On Monday, Judge Cathy Seibel of the Southern District of New York granted preliminary approval to a settlement between class members and Blue Diamond Growers in a food fraud lawsuit regarding the company’s almond milk and yogurt, which was advertised as flavored with vanilla.
The settlement, which includes a $2 million payment from Blue Diamond to the class, was reached by the parties in April, 2021. It includes a nationwide class of individuals who purchased Blue Diamond Growers’ almond milk or almond milk yogurt products which, according to the plaintiffs, falsely claimed to be flavored with vanilla when the flavor came from artificial ingredients and the amount of actual vanilla extract was negligible.
The court determined that the parties had completed an “extensive and thorough examination” and evaluated consumer protection laws in various states as well as legal precedent before entering the settlement agreement.
Under the agreement, members of the class can recover money they spent to purchase the milk, as opposed to other cheaper options. The class members who have proof of purchase will be able to recover more than the inflated portion of the price, and those who do not have proof of purchase will receive the inflated portion of the price. The seven named plaintiffs will each receive additional funds, up to $3,571.42.
In addition to granting preliminary approval to the settlement, the court certified the class for settlement purposes, appointed class representatives and class counsel, and stayed proceedings which are not related to the settlement. The order approved the parties’ proposal for class notice and the opt-out procedures.
The court scheduled a fairness hearing on August 25 to determine whether the settlement should get final approval and the legal action dismissed as outlined in the settlement agreement.