Second Circuit Affirms Expert Exclusion and Summary Judgment in KIND “All Natural” Lawsuit

In 2015, consumers sued the manufacturers of KIND products –first over the company’s use of the word “healthy” in describing its products, and then over the “All Natural/Non-GMO” claim on product packaging. The class action included claims for violation of several state laws.

After class certification and discovery, the district court excluded the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witnesses, finding his “consumer perceptions” survey inadmissible and entered summary judgment for the defendants.

Today, the Second Circuit affirmed. First, it upheld the district court’s determination that one of the expert’s “consumer perceptions” survey  was improperly suggestive and manipulative, Second, it upheld the exclusion of a chemist’s report, which simply compared the ingredient list to his own framework for determining whether something was “natural” — unconnected to the complaint or how the ingredients were actually sourced and produced for KIND products. Finally, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment on the grounds that there was no evidence produced that could allow a factfinder to determine a reasonable consumer’s understanding of “all natural.”

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