Shook Wins Dismissal of False Advertising Claim Against Ben & Jerry’s

Shook won a dismissal for client Ben & Jerry’s when a false advertising claim lawsuit was dismissed by the U.S. District Court of Vermont. A consumer brought a nationwide class action alleging that Ben & Jerry’s deceived consumers into thinking it sourced its milk from farms in its “Caring Dairy” Program only, when in fact most of the milk comes from industrial farms. The District Court granted Shook’s motion to dismiss, finding the complaint did not stand up to scrutiny because the plaintiff was taking marketing statements out of context. The plaintiff chose not to file an amended complaint or appeal.

In granting Shook’s motion to dismiss, the District Court wrote, “While plaintiff is correct that reasonable consumers should not be required to search through the website and [Social and Environmental Assessment Reports] to clarify a heading on a webpage, it is equally unreasonable for a consumer to interpret a single phrase in a single heading without reference to the contents of the section that immediately follow the heading.” 

Shook Partners James Muehlberger and Buffy Mims represented Ben & Jerry’s. Shook Partner Kevin Underhill, Of Counsel Doug Maddock and Associate Elizabeth Fessler were also on the trial team. 

Law360 reported on the dismissal in “Ben & Jerry’s Gets Quick Win in ‘Happy Cows’ False Ad Suit,” May 7, 2020. 

The case is Ehlers v. Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc., No. 2:19-cv-00194 (U.S. District Court District of Vermont, May 7, 2020).