed a history of systemic racism and redlining that exposed residents of a largely low-income and mostly Black neighborhood to pollution. The suit also noted that Kalamazoo County has five Superfund sites.

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