In its 1990s TV and radio ads, personal-injury law firm Saiontz & Kirk, PA coined the catchy (and trademarked) phrase “if you have a phone, you have a lawyer.” For today’s plaintiffs’ lawyers, even those quarantined by COVID-19, an updated catch phrase might be “if I have a computer and wi-fi, you have a lawyer.” If two recently filed lawsuits against a hand-sanitizer maker are any indication, the public-health crisis won’t arrest the pace of consumer-fraud class-action filings.

In that regard, we share an encouraging development from a federal district court in New York. On March 16, Eastern District of New York Judge Carol Bagley Amon dismissed (with prejudice) a multi-count, nationwide class action against nutrition-bar maker ONE Brands (Melendez v. ONE Brands, LLC).

The Complaint

The lawsuit charges that the phrase “1 g sugar” on the front of ONE Brands bars is false, misleading consumers into thinking the bars have fewer calories and carbohydrates than they do. The complaint asserts that the “1 g sugar” statement is false because an “independent” test determined the bars contain 5.2 grams of sugar. The plaintiffs also argue that the company’s name is itself misleading because ONE Brands echoes the one gram of sugar touted on the package. The plaintiffs claim an economic injury (they paid more than the bars were worth) and allege violations of New York’s consumer-protection statute and several common-law duties.