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Can POM Wonderful file commercial litigation against Coca-Cola?

That is the question the U.S. Supreme Court is asked to consider. Georgia businesses may be following the commercial litigation filed by POM Wonderful LLC, which began in 2008, alleging that Coca-Cola Co. misled customers regarding the composition of one of its juices. Lower courts ruled that POM Wonderful has no standing to bring a deceptive advertising practices claim against Coca-Cola.

The rationale behind those rulings is that regulation of product labeling rests with the Food and Drug Administration, not a private entity such as POM Wonderful. POM Wonderful is challenging that notion. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola contends that its labeling of the juice complies with regulations established by the FDA, and the lower courts agreed.

The juice in question is a pomegranate blueberry juice manufactured and distributed under the Minute Maid brand owned by Coca-Cola. It is POM Wonderful's contention that the juice actually contains little to no pomegranate or blueberry juice. Therefore, consumers are being misled about the true composition of the juice.

Coca-Cola is not the only company accused of misleading its customers. The Federal Trade Commission accused POM Wonderful of deceiving advertising regarding the health benefits of its products. The company is challenging those claims.

For Georgia businesses wanting to track this case, arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court are currently scheduled for April 2014, with a decision expected by June 2014. Depending on the court's ruling, the FDA's regulations regarding labeling could come under scrutiny by others in additional commercial litigation on this subject. Even if POM Wonderful's motives for filing the lawsuit and subsequent appeals may not be selfless, the outcome could ultimately benefit consumers and other companies.

Source: nasdaq.com, Supreme Court to Hear Pom Wonderful's Case Against Coca-Cola, Brent Kendall, Jan. 10, 2014

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