Plaintiffs Move to Compel Discovery in Nestlé Bottled ‘Spring Water’ Suit

The consumers accusing Nestlé Waters North America Inc. (Nestlé) of selling its Poland Spring brand bottled water as “100% Natural Spring Water,” despite its knowledge that the product is not in fact “spring water” under the Food and Drug Administration’s definition, have asked the District of Connecticut to compel discovery from the defendant. The plaintiffs claim that “Nestlé’s stonewalling” is preventing the case from moving forward after the court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment last August.

The suit dates back to 2017 when consumers from eight states alleged that they paid more than they otherwise would have for the Poland Spring bottled water. The plaintiffs argued that by using the misleading advertising to sell its product, Nestlé violated state laws that prohibit deceptive labeling.

Last week’s filing makes a three-fold request. First, it asks for an order compelling Nestlé to produce requested financial, sales, and regulatory communications documents, as well as designate witnesses to testify regarding disputed topics.

The plaintiffs further requested a court-supervised discovery conference regarding Nestlé’s document investigations and search terms. Finally, the consumers ask for a “bilateral deadline for substantial completion of document production to keep this case moving toward resolution.”

The motion asserts that “[a]t every turn, Nestlé has avoided its discovery obligations by asserting incredulous claims of irrelevance, and burden; contending wrongly that Plaintiffs’ discovery requests are better suited to another ‘stage’ of litigation; and delaying the potential resolution of discovery disputes by refusing to cooperate with Plaintiffs.” The consumers assert that they are entitled to the discovery they seek, which relates to the merits of their claims, their price-premium damages theory, and their maintenance of the case as a class action.

The defendant’s response is due May 14.

The plaintiffs are represented by Susman Godfrey L.L.P., Alexander H. Schmidt, Joseph Saveri Law Firm LLP, and Izard, Kindall & Raabe LLP. Nestlé is represented by Day Pitney LLP, Orloff Lowenbach Stifelman & Siegel P.A., and Farella Bruan & Martel LLP.